For a long time, virtual reality has been a promise ... but that's finally about to change. Over the past few years, gamers have seen the tech go from concept to crowdfunding projects to actual physical product — and, with the first batch of next-gen VR headsets heading to retailers next year, fans will finally be able to get their hands on one of the biggest tech crazes in recent memory.
The only real issue with virtual reality technology is that gamers don't have much to latch on to quite yet. Yes, there are a few developers who have shown off some incredible VR-enabled games, but for the most part, it's all proof-of-concept pieces and tech demos. Granted, the actual headsets are still a ways off, but how is it that gamers don't have a better idea of what they'll actually be playing once the tech hits store shelves?
Thankfully, Crytek is more than willing to show off what it's been working on in the VR space — and, considering the company is best known for the Crysis franchise, gamers may be surprised to learn that the studio's first VR project isn't another shooter. Instead of focusing on aliens and explosions, Crytek is going for something a bit more subtle, a bit simpler — and yet, it's already looking like one of the most effective uses of VR thus far.
Meet The Climb.
At its core, The Climb is all about ... well, climbing. It's not nearly as expansive as Crytek's other games (don't expect to save the world or anything), and at first glance, it may look like a mere slice of a game — after all, climbing is just a single piece of games like Tomb Raider and God of War.
But it's this simplicity that makes The Climb work so well as a VR game. It doesn't matter who you are, glancing over the edge of a cliff as you hold on for dear life is scary — and, while most games offer the disconnect of a third-person perspective, The Climb offers no such reprieve. You are left dangling on the side of a mountain, and there are only two options available: keep climbing, or plummet back down to Earth in a stunningly realistic fashion.
To be fair, The Climb still has a lot left to show before it looks like anything more than a momentary distraction — sure, climbing is fun, but an entire game based around it could get boring if there isn't enough content to support it. As previously stated, a lot of VR games look like tech demos right now. While The Climb makes a strong argument for virtual reality gaming even in its early state, Crytek simply hasn't shown off enough of the game yet.
Criticisms aside, The Climb is looking fantastic. It's a stunningly simple, yet clever way to make virtual reality feel like more than an expensive gimmick. With any luck, the full game will be more than just an idea.
The Climb is due out sometime next year.