The Climb 2 is a seriously intense VR rock climbing simulation
I sweated and my arms hurt after just the first challenge on the Oculus Quest 2. I need to get out more.
Scott SteinEditor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
ExpertiseVR and AR, gaming, metaverse technologies, wearable tech, tabletsCredentials
Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
The Oculus Quest 2 just got one of its best games in a while, and I'm embarrassed to say it exhausted me. Maybe I need to get out more, but the rock-climbing game The Climb 2, a sequel to a classic VR game that's been out for years, is stunning and beautiful and surprisingly stressful.
Crytek's Quest 2 game feels like it makes the most of the hardware's graphics, with vistas that stretch out in all directions. If you've never played The Climb before, it's basically a game that uses your controller grips to grab and climb up rocks, reaching and jumping from ledge to ledge. The challenge comes either in finishing climbs fast, or in grabbing ledges with just the right analog trigger pressure and keeping your hands chalked by shaking the controllers.
The new game has ziplines, sliding grips, ropes you dangle over, ledges and even some city maps to grapple through. I've only just started, but my mountain experiences were already more varied than the original's maps. Each location has several checkpoints to head toward. Figuring out the best way there is part of the puzzle. The feeling of being high up is surprisingly effective, even for me as a VR veteran. Losing my grip and falling still freaks me out a bit.
I don't know how long the game is, exactly, but the 15 maps included, plus the challenge of beating your score and improving your technique, should give this game a fair amount of replay. And there's also a meditative Zen type of flow running through the whole experience. Hitting checkpoints, catching your breath, looking out at incredible places that are a lot more exciting than my cluttered house... it's therapeutic. It's isolated. It makes me feel like I'm living my own video game version of Free Solo.
VR at home has become part of my exercise routine. The Climb 2 isn't exercise, really. But it definitely isn't chill. My arms need a rest. And I guess I can only imagine what real rock climbers like Mark Serrels do all the time. This is my Serrels simulation.