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Review: Everest VR

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Beautiful, yet shallow

Just the thought of climbing a mountain like Everest is terrifying. Plenty of stories exist of people's treks up the mountain, many of which end in defeat and/or death. Movies have been made, books have been written, and I have quietly sat on my butt with no intention of ever tackling such an obstacle. 

I was, however, very intrigued by the notion of exploring the mountain in virtual reality. I've been plenty frightened in VR from other games, both by heights and actual spooky things. Unfortunately, the scariest thing about Everest VR is its price tag.

Everest VR (HTC Vive)
Developer: Sólfar Studios, RVX
Publisher: Sólfar Studios
Released: August 2, 2016
MSRP: $24.99

Everest doesn't claim to be a "game," really, but more of an "experience." That being said, it attempts to blend small gameplay elements into a hands-off experience with muddled results. The entire adventure is very short, clocking in at under half an hour total, and that includes the tutorial and when I had to restart an area due to a bug.

Everything starts at base camp, where the player can play around by grabbing various pieces of food and, if you're anything like me, throwing it at the nearby climbers. From there, players will experience a handful of different locations throughout the climb, connected by short videos explaining the history and dangers of the area. These videos were one of my favorite parts, since it felt like being in the best movie theater ever. It was like watching one of those documentaries that they show in IMAX theaters with titles like Whales or America's Natural Parks.

Each area has a small bit where the player actually has to do something, and most of them are complete garbage. The coolest thing is climbing a ladder, which feels very real and is a great form of movement. The biggest problem is that players move horizontally by teleporting which completely ruins any sense of immersion in the experience. The very first climbing segment has players moving across a creaky ladder-bridge using carabiners and rope, but the only way to  actually move across it is to teleport while holding the carabiners. It's such a neat idea bogged down by lame execution.

suppose if your play space was big enough you could actually walk across, but considering the game has no required room size like many other titles do, there's nothing indicating as much. The entire thing, despite looking absolutely gorgeous, feels unpolished. I ran into many bugs and visual glitches while playing, all of which completely took me out of the experience and made it much harder to appreciate the journey of climbing Everest.

In fact, I barely had the feeling that I was accomplishing anything at all. The gameplay bits are so small and insignificant that just when I thought I might be doing something, it was over. The game boils down to: do some traversal gameplay which is mostly teleporting, watch a video about the next segment, and repeat. There's one segment where it feels a bit unnerving to look around, but again, the teleporting and lack of polish soon ruined that feeling.

Keeping in mind that this experience is $25, Everest VR does nothing but disappoint. While it looks astounding, it's at its best when it isn't trying to immerse the player with "gameplay" segments that only serve to take away from what it's trying to accomplish. If it were much cheaper, or at least longer, it would be a great way to demonstrate VR for someone uninitiated with it. As it stands, it's a lot of money for a paltry few broken moments.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]

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Everest VR reviewed by Patrick Hancock

3.5

POOR

Went wrong somewhere along the line. The original idea might have promise, but in practice it has failed. Threatens to be interesting sometimes, but rarely.
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Patrick Hancock
Patrick HancockContributor   gamer profile

During the day, he teaches high school kids about history. At night he kicks their butts in competitive games like Rocket League, Dota 2, Overwatch, and Counter-Strike. Disclosure: I've persona... more + disclosures


 


 


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