Beware: This 1080p shot of gameplay in The Climb betrays its VR experience, as the Oculus headset's displays offer enough stair-stepping effects as you move around to introduce artifacts and blur.
4 more images in gallery
SAN FRANCISCO—The game industry's last major "first-person platformer," Mirror's Edge, was met in 2008 with a small but passionate fan base as it toyed with a more intense view of full-blown parkour. While that novel viewpoint looked pretty cool, it could also feel disorienting during high action scenes, and the gameplay that surrounded it was admittedly quite thin.
We expect to run into very similar issues as virtual reality games launch on new-in-2016 platforms such as Oculus, PlayStation VR, and HTC Vive. Game makers will surely focus harder on getting a new perspective to look cool without making anyone sick... and launch itty-bitty games as a result. Crytek's first retail VR game, The Climb, already appears to fall into this chasm—but based on our brief test of the beautiful game at a December preview event, we think we've finally found a satisfying, better-in-VR form of a first-person platformer.
Left hand, right hand, left hand, chalk
We got to try out a Crytek VR experiment during this summer's E3 conference, but it was advertised as a tech-demo taste of Crytek's eventual first retail VR product. Robinson: The Journey simply had players scale a giant mountain's sides via an automatic pulley system. Occasionally, players would use a conventional controller's trigger buttons to grab onto new pulleys, but there was little "game" to speak of. Instead, this Robinson demo seemed meant to showcase Crytek's technically impressive engine work, which included expansive views of nearby tree-lined mountains and animated dinosaurs all around.