15 Minutes of ‘Pistol Whip’ Dual-wielding Gun Kata Gameplay


Pistol Whip, the upcoming VR rhythm shooter from Cloudhead Games, is set to launch on November 7th. We’ve got a fresh batch of gameplay, this time showing off the game’s dual-wielding mode which amps up the game’s ‘gun kata’ feel.

As we talked about in our preview of Pistol Whip earlier this week, the game goes beyond merely shooting targets to the beat, it also forces you to dodge incoming fire. By default the game gives you a single pistol, but if you explore the modifier section you’ll also find a dual-wield mode. If the default single pistol mode makes you feel like an agent from The Matrix, the dual-wield mode will make you feel like you’re living a scene from Equilibrium:

Two pistols gives you more firepower but also requires that you divide your attention to independently engage targets with each gun while maintaining an overarching flow between shooting and dodging in order to stay on beat. Master this and you’ll be rewarded with an amplified sense of ‘gun kata‘ not found anywhere else in VR. To give you a sense for what it’s like, we captured 15 minutes of Pistol Whip gameplay using the dual-wield mode on the game’s hardest difficulty:

If it isn’t quite clear from the video above, at many points in this gameplay I’m practically down on my knees as I bob and weave to land shots while dodging incoming fire (and I’ll be feeling it in the morning). Especially on the hardest difficulty, Pistol Whip makes you move a unique and fun way. As we talked about in our preview of the game, this movement is crucial to creating a rich sense of embodiment:

With the incoming bullets, the game forces you to be concerned with your ‘near-field’—it heightens your sense of what’s immediately within arms reach. This leads to embodiment (distinct from mere immersion) which is often a component of the best VR games. It’s this bodily movement (the result of necessary near-field spatial awareness) combined with the ‘arms out and shooting’ gameplay which makes Pistol Whip feel unique and not just ‘another rhythm game’.

Check back for our full review of Pistol Whip when it launches on PC VR headsets and Oculus Quest on November 7th.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Moe Curley

    Good article and video. This is the way to sell this title. I didn’t think I would like the “don’t need to be accurate” angle, coming from first person shooters but this video shows that accuracy isn’t the point of this game. It just looks fun. Looks like a great workout too. One where you don’t notice how hard you’re working because you’re immersed. I bet you notice when you’re done though ;)

    • benz145

      Oh yeah, I feel it in my thighs today!

  • Jarilo

    This just looks plain and simply fun. Ready to go full out Equilibrium on Nov.7th like they killed my dog.

  • Is the mapping done similarly to Beat Saber in that there are deterministic maps, deterministic target positions and deterministic movement? So replay-ability limited by mapped environments? Any info on custom maps? Beat Saber without all the custom maps would suck, I guess this will be similar here.

    • benz145

      Yes it’s all deterministic. They haven’t clearly laid out plans for custom maps but I think they plan to support it in some way.

  • Peyton Lind

    They have given it a comfortable comfort rating which seems odd to be as it looks like it could lead to some vr sickness given how fast things move.

    I also don’t get the whole “mash up of Beat Saber and Superhot” thing people and even the devs say. Just because it has music doesn’t make it like Beat Saber. games have had music in them before Beat Saber. As for the Superhot aspect, maybe with how the enemies look but that’s pretty much it given one game moves in slow mo and one does not.

    Looks fun and I hope the ‘comfortable’ rating is accurate despite how it looks.

    • Moe Curley

      It’s more like Beat Saber than an FPS because you fire to the beat and accuracy does not have to be as perfect as in an FPS. It’s about the music and movement. It’s more like freeform dancing than it is like a pure shooter.

  • david vincent

    I wish they continued the Gallery series which was way too short (well, too short for the money I gave them).

  • Which controllers were you using for that gameplay capture? The tracking seems really crisp and precise, more so than usual I mean.

    • benz145

      If I recall correctly this was using Valve Index.