With the concept of virtual reality being revitalized, the possibilities of going where you can’t physically go have become a reality within some of the games paired with this new technology. One of those games is Everest, where you get a chance to experience most of what the climbers of the past have experienced when climbing the colossal mountain.

What is Everest VR?

Everest VR is a virtual reality game that attempts to simulate the actions, feelings, and experience one would normally have when attempting to climb Mt. Everest. Inside of the game, you will be given specific tools that are currently used by the real climbers in order to scale upright walls of solid snow, traverse across small crevices using a makeshift bridge, and pay homage to a tradition carried out to wish luck on any climbers attempting to scale the mountain. While you travel up Mt. Everest, a narrative will provide additional back-story and history to round out your knowledge of the mountain.

Graphics and Visuals Score: 4/5

The game is graphically appealing and it does compare with the same graphics you would get from PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 games. With the use of clever image angles and lighting shadows, the game makes the most out of the system to provide a 720p experience. The game is optimized to provide more of a visual experience than any type of gameplay.

Difficulty Level Score: 4/5

The game is not difficult to play at all and there is very limited gameplay. You will mostly be using your controls to move forward on a secured rope or scale a ladder while your virtual headset provides the sense of an environment. The only difficult part of the game is ensuring that you meet up with the annoyingly specific point on which you must stand.

Hardware Score: 3/5

You will need at least 8GB of RAM with a next to new-on-the-market graphics card along with 11GB of space. In addition to this, you will need the HTC Vive Headset for this game and at least an Intel i5-4590 or higher.

Fitness Score 2/5

Sadly, even though you are supposed to be climbing Mt. Everest and the game is made out to seem like it is an actual experience of being a climbing simulator, with hours of climbing involved; it’s around forty minutes long, with twenty minutes of narrative story taking up most of it. The most that you will do with this game is exercise for about five minutes and then watch or listen to another narrative. Due to the massive size of Mt. Everest and the fact that most of the experience that comes from climbing the mountain itself comes via hiking, which takes an enormous amount of time, the developers felt that a short experience would provide the best concept. In one of the sections of the game, you are even told that most of the experience is spent inside of a tent due to snowstorms and harsh weather.

In the shortest of explanations, the developers made the game incredibly short to keep players immersed in the Everest VR world while removing enormous chunks of time that would be directly related to hiking. Therefore, the game is more about experiencing Mt. Everest and its historical roots, rather than climbing it like a real climber.

Gameplay 3/5

The game was awarded Best VR Experience for CES 2016 primarily because of the visual graphics and deep experience the game provides. Even though the game is short, you quickly learn what happens when something isn’t done exactly right as an avalanche may fall of the side of the section you are climbing as a direct result of your actions. You do get to use the unique tools of climbers and you do get to plant your virtual flag on top of virtual Mt. Everest at the end of the game, providing a feeling of accomplishment. While the concept is certainly new and not fully fleshed out, it does provide us with a brief glimpse of what it would feel like to be fully immersed into a real-world scenario. In the coming years, there will be another game, The Climb, which will give us that fully immerse feel of climbing across a terrain in a much different environment. Until then, we have the complexities and experience derived from the first virtual mountain climbing experience; Everest VR.

Final Score: 3.2

While we liked the game, and it had a lot of cool things to see and implement into a workout, we didn’t feel it had everything we wanted. Also, dropping the name Everest into a game experience and making it this short and this easy, was a letdown for us. Try it, but don’t worry about needing a Sherpa—it’s a little too easy.

-Tommy Mertell

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