I’m going to cut right to the chase. BUY THIS GAME! It’s hard to express the love I have for this game in a written review, but I’ll try my best.
I can only think of a few games that cause my adrenaline to spike to an absurd level: The Last of Us, Fall Guys, Superhot VR, and now Pistol Whip. There is nothing quite like the acid trip of “walking” down a corridor in Pistol Whip. Colors jump out at you, the beat pumps you up, and you are constantly on the move. It makes for one hell of a ride that I’m not ready to get away from.
While most games now focus on stories and realistic graphics, there are games that still focus on the most basic aspect of gaming; mindless fun. This is where Pistol Whip exceeds to a new level. It makes me reminisce on the endless amounts of fun I had playing Guitar Hero back in the day. I felt like a badass mastering an Avenged Sevenfold song on expert, but now I’m F***ING JOHN WICK. It’s the feeling I never knew I needed in my life.
While the core gameplay remains largely the same throughout the course of playing it, it never gets dull. Shoot, dodge, and pistol whip is all you need to know, but it’s far from all you need to master. As you progress through a level you are met with 3 different types of enemies. Each one is basically the same, except you have to shoot them a different amount of times. No armor enemies take one shot, lightly armored takes two, and the heavily armored guys take 4 shots to kill. However, you can eliminate every type of enemy with a single pistol whip. Enemies will come out from different areas and in different numbers, and it’s up to you to figure out how to best approach it.
A big reason the game is so fun, is that it wants you to succeed on every level. Pistol Whip has an auto-aim feature where you’ll hit the target as long as you are within the vicinity of the target. It makes it much easier to keep you focused on what’s ahead and to stay on beat. It also has the added perk of making you feel like an assassin. You can turn it off just to see how hysterically bad you are at aiming. I’m not going to lie, I definitely thought I was a better shot only to see a very low accuracy pop up after finishing the level.
Shooting is just half the battle in Pistol Whip. Just like any rhythm game, Pistol Whip wants to see how well you can shoot to the soundtrack of the game. I’m a little clumsy so there are times I went off beat, but the game does a great job of trying to keep you on track. There are visual cues in the game to show you what the beat is, which can really help with a few songs. Some songs are easy to figure out, but those later stages really like to change things up on you. I found it best to stay on beat by either dancing or moving my foot to the beat. My wife made fun of my dancing skills, and I really don’t even want to know what I look like in real life.
After the game is over, there is still plenty of reason to comeback. Did I mention this game is a ton of fun? The main reason I keep coming back, is because I want to master the songs. I’m nowhere near completing that phase of the game, but I will jump for joy when I finally get that “S” rank. Your score is tabulated by how well you shoot on beat and also how accurate your shot is. I think I’ve been around the 90% area in both parts of the game, but it’s only been good enough to earn a “B” rank. For me, it’s been hard to master, but I haven’t stopped enjoying my time with it.
If you don’t care to master the game, you might fancy getting some quick cardio in. I have an average build, but this game absolutely destroys me on the hardest setting. I sweat my butt off the second I put that headset on. I sweat so much that my wife took a picture of me and sent it to her friends. Obviously, they made fun of me, but I challenge them to not break a sweat playing the game on the hard difficulty. I’ll be the one with the last laugh then. Dodging bullets and swaying my arms gave me the burn my body wasn’t expecting. I was sore in places I didn’t even know I could be sore in. I love that I get the cardio in, but I will admit that I’m not always in the mood to play the game.
The trophies in Pistol Whip are very fair, and honestly, a ton of fun to try out. It forces you to play the game in ways you didn’t imagine, but it never forces you to keep playing like that. Most trophies ask you to beat a level with a certain modifier on. It could be to remove the auto-aim or any other modifier. I didn’t realize how hard it would be to beat a level on easy with the caveat of not killing a single enemy. The one trophy holding me back from the platinum, at the time of this writing, is getting an ”S” rank. As I mentioned before, it’s difficult to get the highest ranking, even on easy. Nonetheless, I will eventually get it, and I’ll be pumped when I do. I loved unlocking all of these trophies, and it never asks too much from you.
All in all, you can clearly tell I loved this game. There are a total of 15 songs to play through, and there isn’t one I wouldn’t want to play again. It’s the showcase game for VR in my opinion. Every chance I get, I rave to my friends about Pistol Whip. Within no time, you’ll dodge and take out enemies in choreographed ways that you didn’t even know you could. It’s the flagship game for making you feel like the badass that you are not. The only thing better than watching John Wick, is being John Wick, and that’s what Pistol Whip excels at.