The Climb is a special game for me, because it started my journey with Virtual Reality.
It was an uneventful Saturday evening. I was at Best Buy with some friends, picking up a TV because said friends did not have it delivered free of charge for unknown reasons. The Best Buy still had those Oculus demo stations then. I passed by it, and kept going browsing the store. My friends are still trying to check out that TV, so I walk by the Oculus demo station again, and I stopped. They plugged me in, strapped me on the Oculus, and there I was playing The Climb. This is the game that convinced me to buy my Oculus on the spot, and I’m not usually impulsive.
Price: 49.99 USD
Tldr; A game designed for the Touch controllers and VR. Very beautiful and extraordinary. The sound is superb, there is enough content to last 40 hours or more, and good replayability. Very physically involved, so be ready.
The Actual Review
The Climb runs on CryEngine, so it means serious graphic business ( that means you better have a good graphic card and a processor.) I run this on my GTX 970 with a 3rd gen i5-3570k, but having higher specs are always recommended.
The game is so beautiful it sort of scared me in a way. The first time I launched this game and went to the Bay climb, I took a good 10 minutes just looking at the environment. It’s not the obvious hi-def imagery that took my breath away (although that helped), it’s actually the subtle signs of life in every details. While looking up on the cliff and I noticed ladybugs crawling around. I was able to touch them too, and scare them away. Far away I heard faint water splashes of fishes and fishermen, and as an eagle flies past my view, I can almost feel the wind on my face (no, that’s not an Oculus feature, just my imagination).
The game is Touch supported, and it really is the only proper way you should be playing this game. The Touch controls are very intuitive. You pull the trigger to grab onto a ledge, you press the inner trigger to jump. That’s all you really need to learn. You are guaranteed to get an arm workout playing this game long enough. Rumors have it some guys lost 15 pounds playing this game. Amazing huh?
Your goal is to get to the very top, and it starts out easy enough. There are 4 different mountains you can attempt: The Bay (which I’m almost sure is the Ha Long Bay in Vietnam), the Grand Canyon, the Arctic, and lastly some mountain in Europe overlooking a castle, Germany I think (Sky Diver Mountain).
There are 4 different difficulty levels you can attempt: easy, moderate, hard and insane. Easy mode is in broad day night, and there is guide assist to show you where to go, with very little jumping or stretching involved. Moderate mode is a little harder; you’ll have to jump more often but nothing too crazy. Hard mode gets interesting; It’s in the dark. Even a fun active game like this can get really freaky in a night environment. It’s not so bad once you get over the spookiness of it. Insane mode is just like Hard mode, except there is no path guide and it’s not very obvious where you need to go. I have not been able to beat this level by the way. Fun fact, different levels show you different views of the same mountain.
You have to stop and re-chalk once in a while, otherwise your stamina goes down. If you do not hold on with both hands long enough, you will drop. You can’t just grab any ledge, there are predetermined paths to take. However, there are multiple paths to the top.
The amazing sound design in this game was really enhanced by the Oculus surround sound headphones. I can hear the bugs, the wind, the birds, the people around me, the planes ahead, all at the same time. It’s so subtle yet so incredibly immersive. In this game, I’m not just playing pretend climbing; in my mind, I’m actually climbing.
Overall, the game is one of the best VR experiences money can buy personally. I love it, everyone I have showed it to loved it. Highly recommended.