The Climb

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The Climb
Information
VR/AR Virtual Reality
Developer Crytek
Publisher Crytek
Platform Oculus Rift (Platform)
Device Oculus Rift CV1
Type Full Game
Genre Sports, Racing, Arcade, Action, Exploration
Input Device Gamepad
Game Mode Single Player
Comfort Level Intense
Version 0.594
Release Date April 28, 2016
Price $49.99
Website The Climb
Infobox Updated 8/13/2016

Review

There have been a lot of complaints from certain gamers in the last few years about so called ‘walking simulations’. Games with minimalistic or sometimes virtually no gameplay mechanics at all have drawn a lot of criticism and their status as a “real game” is hotly debated. While Crytek’s The Climb[1], with its impressive vistas and lovingly crafted canyons and forests may look like one such game at first glance, the mechanics behind the actual climbing are actually surprisingly deep – that said, personal experience with these mechanics will differ significantly, for some, this big-budget release could be absolutely worth it, while others may only experience frustration and neck pain.

If nothing else, Crytek is known for some really good looking games, chief among them being the original Crysis, which back in 2006 was basically developed for a hypothetical space computer rather than the rigs in your average person’s home. A lot of games are pretty though, but Crysis and the original Far Cry also had some really good level design that elevated them above your bog standard shooter. Crysis also introduced a number of mechanics through its nanosuit that brought a lot of color to what, at the time, was a genre stuck at rehearsing the Normandy landings and Stalingrad sieges over and over again. All this brings us to The Climb, just like its predecessors, The Climb is awfully pretty and it boasts some rather unique mechanics as well. While in most first person games activities such as climbing and jumping across chasms are relegated to QTEs, The Climb took a different path – it had to, after all, climbing is the central mechanic and there isn’t anyone around for you to murder.

This is not, however, without its flaws – the lack of Oculus Touch certainly has an effect on the otherwise excellent immersion. Oculus will be releasing its Touch devices later this year, and The Climb will be supporting them. Until then, players control their avatar’s two disembodied hands with a mixture of Xbox Controller and the Rift’s head tracking. Rather than reaching out physically, you look at the place you want to climb to and use the controller to pull yourself up. All of this is controlled by a fatigue system that limits how long you can hang from only one hand. You can increase your grip by periodically rubbing your hands with chalk – which is also done with a controller button.

All in all, without the motion controls, The Climb and other games like it are a rather bizarre experience as you combine two rather unintuitive control methods. That is not to say that motion controls do not have their own issues, especially as far as the endurance and mobility of each particular player.

Finally, there is the matter of price. The Climb’s campaign is certainly not very long, clocking in at about four hours. While there is an impressive list of challenges ranging from speed runs to the removal of save points. The game actually only has 3 levels – that said, each of its 3 difficulties takes you along a different route, so there is some replay value. For some, the AAA price tag of $49.99 might be a tad too high for a relatively short experience, but The Climb remains, as we’ve come to expect from CryTek, a very good looking game, and even, for better or worse, an innovative one.

The Climb is out now on the Oculus Store.

References

  1. http://www.theclimbgame.com/

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