The Climb Review

Today we test one of Crytek's first commercial adventure for virtual reality the most renowned games in the Oculus Rift Store: The Climb

The Climb was developed by Crytek , creators of important games like Crysis or Far Cry . We speak of a company that stands out for its graphic quality and, in virtual reality, does not want to be an exception. We present a rope climbing game, exclusive at the moment for Oculus Rift , in which we ascend through impressive mountains or boulders with the only help of our body, especially our hands.  It is a sports action game, so do not look for a story behind, as there is not, as in most games of this type. We remind you that the game is available from April 28 and costs $49.99 . In addition, it  will be compatible with Oculus Touch when it’s ready  for sale to the public.

The game menu has been very well adapted for virtual reality and is perfectly readable and comfortable to handle. Its simplicity helps us to move without any problems through its sections. It highlights the way in which our progression or achievements have been grouped together.

Levels

The Climb has three different environments:

BAHIA : Its location is inspired by Asia. It is a paradisiacal landscape, which mixes the water and the mountain. Depending on the level of difficulty, we will find different zones and times of the day (something that will happen in all scenarios). In an easy level we will enjoy a sunset that invites relaxation and peace, if it were not, of course, because we can take off in any second if we let ourselves be carried away by the beauty of the environment. If we play in medium difficulty, we will find a summer day with people enjoying aquatic or aerial activities. The stages are very vivid, pure nature in full splendor, there is life in every corner. To open your mouth, what better than to take a helicopter ride to know this scenario:

CAÑON : This time, we moved to North America. Inspired by the arid Arizona desert, we must climb its reddish rocks to the top. This terrain transmits heat and hardness, and any carelessness can be fatal. We will find grips of dubious security, which will make us be in a continuous state of tension and concentration. The Climb has a “classic touch” as it makes use of those old automated scripts with animations when passing through x points that are very well. It is a very photorealistic place and it is spectacular to play it in difficult in the middle of the night with the light of our flashlight.

ALPS : We travel to Europe. It is a colder, more humid and green landscape. Rich spots that invite us to breathe deeply and fill our lungs with fresh air to reach the top of the mountain. It is a very varied scenario, in our step we will find animals, birds and a lush vegetation. We will enjoy snowy mountains behind our backs and even cross dark caves of poor visibility. Without a doubt, this is a very fun environment.

Although the scenarios are very re-playable (for the ghost mode, for achievements, for unlocking levels or objects for our avatar), we miss some more scenario. And although they give a lot of each other when we express them well, we hope they add more levels and different locations over time and, why not ?, taking advantage of the arrival of Oculus Touch . It might have been interesting to add some urban, for example.

Controls

The game has a basic and advanced tutorial, and it will be essential to play it before beginning the ascent to the mountains or boulders. A virtual tutor (in English and without subtitles) will instruct us with the basic gestures of climbing without a rope. In addition, we will have a climbing wall where we can move and train freely in an unlimited way.

Once we make the basic moves, in the main menu we can choose between three scenarios, which in turn are divided into three difficulty levels: easy, medium and difficult, plus two cliffs (which would be extreme levels). We must gain experience to unlock all levels, because initially we can only play the easy difficulty.

In addition, each screen can play in “race” mode, all a virtual versus against our ghost or friends . In this way, we will also gain experience to unlock faster levels of difficulty (racing can be more addictive). To give you an idea you must have level 10 to unlock the difficult difficulty, and 15 for the cliffs.

Each stage will have different accesses, that is, invites to be played over and over again to explore the different paths to the top (or rather accesses, because you will not find many facilities). In each environment we can find collectibles such as gnomes, flying saucers or even a camera (the most precious object of each level and also better hidden). This will make us unlock achievements, which will help us to get bracelets, watches and gloves to customize our character (or rather, our hands, that is the only thing we see of our virtual avatar).

Unfortunately, The Climb does not have multiplayer mode as such. Online races could be the most fun in this game. All we can do is compete against the virtual ghosts of the world ranking or our friends.

Levels and difficulty

Our goal in The Climb will be none other than reaching the top of each mountain or rock . We will have chalk (or magnesium) to refresh our hands, which will become scorching as we grab or jump from one point to another. It will be important not to lose sight of the resistance bars that we have placed in our wrist; If we apply more chalk we will have more endurance, but eye, we must be skilled because whenever we are hanging from a single hand, the resistance will fall quickly, which will cause our fall into the void.

When we are well held with both hands, our energy will be fully recharged, this will not occur in smaller or technical projections or cracks, or if our hands are too far apart. Depending on our technique, fluency and expertise, we will get more or less punctuation . The faster or less grab we use, the more points we get. During the climb we will find checkpoints where we will start again in case of “accident” or fall, something that will subtract points at the end.

The level of easy difficulty in its different mountains should not pose great problems. It is more of a contact to get us in control and know the characteristics of different environments. Of course, if we want to find all the objects and routes, we must invest a lot of time. It even has a tourist mode, in which our resistance will not go down at any time , which is quite enticing to the game.

At medium difficulty , our task is complicated a bit, as it requires more technique and dexterity. We are encountering more complex challenges. In the canyon we can see a much clayier terrain, with the most unstable protrusions, the grips can come off, so we will have to be fast and agile ( Uncharted style ). At times, we will have to clean the grips, remove the stones so we can hold ourselves safely and not die trying. Others will be covered with abrupt vegetation like brambles, where the resistance bar will decrease in thousandths. In middle level the alternatives of ascension are more open, we will be able to find numerous routes towards the highest. The Alps in the middle level has been especially fun !, with many moments of tension and jumps that will make us release adrenaline. We will live epic moments like crossing cliffs through a cable or even climbing a cable car.

On the difficult level, the scenarios are played at night, which gives it an impressive look . We will be equipped with a flashlight on the head. There are far fewer grips, and several of them are dirty. In addition, we find less double grips, that is, we will have to make quick combinations alternating hands without rest so as not to dump us in the attempt. The technical grips will be difficult to see and will be a challenge.

After overcoming this last level (about six hours of play, if we repeat some screen that another), it comes the turn of the rocks, land protrusions where we will not have any chalk or any help (like the virtual lure of route in case of being A little lost). Here more than one will sweat, literally (we assure you) . To overcome them you must memorize your grips, a challenge of skill and concentration. You will restart the game again and again; In fact, you will try to advance as much as possible with the little magnesium you have at the beginning of the ascension. As an example we leave a small gameplay of a server so you can see what it is (epic fails included at the end of the video):

But arrived at the highest, and after a ¡uuuhaaaa! (Who will scream our character, but whoever has played advanced levels or rocks will scream in unison), we can see different endings on the top of the mountain , such as fireworks (spectacular in the Bay) or even an air show with fighters at the top Of the barrel.

 

How to Pay

The Climb is played standing up by its greater immersion and to arrive with more looseness to the grips (also it is possible to play in a rotating chair, but it subtracts a little to the experience). The control system is none other than the gamepad of Xbox One . Through the triggers, we will climb from one ledge to another. The position of these in space is handled through our eyes, a system that many have already tested in the technological demos of Crytek Back to Dinosaur Island 2 . In addition, we can jump to reach more distant protrusions by pressing the button A.

 

Unfortunately, to this day (and as we write this analysis) there is no Oculus Touch in the market , a problem solved with the combination of our look and the use of the gamepad. This alternative will affect comfort to a certain extent. The Climb will make us tired physically by controlling both hands with our neck. We understand that it is a climbing game and that it simulates an exaggerated physical exercise, so it could happen. But it is possible to end with minor neck discomfort, especially at first. And I say at the beginning, because as our character will end up with good “calluses” in the hands, we will get used to not being so tense or nervous.

The problem of not using motion controllers adapted to virtual reality is that, by controlling the position of our hands with our eyes, much of the time we will be focusing our eyes on them (simply by not letting go), this makes, for example, We can not enjoy the scenery as much as we would like ( we will look too far ahead and up). Only when we are well held with both hands will we have a moment of pause to rest our neck and be able to look around us. In spite of all this, this way of playing can create that claustrophobic point or of maximum tension, aspect that the game must simulate (think that it is not a game of climbing with ropes nor with zones of march, it is of extreme climbing Within reach of very few on Earth). When you get used to it, and as Dario Sancho Pradel conveyed to us on the special podcast on The Climb , the management is very good and can be very clever. However, we will encounter certain problems in grips that should result in easy theory, which in this game translates into falling into the void.

 

Having said that, it is impossible not to have the great longing to want to literally grasp these protrusions. The Climb will have much more potential with Oculus Touch , he shouts. It will be much more fun to feel each protrusion. Only time will tell if Crytek had to wait to get the game at the same time as Oculus Touch , or if on the other hand, it was a wise move, maybe a little premature. In any case, we remember that its compatibility with Touch is official and will become reality when they are available for sale.

 

But summing up, and returning to comfort as far as virtual reality is concerned, it must be said that it is very good in general terms. The low persistence and fluidity with which it works does not make you dizzy under normal conditions . Not being able to walk and that the displacement is “automatic” when going from one salient to another, has repercussions in that we do not have many problems in this aspect. We think it is perfectly fit for someone who has never played virtual reality.

Graphics, sound and tracking

Graphically Crytek puts all the meat on the grill for its first commercial adventure in virtual reality (or all that can respect the minimum requirements of this first batch of viewers). The game has been developed under CRYENGINE , and the result can be described as “remarkable high”, but not outstanding when compared to what this company can do in a game “conventional or a classic screen.” The lighting is very successful, as for example, the tone that takes the stage thanks to the sun, is simply spectacular. Shadows are fine, not of the highest quality, but most moving objects have them (eg, birds or the helicopter itself). We will be able to observe the detail of the vegetation, with its physics as characteristic mark of the house of games as Crysis , we will be able to balance it when touching it with our hands.

The textures are very well cared for in each mountain, they can be observed in great detail. The cannon is very successful, we can call it a photorealist . Our hands (of different skin tones according to our taste) have a lot of detail, we can appreciate the texture of our gloves or observe in detail our watch or bracelet.

 

The screendoor effect is barely perceptible if we look at the nearest to us, only when we look at the horizon or more distant mountains we will discover it. Looking at this horizon, we will observe the limitations of the current resolution, it will cost us to find that point of clarity that we would like. Mention aside is the famous ” glare ” effect (an effect produced by the reflection of light in the lens), because never better: glitters by its absence in this game (unless we are very picky and look directly at the sun Or at some point very punctual, such as being inside a cave and looking at the glow that produces the exit). The colors are especially vivid, highlighting blacks, very good if compared to other games. The Climb goes especially smoothly , there are no downswings at any time (we’ve played it with a GeForce GTX 980 and the performance can not be better).

 

Regarding the sound, say that it is very much up to the graphics. It has binaural sound, which is appreciated very well with the headphones of the Rift itself. We can feel the birds flying very close, the roar of the rockets or the sound of the helicopter above us.

Final Thoughts

In short, we have to say that THE CLIMB is a game in UPPERCASE for this first generation of virtual reality, it is fun and above all very addictive . Playing in high difficulty or in the cliffs will be a real challenge where we will test all our skill and concentration. It has high quality graphics, photorealistic finishes, and we will find a lively and lively environment wherever we look. The sound is very much up to par, its binaural system will make us immerse ourselves even more in the experience.

As for the bad or the less good, we believe that the control with the gamepad of XBOX ONE could be even more polished avoiding some fright than another.  We also strongly believe that it needs a multiplayer mode, it could be an incentive. As for the scenarios, we are a bit short in terms of variety. Regarding the price ($49.99) and thinking that it is a PC game, and still not compatible with Oculus Touch, we also seem a little high.

8

Great

hyped4
As far as I can remember, I've been surrounded by technology. My father bought us a Commodore 64 so I started playing games as a baby, following my passion with Amiga 500, then PC and so on. I love game related collectibles, and when I'm not collecting I review games, watch movies and TV Shows or you may catch me keeping a low profile at Game Events.

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