Before I dive into this review a quick disclaimer: I hate heights. No. Seriously. Ever hear of the guy who gets dizzy standing on a thick carpet? That’s me. Or maybe I don’t have a fear of heights. I just have a fear of falling from heights. Or maybe I’m just afraid of hitting the ground after falling from heights. Either way, I don’t like heights. So you can imagine my ‘enthusiasm’ when confronted with the idea of reviewing The Climb. A Quest VR title all about climbing huge heights.
To say that I would rather have shaved my pubic hairs with a blowtorch is something of an understatement.
After a quick visit to the bathroom, a change of underwear, a word with my priest and a few last words with my significant other, I strapped on my headset and tried out The Climb. And you know what? I freaking loved it! Crytek – the developer Gods who created Crysis (I’m writing this bit kneeling down kissing the floor. I am not worthy…) – have pulled a giant VR rabbit out of their sleeve and produced a gem of a game. Here’s the skinny: The Climb is a VR rock climbing game where you’re tasked with scaling to the top of three different summits – the Bay, the Canyon, and the Alp. There are three difficulty settings; easy, normal and hard, and you’re awarded points for speed and proficiency. In The Climb ‘you’ are represented by a disembodied pair of hands and you use them to grip outcroppings and scalable areas of the mountain. Your stamina is shown by a wrist watch you’re wearing and, should you grow tired, you’ll lose your grip and fall to your death. You can improve your stamina by holding on to a crevice or piece of rock with both hands and chalking your hands. There are tons of rewards to unlock for doing stuff like chalking your hands 100 times or making 100 leaps without dying. These range from new watches, gloves and wristbands but these are cosmetic bells and whistles that do nothing to add or take away from the core gameplay.
Graphically The Climb is prettier than a home coming Queen. Seriously, if this game was on a 4KTV you’d have to fight the urge to lick the screen. It really is that pretty. Known for their incredible obsession with detail and for pushing a gaming engine beyond its limits, Crytek have produced another visual masterpiece with The Climb. The first time I gazed out on the breath-taking panorama in front me while I stood perched on the side of a mountain, I actually heard myself giggling like a happy school girl. No, I did. Really. Wow. This is A-Ma-Zing! The Climb also has all those nice little touches that you barely notice the first time round – like insects scuttling away from you as you try to grasp a handhold, or helicopters buzzing so close to you, you swear you can feel the blades ruffling your hair.
As you make your way up the mountain, you’ll hit checkpoints by the way of snap hooks. Should you fall to your death, this is where you’ll re-start from. Excellent. And, should you feel you’re stuck and have no idea how to move on, Crytek have also provided a handy hint system that will draw a suggested route for you to follow.
However, be warned; The Climb is a very physical one game, as you’ll be spending a lot of time reaching out for pieces of rock to hold on to and, quite often, leaping from one handhold to the next ala Assassins Creed style.
The fact that The Climb also has a leader board and the option to race against the ghost of the best climber means you’ll always have something to pit yourself against – and a guide who’ll show you a possible route you hadn’t considered. Once you get to the top of the summit, you’re rewarded by suitable fanfare like eagles flying by and jets performing acrobatics in your honour.
Despite my early misgivings, I found The Climb an incredibly fun and immersive experience. Yes, I was climbing heights, but at no time did I feel the vertigo or nausea I often experience in real life. Instead I experienced what is easily the most immersive VR game on the Quest and I may just have managed to conquer my fear of heights. Go buy.
Kizzi Nkwocha is the editor of Business Game Changer Magazine and publisher of The UK Newspaper, Money and Finance Magazine, the net’s fastest growing wealth creation publication. Kizzi Nkwocha is chair of The Ethical Publishers Association and co-chair of The Logistics Association. Kizzi made his mark in the UK as a publicist, journalist and social media pioneer. As a widely respected and successful media consultant he has represented a diverse range of clients including the King of Uganda, and Amnesty International. Nkwocha has also become a well-known personality on both radio and television. He has been the focus of a Channel 4 documentary on publicity and has hosted his own talk show, London Line, on Sky TV. He has also produced and presented both radio and TV shows in Cyprus and Spain.