Review: Pistol Whip (PSVR)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • HTC Vive
  • Oculus

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • 4K HDR

Extras:

  • PlayStation VR Required
  • PS VR Aim Controller None
  • Move Required (2)
Title: Pistol Whip
Format: PSN (1.43 GB)
Release Date: July 30, 2020
Publisher: Cloudhead Games
Developer: Cloudhead Games
Original MSRP: $24.99 (USD)
ESRB Rating: T
A code for the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

 

Video Review:

Gameplay:
Get ready to move in all directions with Pistol Whip. The game has made its way to PlayStation VR after spending some time on PC and Oculus Quest. I got a chance to play it on those headsets, and I’m happy to report that this very enjoyable title has made the transition without any sacrifices to gameplay or graphics.

I mean, sure, part of that might be because the concept of Pistol Whip is that of an on-rails rhythm shooter where you move down a hallway and shoot enemies as they appear. You also dodge walls (and bullets) as they approach. But don’t dismiss this as a year-one VR experience. Pistol Whip is the same type of game as something like SUPERHOT, except you can’t freeze or slow down time, but you can feel like an action movie star (think John Woo films) as you down dozens of enemies to blasting electronic music.

While this is a rhythm game, where shooting enemies in time to the beat earns you a higher score, it’s not necessary to follow the beat. However, it can feel great when you do. The first couple of times I played, I just blasted anything that moved, and certainly, in the higher difficulty I wasn’t caring much about any beat, as I just wanted to survive. But as I got more comfortable with the timing of the bad guys and their shooting angles, I could time my shots a bit more and earn that high score.

Pistol Whip gives you some great options from the start. You can choose the style of pistol you’d like to use, its color, even the sound it will make. You can also modify your game style with choices like “No Guns” and “Dual Wielding”, the latter at the cost of a lower score.

While Pistol Whip lacks a certain amount of depth, it’s the type of games that is designed to be played in short sessions, and even with friends (for score competition). It also makes you move in ways that encourages stretching before playing as you might be dodging bullets by leaning all the way back. So, those short sessions could be used as a workout in the higher difficulties.

Visuals:
Pistol Whip embraces the techno-fused inspiration on the visual side, with TRON-like simplicity that breaths and moves to the beats of the tunes. Enemies glitch as they animate in, and even your gun has a little distortion, all combining into a very unique and enticing visual style.

I’ve said it many times-even as an owner of a semi-high-end PC VR headset, I notice that the PSVR, while showing its age, still has a decent resolution thanks to its subpixel tech. Pistol Whip shows off this notion. Since the game is simple enough for the PS4 to handle, you get to see how sharp a PSVR game can still look when the hardware can run a game at a sharper resolution. It’s very close to my experience on the Oculus Quest.

Audio:
This game doesn’t shut up. It’s loud and booming and it wears its musical inspiration with pride. The bass was blaring so loudly that I had to switch to headphones-only for the review because the house was shaking. Gun blasts are explosive, and it’s great that you can choose from a few options to represent the sound that comes from your pistol. I went loud and booming, but you can also choose silencer mode… but why would you?

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is one player only and features no online component.

Conclusion:
Pistol Whip lives in my VR library as one of those fun games that I play when I have a few minutes and just feel like moving. It’s also a fantastic game to have around for social gatherings. What are social gatherings, you may ask? If you’re reading this review in 2040, look up 2020.

Whip’s lack of depth is more than made up for in its engaging bite-size gameplay, and it shines most when it’s played loud!

Score:
8.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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