With PS VR2, I’m finally embracing the full VR experience. While I’ve dabbled with PS VR1 and the Oculus Quest 2, I’ve never fully explored the libraries or experiences. That has changed since the launch of the PS VR2. Over the last two weeks, I’ve already played a dozen or so games and plan to support the platform broadly into the future (as long as PlayStation does…).
As someone into fitness who spends a lot of time playing Beat Saber on the Quest 2, one title has stolen the majority of my attention on PS VR2 to date: Pistol Whip.
Now, Pistol Whip isn’t new. It originally launched over 3 years ago in 2019. And since then, developer Cloudhead Games has continued to add content and broaden its support to additional platforms. For the launch of the PS VR2, the developer made sure to include PS VR2-specific features. As reported on the PlayStation Blog, these include touch-detection, haptic triggers, 3D-audio, and more.
The re-imagined PlayStation VR2 Sense Controllers, equipped with finger touch detection and a six-axis motion sensing system, create a more realistic firing experience: discover unique reload SFX for different weapons and changing resistance, including a haptic for dry fire. Additionally, three kinds of melee SFX provide varying sensations when Pistol Whipping different enemies.
The PS VR2 headset’s native vibrations work in conjunction with controller feedback and 3D audio, which respond to in-game impact – or near misses. By dynamically adjusting sound positioning, players will hear and feel bullets whizz by their heads.
“When implementing the adaptive triggers, we found a number of ways to provide controller feedback,” Explains Mike L., lead haptics engineer for PS VR2. “Now players will feel an increasing resistance as they pull the trigger, flattening out shortly before drawing it far enough that the weapon fires, at which point resistance drops to zero.”
What has drawn me to the game the most, however, is how intense it can be once you get past the tutorials and opening stages. If you’re not familiar with Pistol Whip, essentially the idea is that you are navigated through a level where enemies will pop out at all angles and attempt to shoot you. Your goal is simple: Shoot them first and avoid getting hit. And you do that to beats of techno/house/dubstep songs that will have you dancing while shooting.
While it sounds relatively simple on the surface, it can be incredibly intense. With the option to dual-wield and add modifiers, and higher-difficulty that quite literally throws enemies rapidly at all corners of the screen, Pistol Whip will have you moving like you’ve never moved before. And, to me, that’s what makes it so special.
You know the scene in John Wick where he’s working his way through the nightclub picking enemies off one by one while avoiding getting shot, all while dance music plays in the background? Now you can do that from the comfort of your home with the added bonus of not actually being shot. I’ve affectionately begun calling it my “John Wick Workout.”
As I noted earlier, Pistol Whip isn’t new. Being a title that’s a few years old, I was worried I had discovered it too late and development would have been wrapped up by now. Thankfully, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Just a couple of months ago, the team at Cloudhead Games unveiled their roadmap for 2023.
They then followed that up by debuting “Overdrive,” which will will launch on May 1st and introduce new scenes every month. When combined with the modding tools they are providing to the community, it’s clear that the future remains bright for my new VR obsession.
Whether you’re new to VR or just haven’t checked it out previously, I highly recommend Pistol Whip. It’s an absolute blast to play, has a load of content, customization options, scoring and leaderboards to challenge friends, and more. And, hey, if you’ve ever wanted to be John Wick, this is likely (hopefully?) the closest you’ll get.