Pistol Whip is out now and Cloudhead’s new game is garnering extremely strong reviews. Some players, however, are finding it difficult to find their groove with the game. So we’ve got some tips that can help.
Pistol Whip can be played practically endlessly through the use of built-in modifiers available in the scene selection area. The Modifiers menu is on a board to the far left of the player after you shoot past the “start” screen — turn your body and head to the left to find it. While there’s no way yet to add custom maps to the game, shooting the board reveals a list of options that can dramatically change Pistol Whip play style, difficulty and the overall level of fun you can find with the game.
Here’s a look at some of the ways you can use this menu in tandem with each scene’s Easy, Normal and Hard settings, to change Pistol Whip around for different players and play styles.
Rhythmic Standard Play Mode
Each of the included 10 scenes in Pistol Whip (you can listen to them all here) comes with Easy, Normal and Hard difficulty settings. Each option changes the number of enemies you’ll encounter as you are pulled through the level. When you find the right settings and get familiar with a map it can become exhilarating to shoot and move with the rhythm.
We’ve broken down how many enemies you’ll find in each Pistol Whip scene below. Keep in mind that on the harder settings some of the enemies will also take more shots to eliminate. Be sure to remember that if they have a white vest it takes two shots to destroy and if they have a helmet and full body armor it takes four shots.
Enemies Per Difficulty Setting:
- Death: 246 (easy), 274 (normal), 360 (hard)
- The Grave: 123 (easy), 153 (normal), 239 (hard)
- Download The Future: 149 (easy), 180 (normal), 222 (hard)
- Trap Requiem: 128 (easy), 156 (normal), 196 (hard)
- Revelations: 101 (easy), 133 (normal), 184 (hard)
- Replicants: 101 (easy), 114 (normal), 173 (hard)
- Black Magic: 82 (easy), 113 (normal), 167 (hard)
- The Fall: 112 (easy), 124 (normal), 149 (hard)
- Lilith: 112 (easy), 131 (normal), 143 (hard)
- R U Afraid: 77 (easy), 92 (normal), 118 (hard)
Before looking for the modifiers below you’ll want to find a song you like and then get a sense of how different it feels to play that scene on, say, both easy and normal. If you’re a little more skilled at Pistol Whip, check out the difference between normal and hard.
Once you’ve got that experience it is time to check out the modifiers menu.
Dual Wield can be accessed in the modifiers menu and should probably be the first stop for players ready to dive deeper into Pistol Whip’s rhythmic play on harder difficulties.
Harder Pistol Whip difficulties feature more enemies wearing a bulletproof vest or armor, so activating dual wield can make it more satisfying to destroy two enemies on beat by pulling two triggers at once.
The drawback is that activating dual wield results in a scoring penalty — so there may be a cap on how high you can score in this mode. Nonetheless, some players may find a quicker and more satisfying route to rhythm play in Pistol Whip through dual wielding. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear some players always play dual wield just for the added fun, because it can translate to a more satisfying embodiment of John Wick or Neo.
The Deadeye modifier in Pistol Whip is not a challenge someone should jump into very quickly if they don’t know what they’re doing or aren’t familiar with shooter games. Deadeye, though, is also the gateway to high scores and endless play in Pistol Whip.
Some Pistol Whip players may take a while to realize the game includes an aim assist system that helps enable rhythmic gameplay. Aim assistance gives players the confidence (and time to move) they need to start memorizing where enemies spawn. The feature opens up the game to lot of players with a wide range of experience while ensuring nobody is feeling too crushed even on Easy.
Deadeye takes all of that assistance away and can convert a scene that was easily beaten before into one that’s just soul-crushing. That’s because, instead of one bullet pointed in the general direction of an enemy, each time you shoot you’ve got to line up your sights carefully before firing. Those lost seconds need to be balanced by either extraordinary aiming skill, lots of bullets sent in a specific direction, or more body movement overall to dodge all the extra bullets coming from missed bad guys.
Some players very familiar with shooter games — and perhaps with those who know how to fire real world guns — may turn the Deadeye modifier on immediately.
Deadeye + Dual Wield
The Modifiers menu in Pistol Whip includes a number of options including No Fail, Hardcore, Deadeye, Dual Wield, No Ammo and Infinite Ammo. The options affect your score in different ways and you can’t combine all of them. Some though, including Dual Wield and Deadeye, may work well together for players who prefer two guns and want to get better at their aim. Combining these two modes won’t provide a bonus to your score but it also won’t make it impossible to post a decent score either.
It may be possible at Pistol Whip’s highest levels with the Deadeye modifier turned on to essentially dance your way through a scene by being surgical about when to take your shots. If you can move your body enough to wait for the enemy to come closer then you don’t have to waste as many bullets on shots you might not be able to hit.
At the time of this writing I don’t think I’ve seen anyone play Pistol Whip this way on a map set to hard. I don’t know that I’ll ever be good enough to play this way and I can’t imagine many people will achieve this tier of Pistol Whip. Still, it may be possible and the players who achieve it will have a true sense of what it is like to be John Wick or Neo that the rest of us mere mortals can hardly grasp.
You can find Pistol Whip on the following store pages: