Don’t lose your grip
© Crytek
Crytek share amazing tips for scaling the peaks of The Climb 2
Chalk up and don’t look down – Crytek share their tips for tackling the thrilling free solo VR title, The Climb 2.
By Jamie Hunt-Stevenson
Published on
For anyone unaware, free soloing is where individuals who have an inordinate amount of trust in the strength of their own fingers climb to unfathomable heights without ropes, harnesses, or other trifling things that could stop you falling to your death.
If, like us, the idea alone makes your palms sweat and your heart race, then a video game that accurately captures the thrill (and yes, fear) of free solo climbing would be more terrifying than a lagoon full of that godforsaken water monster from Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Incredibly, this is exactly what Crytek has delivered with its VR free solo sim The Climb, and its upcoming sequel, The Climb 2.
Delivering a virtual reality experience that mocks other games’ claims of being ‘adrenaline-fuelled’, The Climb first gained notice by terrifying YouTubers as they attempted to scale its treacherous peaks. With the sequel boasting a number of incredible new features to test your wits, skills and courage, we caught up with Crytek to get some tips on how to get an edge on The Climb 2

Getting started

First, how should players go about getting to grips with The Climb 2 if climbing, in a VR game or IRL, is something totally new to them? Matthias Otto, principal level designer at Crytek, tells us:
“If this is your very first climbing experience, we highly recommend playing the tutorial to get familiar with the core gameplay mechanics and then continue with Casual Mode as this focuses solely on exploring a path. As you progress to Professional Mode it becomes more complex, with gameplay challenges like stamina and chalk, which you need to balance on your way to the top.”
Casual mode, for those unfamiliar with the first The Climb title, lets you explore a path without the need to balance stamina and chalk. Fatih Özbayram, senior producer, adds: “It can help you become familiar with the route and prepare you for the Professional mode.”
While Casual mode offers an excellent playground to test your skills, we’re yet to touch upon what may prove a hurdle for many players hoping to master The Climb 2: a very real fear of heights. With The Climb 2 doing an amazing job of capturing the sense of height and scale when climbing these monolithic structures, it’s fair to say that many players may find their fears bubbling over.
Özbayram, however, has a keen understanding of this phobia, and offers some tips to help players overcome it when playing The Climb 2. “As someone who is afraid of heights, I try to avoid looking down and focus on the next grip, one at a time, to familiarise myself with the environment,” he says. “When I reach a checkpoint, I take a moment to celebrate my achievement and enjoy the environment and events that happen around me, knowing that I am safe and cannot fall!”

City limits

One of the most exciting new features in The Climb 2 is the addition of city environments. In The Climb, natural environments were very much the focus, and while towering rock monoliths will still very much play their part, the introduction of more human-made structures brings its very own set of challenges.
As for how best to tackle them, Otto explains: “The urban levels don't use chalk marks, which indicate grips. Instead, we use colours that signal that a surface or object can be grasped. But other than that, reach out and see if you find a hold! You might feel stronger vertigo in those levels as they are so close to our day-to-day lives, so ease your way into looking down!”
Once you’ve got to grips with the terrain, you’ll likely want to start upping the pace of your climbs, shortening your time to the top. According to Otto, The Climb 2’s competitive modes are a great way to do just that:
“You can learn the fastest routes and shortcuts by playing against other players and seeing where they climb,” he says. “To really nail the quickest way to the top, you can learn a level inside out by climbing and looking around to spot hidden grips and finding shortcuts. And then learn the grip combination. This means working out which grip you should grab with which hand to get into the right flow and climb efficiently and quickly. On top of learning the level, you should try to master the half-press technique. This basically saves you the time chalking your hands.”
With a mention of shortcuts grabbing our interest, we asked Otto to offer us some more tips as to how we can spot these wonderfully handy routes. He obliged: “The best thing is to take your time and look around. Make yourself familiar with a level and let your brain create a mind map of it and then figure out the fastest way. You could also load up a race from someone very fast and see where they climb for inspiration.”

Reward yourself

While the thrill of mastering a particularly tricky climb is something The Climb 2 delivers in spades, there’s even more incentive to scale the game’s heights thanks to in-game rewards, with Özbayram explaining that certain actions and accomplishments are linked to achievements, which provide players either with wristbands, watches, or gloves that they can unlock to customise their appearance in the game.
As for how you can get your hands on these, Özbayram adds: “Some focus on level completion, some on a race condition like beating a time and some on game mechanics like successfully completing a certain amount of jumps. Most achievements have a hint about what you need to do to unlock them but there are also a few hidden achievements that you can discover through exploring!”
While you should now be equipped with the tips needed to get started in The Climb 2, a final thing to remember: Don’t. Look. Down.
The Climb 2 is out on March 4 on Quest and Quest 2.