Pistol Whip – The PlayStation VR2 Review

April 30, 2023 ·

No matter what we watch, read, hear, or even play, there is always the action that helps draws us into the moment. From the movies of our favorite actors to the books of our favorite authors to even the voice talents from our favorite games. There is something about the action that keeps us going. But if you were to merge action with the rhythm of music, what do you start to think about? That superhero movie, that t.v. or book series, or maybe the escape into Virtual Reality. When it comes down to it and given the chance, would you capture the opportunity or let it pass by? There is a small part in all of us that we thrive on the adrenaline until we went down in a blaze of glory. But does the developer, Cloudhead Games, bring the action and elevate it to the best version? Let’s find out with Pistol Whip for PlayStation VR2.

Pistol Whip is a physical action-rhythm VR game that is film-inspired gunplay as you journey through a cinematic bullet hell powered by a breakneck soundtrack that features arcade-style scenes, story-driven cinematic campaigns, and a style system for endless ways to play as you blast, duck and dodge your way to become the ultimate action hero legend. So before you go in and try and own the world, there are a few things that you will want to make sure of. First, clear some space. You will be dodging and ducking, so you don’t want to come in contact with something as important as loved ones, including pets, or equipment. Second, stretch. We get it, you may how to move, but you don’t know what may be coming. Plus, you don’t want to be injured and then try to make up some fantastic story to something that sounds good just so you can try and validate an injury. Third, make sure your Sense controllers are charged. You don’t want to be mere points away from getting the highest score on the leaderboard and your controllers die because you forgot to charge them. And finally, get ready to have some fun. With all that said, let’s continue…

When it comes to action, Pistol Whip wants you to soak in all the fun as well as be comfortable. So the first thing you are introduced to is being welcomed to the game and being asked if you would like to run through the basics to get into fighting form. Bonus points for being welcomed and making sure we get the opportunity to survive and at least, receive the basic training of shooting, dodging, and, of course, pistol-whipping.

For those familiar with and for those that have been interested in the game, you might be wondering, what did Cloudhead Games do to make sure your experience with Pistol Whip is the best with PlayStation VR2. Well for starters we have the 4K HDR visuals that I noticed as soon as the game started and throughout. The fine-tuned haptics from the headset to the Sense controllers which finger touch detection has been added. There is also SSD optimization and 3D audio. So with all this combined, you are truly getting the best version experience of Pistol Whip.

Before getting into the action, make sure you go into settings and adjust your Playspace. You can play sitting or standing depending on what you like. Standing is probably the preferred way, but it is possible to play sitting, so adjust your Playspace accordingly. Once you feel like you have trained all that you can, at least for the time being, it is time to jump into the action. But again, this is going to be up to you as you have many choices to select from. You have the campaigns that include the Wild West theme of Smoke & Thunder and 2089 where you play as John Asimov as you try to survive a world of killer robots and figure out the mystery behind their upbringing and violence. Everything from the Encore Update that includes the new songs, scenes, modifiers, the 357 Python, Hippon, and 39 Special weapons, and Party Mode where you challenge other players that may be in the same room with you as you pass them the headset to try to place on the local Party Mode Leaderboards. And speaking of Leaderboards, I do like how this is set up. If you want to view PSN only, you can. You also can see who the top of the world is, where you place in the world, and where your friends have placed for each song and level of difficulty. There are also Contracts that you can try to complete daily, weekly, or monthly to add to your leaderboard global takeover. But you can’t place unless you play, so do what you do best and hit and shoot at everything you can.

Once you feel that you have mastered all there is with the campaigns, you do have other songs in the Arcade to try and master. But it’s just not going through the songs, is trying all the challenges, the different weapons, and modifiers that allow for a mixture of challenges, energetic music, and fun. Plus, when you add the amazing tracking, haptics, visuals, and 3D audio of the PlayStation VR2 and you are in for a good time. After each song, you are given a rating with your score and see where you placed on the online leaderboards.

You also can customize your weapons with different pistols that have different looks and firing capabilities adding another challenging element to the game which you can make your own to see which pistol you like. Each of the pistols does show the number of ammunition that it holds and when you are out, simply lower the gun to your side and reload which is as simple as can be. In a game like Pistol Whip, one should not have to worry about reloading mechanics and just should be able to shoot and go. So thank you Cloudhead Games for this.

Let’s talk about the graphics and sound. Each of the different scenes and songs makes you feel like being inside a computer program that is trying to control you as you are trying to break free. Scenes like Death gave this day of the dead but more of the final destination where the eyes of the Skellingtons were trying to look into your soul. Seeing the clarity of each level background and even when you pistol-whip someone and just watch the images change colors just really is something that has to be seen. When it comes to the sound, hearing the 3D Audio that responds with the action with the impacts adds to the experience that compliments the soundtrack in every way. No matter which direction I was facing, hearing bullets go by and hearing that impact when you pistol whip an enemy to firing those shots, and by adding a good headset such as the Pulse 3D Audio headset, it will truly be a music experience for the ears.

There are a few things that I would love to see. First, the option for sitting. Yes, you can adjust your Playspace, but when PlayStation VR2 asks if you are sitting, then the option should be available within the game as well. Not everyone can stand for long periods of time or possibly not at all. Why limit those who have a disability? Again, adjusting can be done, but the option should be offered from the start. Second, the ability to bring your own music. Yes, PlayStation may not allow this, but there are other ways such as using a thumb drive to then play your own playlist. This would just add to the replayability. And finally, just more content with more campaigns, weapons, modifiers, and songs.

Pistol Whip for PlayStation VR2 not only brings the action but elevates it to the next level with the sights, sounds, and feels. It throws us into the deep end without a second thought just to see how well we can do. In life, we are sometimes faced with difficult obstacles that we may not be prepared for, but it’s that unknowing and uncertainty that allows each of us to look deep down within ourselves to try and do our very best.

Pistol Whip is out now PlayStation VR2 on the PlayStation Store. Remember, if you already own the PlayStation VR version of the game, you can upgrade to the PlayStation VR2 version of the game for free. Pistol Whip is also available on the Quest/2 on the Oculus Store, PlayStation VR, and Steam VR. A review code was provided.

To learn more about Cloudhead Games, please visit their site, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, follow them on Instagram, join their Discord, and subscribe to their YouTube channel.

Also, check out the video review:


In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I have some action to get back to and leaderboards to climb.

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