Genre definers are an interesting beast, they’re not always the most original games, but they tend to hit a special note that resonates with gamers new and old alike. That is what Pistol Whip managed to do when it released on PC. It brought a special blend of rhythm and action games to the table that simply hadn’t been seen before. Thankfully, this experience has been brought to PSVR and like its PC counterpart, the results are outstanding.
Pistol Whip starts you off by throwing your into the fray immediately and that’s perfect for the feeling the game wants to instill in you. Have you seen John Wick? You know that breakneck pace that you’re feeling while the film is jumping from action scene to action scene? That’s the feeling you’re going to have while experiencing Pistol Whip. To start off, the presentation of the game is off the charts as you’re given a selection of stylish menus to begin your experience and quickly thrown into one of the most visually dazzling worlds to date in VR. The levels feel like Superhot met Beat Saber at a club and dropped acid together. The result is a thrilling and sometimes overwhelming experience that makes you feel like an action movie star taking a trip through the looking glass.
The comfort of the PSVR headset is something that is notable compared to its peers and especially in games like Pistol Whip where you’re going to be moving your head all over the place to spot enemies, this comfort is a welcome change from the considerably bulkier options available on PSVR. You’ll worry less about straining your neck and more about how you’re going to land that next shot.
Seeing as you’re going to be more limited with your play space than usual considering the PSVR camera, it’s only important that your immediate area is free of breakable objects or people. You’re going to be swinging your arms all over the place to pull off every shot you can, so have a wide area around you when you’re playing Pistol Whip. I would also make sure to stretch before digging in as well as you’re in for an experience more intense than your typical VR games.
Pistol Whip is among my favorite fitness-based experiences in VR to this point. The thrill doesn’t let up on PSVR either and the feeling of losing yourself inside another world is what VR is all about and that’s what Pistol Whip delivers in spades. It’s not just the physical intensity that gets you immersed, it’s the fact that every bit of this experience is dripping with style and quality and care and all of that comes to sink its teeth into you and make you feel like a real-life action hero and you’re not going to want to take the headset off until you’ve completed the mission. I sweat quite a bit during my time with Pistol Whip and can easily see in being incorporated into my daily workouts going forward. I tracked my workout in Normal difficulty, but I went back and tracked another in Hard mode and saw the calories burned nearly double. If you’re going to take on the game in hard mode, prepare for a serious workout.
You wouldn’t think you’re going to be doing a ton of arm work during Pistol Whip but be assured that aiming and reloading can get tiresome awfully quick if you don’t stretch beforehand and the very motion of just holding your hands in front of your headset or aiming off to the side can be enough to get a solid arm burn going. If you decide to turn on some of the modifiers though, you can suddenly be tasked with aiming two guns at once and those wings of yours will soon be barking and you’ll know very well the toll it’ll take when you wake up the next morning. As the intensity picks up, you’ll be doing something resembling Gun-Fu and what started out as a walk in the park has you aiming all over the place while constantly reloading and the experience becomes very taxing. Overall, not too hard of an arm workout but considering you can spend quite a bit of time in this game it will definitely end up being a decent workout regardless.
When it comes to leg workouts in VR, Pistol Whip stands among the best of them. While you’re never required to actually use them, if you don’t use your legs, you’re going to be seeing the game over screen an awful lot. Ducking and dodging is the name of the game here as you’re going to be assaulted on all angles by bullets and enemies and it can get truly overwhelming if your head isn’t constantly on a swivel. You will be using your legs to duck behind cover as well as dipping out of the way of the assorted bullets that will be flying your way.
This is the ultimate VR test of your core. You’re going to be tasked with all manners of ducking and dodging in Pistol Whip and after a while of playing you’re going to feel like you’ve done an entire ab circuit. The angles you’re going to be shot at by the rapidly appearing enemies will have you twisting and turning in ways you haven’t previously experienced in VR and it only adds to the immersion. It’s not only enemies coming for you too as obstacles will appear frequently that you’ll have to dodge or duck under and this usually happens while enemies are shooting at you as well so get ready to have some quick reactions when playing.
This is one of the coolest experiences in all of VR so when you’re in a level, it doesn’t matter what you have to do that day, nothing matters but staying alive and getting that high score. The combination of the dazzling visuals mixed with the in your face soundtrack make sure your focus is on Pistol Whip and nothing else. Luckily, the levels don’t last too long so you won’t disappear for a whole day inside the game while your friends and family wonder where you went. There is no real campaign either so you’re very able to just jump in for a level or two and jump out. It’s the perfect game to introduce friends to VR through considering how condensed the play sessions can be.
With 15 levels, multiple guns to try out, and game customization options that would make an MMO blush, Pistol Whip is one of those games that has perennial appeal. The developers’ support of Pistol Whip has been amazing to see and what it’s become since its release should be praised and copied by other developers to see how it’s done right. The difficulty levels all offer very different experiences as well and if you found going through all the levels on normal to be too easy, give it a try on hard mode and see how different the experience becomes. It’s the ultimate game to whip out (see what I did there?) when you have friends or family who are just trying out VR for the first time and it’s all the better on PSVR because others get to watch your exploits on the TV screen as opposed to a computer monitor.
If it wasn’t a fun game, there would still be the fact that it’s an amazing cardio workout but luckily for us, it’s also one of the most thrilling experiences in VR and is one of the must-have games if you’re first venturing into the virtual world.
Pistol Whip provides the player with a ton of options that not only change the flow of the gameplay but also change the physical output of the player as well. For example, the normal setup of the game has you equipped with one gun, but if you turn on the dual-wielding option in the menu, you’ll now have two and that one arm workout you became accustomed to suddenly becomes two and you will be frantically aiming all over the place making your arm workout more even. On top of this, you get three difficulty options to choose from. The easy mode is not going to make you sweat much while normal will definitely test your reflexes and dodging ability, but the crème of the crop is in hard mode. Hard mode in Pistol Whip VR is one of the most challenging experiences I’ve had in VR and if you want the experience of truly feeling like you’re John Wick or in The Matrix (Keanu is such a beast), this is the mode to play through as it will have sweating and will fully engage your body in ways the other two difficulties won’t. Don’t think twice, grab this one if you haven’t already.
Pistol Whip is available for $24.99 on PSVR now.