There is a shortage of good winter sports games in the world. If you want to ski or snowboard down a snowy mountain, you would have to load up a classic SSX game or something close to it. Steep is the game that all fans of the genre have been waiting for. It’s a fantastic take on an open world mechanic, and its extreme sports, left us on the edge of our seats. The simple control system, and great activities scattered around the world, brought back memories of the classics like Street Skater. Yes, we know its a different sport, but we have not had a casual sports game as fun as Steep in a long time.
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4
Reviewed On: PS4
Developer: Ubisoft Annecy
Distributor: Megarom Interactive
Release Date: 2 December 2016
When thinking about a snowy mountain, not much can really be done to provide enough diversity in its visuals and landmarks to bring to life, but Ubisoft have managed to do so in a beautiful way. Steep is the most versatile sports game we have ever played. The ability to play any way you want to play, is the game’s biggest feature and this mechanic is realised in the world around you. Snowboarding, skiing, paragliding, and using our wingsuit to complete all the activities throughout the world, was our favourite part of the game. Each new challenge we were faced with had a unique way of tackling it, although snowboarding and skiing can be shared across the courses. Each course we tackled had a set goal, be it time, when it came to paragliding, or getting the most points by performing tricks while skiing down the slopes of an abandoned ski resort. Jumping off tables and flipping around in the air, doing hand grabs, and hopefully landing on our board, was frustrating at first, but after a few hours of playing, we became masters of each sport.
The versatility of each sport compliments each play style, and we thought we would never paraglide, but we reached a stage where we could not wait for the next paragliding activity to unlock. The game works on an XP system, where the more you play, and the better you play, the more points you will earn and the more activities will be unlocked. Sure you could just focus on one of the sports, and only partake in those specific challenges, but you will have a hard time unlocking new events and progressing further into the game. It is best to be versatile that is all we are saying, and trust us when we say that every sport does grow on you, regardless of how boring you think it might be at the start. Also, each event gives you XP, and you want that to level up, and unlock new events. You are also rewarded with cool cosmetic items when completing each event.
Every time we completed a challenge and unlocked new cool items like skins for our parachutes, new jackets for our player, and boards to race with, we could not wait to pop into the menu and equip them. The only thing is that there are no benefits to any of these items at all. No handling benefit from a new board, or speed boost from a new parachute. It kind of left us relying on skill and skill only for racing and completing events. It does make sense though, as the gameplay then relies on player skill only, so it creates an equal balance in the game between players. It also lets you focus on building your skill, and there are plenty of things to do in order to get that done.
Every new event we undertook, was fun and exciting. We did not feel that it was the same copy-and-paste nonsense we just finished, and we loved every moment of it. There was also a wave of excitement that hit us while skiing down the hills, or even jumping off a hot air balloon and gliding through power cables to get to the end in time. The entire game was an exhilarating ride. The world also looked stunning, with high res textures filling the mountains, and great weather effects and lighting. As we slid down the slopes, the trailer behind us was clear and deformed accurately, and as we walked through the snow, we were fascinated by the sounds our shoes made in the snow, and how the marks were left behind. The open world is also massive, and even after hours of playing, we barely touched ends in it. There was also enough versatility around the world to make it feel different each time we fast travelled there.
Steep, in general, is a fun game to pick up and play, as each sport felt easy enough to master. Controls are simple, although it took a while for us to master the perfect jump, scooting around the lands felt casual enough to not feel like a simulator. The races are accompanied by a great soundtrack, as well as a great replay system that makes use of a GoPro to film the entire event. You can then go in and watch all your awesome moves you did, and all those times you went flying into a tree. The lack of a story mode, means that the game would have had to have a great deal of content to keep us side-tracked, and it is so.
When it comes the multiplayer, it is seamless as well as social. You will see players around your Alps, and you can join up with them to compete with other players online, or just challenge them to a score attack that goes against the global leaderboards. You can also upload your GoPro recorded video clips for everyone to gawk over, and watch others play too.
Steep is lots of fun, and we will go back and tidy up those events we go bronze in, to try and better ourselves. The game is a casual sports game, of which has some exhilarating races and events to participate in. It brought back those memories of the classic PS2 games that were less focused on the unnecessary details of a sport, and more on the action gameplay. Steep is pretty cool, as in great, not frozen. It is frozen, but you get the point.