Pistol Whip – Whip it Good
As I finished my first level on Pistol Whip I felt like a god, a fusion of Neo from The Matrix and John Wick from…well John Wick. I had become the ultimate Keanu, slaying all that came before me with accuracy and style. This god-like feeling is a big part of the appeal of Pistol Whip, but whether it is enough to keep the player engaged and interested beyond short playthroughs is debatable. For those that don’t know, Pistol Whip is a VR game that throws you into the middle of action scenes set to electronic dance music. Each level lasts as long as the song, and while you can go through the level just blasting everything as you see fit, there are bonus points to be earned if you can time your kills with the beat, all the while making sure you keep moving, as the enemies will be trying to take you out and it is easy to get overwhelmed.
There is no story to Pistol Whip at all. The closest you get is the use of ‘scenes’ as different levels. While they all share the same aesthetic, with blocky structures and faceless enemies and civilians, the scenes all play out differently. Some story beats can apparently be inferred through the scenes, but to me, it was just a matter of travelling through the scene and killing everyone that is trying to kill me. While in a lot of games the lack of graphical fidelity and distinction of bad guys would be a problem, in a situation like this, where you will be facing off against dozens of enemies in any given scene, leaving them as faceless bad guys works in a good way. No killing a guy that looks the same as twenty other guys you have killed in the same scene.
Fortunately, Pistol Whip is really accessible to anyone that wants to experience and enjoy the game. At the default setting, the game provides a generous aim assist that allows anyone to feel like an expert marksman, and the different difficulty levels for each ‘scene’ allow players to find a level that they will not find too overwhelming. To increase or decrease the challenge though there are several modifiers included that will allow you to find your own perfect balance. Want to dual wield without having to worry about dodging bullets? No problem. If you want to see just how accurate your shots really are, or rather just how badly you do without the aim assist, you can do that too. There are enough modifiers available to help you tailor your experience to how you want to play out each scene.
Pistol Whip also joins the ranks of games that can substitute as a workout if you are unable or unwilling to go to a regular gym. With the constant moving around to dodge bullets or dodge around the environment I soon had the blood pumping and sweat pouring out of me. In some ways, I guess it just helps to put the player in the same physical state a person is sure to be in after mowing down countless enemies, at least for those of us that are not complete psychopaths. However, back to the original point, this game is one that is prime for usage as part of an at-home workout, especially if you take off the damage and crank the difficulty up.
Probably the biggest downside to Pistol Whip is the lack of content for players to experience. Now don’t get me wrong, I recognise that it is a lot easier to plan the layout for a level of Beat Saber than all the work involved in creating a single Pistol Whip level, however, with only ten levels and not much variation between the difficulty levels you may find yourself left wanting for new content. While I am sure there will be more content released as DLC at some point, some more initial levels would have been appreciated.
Pistol Whip is a lot of fun to play as you blast your way through hundreds of enemies. Between the modifiers and difficulty levels, anyone will be able to play and enjoy the game, despite the lack of content overall that could affect how long players will stick with the game. For what it is though, it is a great party game that will get the blood pumping and the body moving.
Pistol Whip was reviewed on PSVR with code kindly supplied by Playstation Australia
Shaun has been playing consoles since the days of the NES. He was fortunate enough to find a wife who not only supported his gaming habits, but has also encouraged his eldest daughter to join in as well.
When not playing games, working, or just being a dad in general, Shaun
is hitting the gym in his own personal quest to have a crack at Ninja