Want to feel like John Wick? You can, for a period of time, thanks to Pistol Whip.
Originally released on Meta Quest and PC in 2019, Pistol Whip isn’t new. As a launch title for PSVR 2, however, it’s been given a new lease of life. It’s never looked or played better.
Essentially an on-rails first-person shooter, Pistol Whip also has rhythm game elements. Jump into Arcade mode, and you’ll find a large number of stages available, each with its own music track and arrangement of enemies for you to dispatch and obstacles to avoid. Your character moves forward through them automatically, leaving you to just think about dodging and weaving to avoid taking damage while shooting and pistol whipping to take down enemies and score points. Do so in time with the beat and you’ll get a nice bonus.
Ultimately though, how you enjoy Pistol Whip is up to you. Thanks to styles, you can tailor Arcade mode to your personal preferences. Want to dual-wield pistols? You can do that, or you can give yourself burst fire or a boomstick. Then, when it comes to scoring, you can take timing out of the equation or make it pivotal. And finally, modifiers: there are lots of them, ranging from making you bulletproof to enemies only being killable with headshots. Needless to say, thanks to styles, Pistol Whip is pretty much endlessly replayable.
Arcade mode isn’t all that Pistol Whip has to offer, though. Complete enough stages to show you’re competent at the game and soon you’ll unlock Contracts, where daily, weekly and monthly challenges will test your abilities with preset styles.
There’s a Campaign mode to unlock, too. It encompasses two stories to play through, one in which you’re a gunslinger in the Wild West, and another where you’re a futuristic cyborg fighting against robotic oppressors. Meant for experienced players, these again feature preset styles. In one challenging stage, for example, you have no ammo, so must dodge a hail of bullets and defeat enemies in your path with your fists.
It’s those with a competitive streak that will get the most out of Pistol Whip. Thanks to the inclusion of global leaderboards, some will vie to beat their friends’ scores, while others will seek to be the best in the world. There’s a good chance it might become an obsession for some, given the rewarding and downright fun nature of the gameplay.
And that’s ultimately why Pistol Whip is worth your time and money: it’s just so much fun to play. It’s a simple concept executed perfectly. Picking off targets, especially when dual-wielding pistols, makes you feel like a badass, and the brilliant soundtrack makes it hard to not play along to the beat. Factor in the benefits provided by PSVR 2, such as enhanced visuals and haptic feedback via both the Sense controllers and the headset, and you have one of the best VR experiences currently available.
It’s safe to say that Pistol Whip has quickly become one of our favourite PSVR 2 titles. Who doesn’t want to feel like Neo in The Matrix, dodging bullets left, right and centre? Or John Wick, spotting and dispatching enemies with a combination of shots and melee attacks? Basically, Pistol Whip allows you be Keanu Reeves: the epitome of cool. And so, for anyone picking up PSVR 2, this should be considered a must-have.