Rock climbing is one of those things that works great in VR with motion controls, but rarely has more than a moment to shine. The climb 2, however, that’s it. This is developer Crytek’s second iteration on the idea of scaling large vertical obstacles, and it’s a major improvement over the original Oculus Rift launch game in terms of controls and design. levels. And while climbing seems pretty basic on its own, the simulated feel of dizzying heights makes the tension real – and The Climb 2 comes with a bump in the graphics that shows what the Oculus Quest 2 can really do when it comes. works on all cylinders. .
It starts out pretty simple. Once you’ve completed its brief tutorial, you’re allowed to switch (pun intended) between any of its five main areas, and within each of those areas are three different levels that unlock when you beat the last one. Fortunately, this does away with the original’s arbitrary level-gating system which seemed totally out of place and limited your ability to explore from the start.
If it seems like the amount of content here is light, that’s because it is: it only adds up to 15 levels total. Don’t expect a story either. The storytelling of The Climb 2 is found in its complex level design, although a larger plot is something that certainly could have made this experience even more cohesive and interesting. The only thing you’ll do is jump, grab, and swing on this meticulously detailed virtual climbing wall – and you’ll do it on your own.
What makes this work is that there is a refreshing amount of diversity. Each level, even in the same area, has a completely different backdrop and art style, and the card layouts are all very different from what was before. For example, one of the first city levels has you climbing up the exterior of skyscrapers in broad daylight, while the next level contrasts this sharply by making you jump between moving elevators with magnificent lights. of the city glittering on the horizon at night. Later, you climb through mountainous pancakes while avoiding wild wolves, then jump between hanging luggage containers and even climb the side of a giant wind turbine. Everything looks fantastic and the constant changing of the backdrop keeps things fresh and interesting throughout.
Speaking of graphics, The Climb 2 – which I played on Oculus Quest 2 but is also available on the original Quest – offers a leap in graphics quality over its predecessor on the same system. Right off the bat, it delivers sharper textures and a lot more clarity; I also noticed less jagged edges on objects sometimes making me think I played a PC VR game and not a standalone game. The most important here is the visual improvement of nighttime environments. Some nightly levels in The Climb were downright unplayable due to the claustrophobic level design and unclear directions, but this is now resolved in similar areas of The Climb 2. Even the most dimly lit levels now have grab points. clearly marked, and the navigation system can easily get you back on track if you start to lose direction.
As tense as it can be, The Climb 2’s instant gameplay is meditative in its simplicity. Just like in the original, its primary game mode – called pro mode – is all about balancing speed and stamina. Trying to hold a grip with one hand can cause you to lose too much stamina and slip, but you can press the trigger button on your Touch controller halfway to hold longer and restore stamina halfway up. , or you can apply chalk on your hands to make them retain more stamina and restore stamina much faster. These are all strategies that carry over from the original game, but they feel so much smoother now. For example, maintaining a half take is now more forgiving and intuitive. Hand chalking is also much faster and much less clunky.
As a result, it’s much easier to get into a groove in The Climb 2. To make things even more interesting, most maps now have several different routes you can take to reach your goal. They are also left open for interpretation: if you see an opening to take a shortcut, such as jumping directly onto a distant ledge instead of climbing towards it, you probably can. The other big upgrade is that a dramatically improved physics system means you’ll be able to move through objects and obstacles that have some physical responsiveness as opposed to the strictly static world of the original. You’ll jump between hanging tents, climb through ropes, and hang on scaffolding for life as it bounces in response to your weight. It introduces a ton of flavor into the gameplay.
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