Hands-on: Crytek’s ‘The Climb’ with Oculus Touch Feels Like an Entirely New Experience

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The Climb is a climbing simulator game from Crytek designed for the Oculus Rift. Originally premiering in April using the Xbox controller, The Climb is getting an update to work with Oculus Touch, the company’s yet released hand controller.

From the start, it surprised us to find that The Climb would launch ahead of the Oculus Touch controller—after all, it seemed like a perfect fit. Somewhat unexpectedly, it actually worked pretty well with the motion-less gamepad (our review here). Even so, it seems as if eventually adding support for VR motion controllers was the developer’s long-game from the start, as using the Touch version of The Climb felt profoundly different.

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Traversing the mountain face was easy, and while it left my arms tired (as I was constantly grasping for handholds) the results are so much more satisfying when you’re mimicking the movements of reaching and grabbing, instead of craftily manipulating a gamepad and craning your neck for purchase.

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Moving your arms to reach for a new grip changes your point of view in the direction of the next hand hold, so even though your head is fairly immobile, you feel like you’re traveling left, right, up or down depending on your chosen direction. While this doesn’t sound technically appealing (any undue movement is usually a bad thing in VR), it felt more like I was pulling the world with me, and that I had a tight control over my locomotion even if it was exaggerated to help me move from handhold to handhold. Even making a risky jump to a next handhold felt like a natural movement, if only because I was engaging more with the physicality of the game than I would have otherwise.

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There’s only a minimal auto-locking mechanic for when you get close to your target handholds, but you’re expected to really stretch and work for the next move despite this. I know the content of the game hasn’t changed at all, but with the addition of Touch support, I really want back into my copy of The Climb for an extended session, because from what I saw today, it feels like an entirely new experience.

The update to add support for Oculus Touch to The Climb will come at the same time that Touch launches, which the company has only confirmed will be before the end of 2016..

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