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Hands on with Back to Dinosaur Island 2 on the Oculus Rift

Climb a spectacular cliff while dodging dinosaurs in this vertigo-inducing demo for the DK2.

When last year’s Back to Dinosaur Island was released for the Oculus Rift it terrifying children worldwide while impressing everyone else with its graphical prowess and attention to detail. Now the developers at Crytek are back with a semi-sequel that takes players up a vertical cliff face before enjoying a spectacular view.

Released for free on Steam just a few days ago, Back to Dinosaur Island Part 2 uses assets from the developers upcoming The Climb game, then adds a variety of dinosaurs to spice things up. It’s a short experience (roughly five-minutes in length), but takes full advantage of the Oculus Rift DK2 headset to bring the game to life.

After loading the demo you’ll find yourself within a holographic room with instructions ahead that explain the game’s controls. Once you’re ready to go the game places you mid-way up an impossibly high cliff, with just two floating hands and a set of zip-wire cables to grab hold of. Cleverly, each hand is assigned to a left and right controller trigger button, so you can grab and let go of the handles to navigate your way around the cliff-face. You’re only pulled upwards when both hands are on the handle, so it’s possible to pause your progress at any time for a good look at the environment around you.

Expect to get startled by dinosaurs and dodge falling debris as you make your way up the cliff. It’s possible to lean left and right to avoid rocks, while looking straight down gives you a great sense of vertigo. However, looking upwards for long periods of time might possiblyneck strain, so if you’re planning to re-play the game (and it’s worth it – there are two ways to navigate the cliff), then take a moment between sessions to rest your neck.

As you’ve presumably spotted from the screens and video on this page, Back to Dinosaur Island Part 2 is a stunning experience. Textures are rich, lighting is vivid while dinosaur animations are incredibly polished, with a nice sense of weight and gracefulness to each creature. There’s also some really nice detailing in the background, including massive waterfalls, jungles and distant dinos. Audio too is well implemented, with a sci-fi but reassuring AI voice, terrifying screeches from the dinosaurs and subtle music. The entire presentation is top-tier, which bodes well for The Climb on its eventual release for the Rift.

Performance, however, could be better. The opening scene is slightly juddery on our test PC (Core i7, NVIDIA 970 GTX and 8GB RAM), which leads to a disappointing first impression, but thankfully it clears not long afterwards, leading to a smooth and VR-friendly experience.

This is an incredibly polished experience, which is perhaps unsurprising given it’s from one of the biggest games studio around. It’s comfortable in VR, with a spot-on sense of scale, features beautiful graphics and is an evocative experience. It’s only let down by a vague ending and jerky opening framerate. Anyone with an Oculus Rift DK2 owes it to themselves to check out this brief but amazing experience.

Download Back to Dinosaur Island Part 2 Demo