Nine months after its release for VR devices for Windows, on-rails rhythm shooter Pistol Whip has blasted its way on to the PlayStation VR. It’s quite the promising, action packed, heart-raising title. Depending on skill, players can either feel like a gun toting God, or feel the heat as they’re kept on their toes. I jumped in, keen as ever. Just how well did I manage to keep up?
First thing’s first, Pistol Whip has no plot. In the delivery of the game, it does away with that. It doesn’t need some B-grade action story to get you interested; no hardened protagonist with paper-thin motivations here. Instead, it does what it does best: it immerses you in its neon levels, complete with banging EDM beats. Gun (or guns, if you’re good at multitasking) in hand(s), you’re thrust on the hallway-like rails and demanded to raise some bullet hell.
Pistol Whip offers 15 odd song levels in the PSVR port. While it’s not the most extensive selection, and it misses the ability to add your own custom songs, it’s enough to warrant a good time. The songs also do well to vary in pace, ranging anywhere from 75-150BPM to help set the mood you’re feeling at the given time. I can’t speak too much to the quality of the songs: I’m far from knowledgeable on EDM. What I will say is that in contexts like this, I finally get the appeal of the genre.
Harder, better, faster, Wick-er
Largely, the levels are fairly similar. Blocky structures, oozing in neon, appear in the backdrop of levels (and even as obstructions), setting the scene with you as a heroic combatant in a cyberscape. There are dressing moments that add some solid distinction. The ‘Full Throttle’ level draws inspiration from Mad Max. In this instance, in-between moments of neon coloured brutalist architecture, hints of sand-coloured dunes appear in the background. Giant trucks launch themselves over my head. The song lyrics utter the phrase ‘put the pedal to the metal,’ over and over again. The level ends with a monolithic sandplower steaming towards me. There’s no context provided for these levels but there’s no reason to. Instead, they’re just awesome set piece obstacle courses.