My Friend Pedro has finally been released for the PlayStation 4, and it’s as much of a joy to play as I had imagined.
When I first laid eyes on My Friend Pedro it was the summer of 2018, and it looked like a glorious highlight of publisher Devolver’s line-up for that summer’s trade shows. The initial release was only for the Switch and PC though, and the next platform to get the game was the Xbox One. In a rare (and for me, cruel) twist, this was a multi-platform game that wasn’t available on the PlayStation. Now, that’s been fixed.
The original trailers for My Friend Pedro all looked like compilations from an action movie that showcased the best bits, so I was curious to see how it related to the rest of the game. Luckily, those bits are actually the heart and soul of the game, so as long as that strikes a chord with you you’re in for a treat. My Friend Pedro combines John Woo-style action sequences, Deadpool-like style, the bullet time mechanics from The Matrix and Max Payne, accessible physics from Angry Birds and the short but explosive levels from God’s Trigger and Hotline Miami – and it cooks up a great mix of a game.
The story that ties everything together is incredibly forgettable though, and a bit of a low point for something that’s so inspired by cinematic action movie styles. It’s something that’s quickly forgotten though, because the game doesn’t waste a lot of time getting you into the actual gameplay. It’s divided into small levels (or sequences) you can always go back to and replay later for higher scores.
The core principle is always the same though – use a combination of acrobatics and bullet time mechanics to pull off incredibly styling kills and rack up high scores while doing so. There is never just a single way to beat a level, but maximizing your score means you need a good understanding of the controls and (combo) mechanics, as well as a bit of luck. Part of the brilliance, however, lies in the fact that even your least intricate kills still look great – giving you the sense that you’re a ruthless action hero.
Start using the environment and the various tools within it, and you’ll feel even more like a violent superhero. Doing somersaults over enemies in slowmotion while bouncing bullets off a metal surface to hit them in the back feels great, and it’s a thrill to watch even when you’re just spectating. My Friend Pedro’s visuals may not be the prettiest out there, but there’s an abundance of style that never gets old. Part of that is that the game has excellent replay value, as you piece together what the optimal (or most awesome) way is to tackle a level.
There could have been more depth to the narrative and gameplay, but at least I have the recent Hitman games to help me with that. My Friend Pedro is violent and explosive fun that’s the equivalent of shutting your brain off to enjoy a good action movie without worrying too much about the plot. I’m glad we can finally do so on a PS4.