Pistol Whip review: The year’s freshest VR game—and oh-so close to greatness

Pistol Whip review: The year’s freshest VR game—and oh-so close to greatness

Enlarge (credit: Cloudhead Games)

A review of the 2018 virtual reality sensation Beat Saber can be boiled down to one or two sentences: wave lightsabers to the rhythm of intense, catchy music. It’s a thin elevator pitch, yet all of its pieces add up to something addictive, inventive, and—based on what I’ve seen from other recent VR apps—hard to replicate.

That changes this week with Pistol Whip, which both evokes the simple genius of Beat Saber yet actually delivers on that rare combination of familiar and fresh. Its single-sentence pitch is just as fun: pretend you’re John Wick and get into gun-fu battles against hypercolor hitmen to the rhythm of thudding techno. (No, this isn’t a licensed John Wick game, but rather an obvious homage to the house that Reeves built.)

In its current state, on PC-VR systems and the standalone Oculus Quest, Pistol Whip is already an impressive trip of a “rhythm shooter,” and it blends some of VR gaming’s best qualities—tracked hands, body presence, and quick reactions—to deliver a body-filling sensation of badassery. Yet in its current state, it also sits on the boundary of an “early access” game, in spite of not being advertised as one. The issues are a bit annoying, but I’m having too good of a time to not otherwise recommend this gem of a 2019 VR game.

Guess the tragic acronym between kills

In Pistol Whip, you stand on what is essentially a virtual motorized sidewalk—the kind you might find at an airport terminal—and slowly glide through trippy, distorted environments. An underground bunker. A city celebrating Dia De Los Muertos. A seemingly random explosion of geometric shapes. We never quite learn why we’re in these places, nor why they’re full of pistol-wielding men in suits. LSD? PTSD? Some intense acronym is probably at play.

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Source: Ars Technica – Pistol Whip review: The year’s freshest VR game—and oh-so close to greatness

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