Steep is something entirely new for this generation, a winter sports game! It’s been a pretty quiet genre since SSX and Amped hung up their snowboards but Ubisoft Annecy have brought the genre back, throwing in skiing, paragliding and wingsuiting to the mix. So, with little to compare it to these days, is Steep fun? Will it keep you coming back for one more ride or will it leave you ice cold? Let’s find out.
Before we begin, let’s get the bad part out of the way. Steep has virtually no story, do not go into this game expecting to have it hold your hand along the way. Steep is a bit of a jolt to the system in the way it gives the player freedom – go wherever you like, ride however you want and do whatever you want. It’s refreshing in an age of 2016 hand holding (see Uncharted and most FPS single-player campaigns this year), and means that if there’s something you want to do, the game isn’t with-holding it’s content from you. Steep’s progression system is also non-existent. Your standard equipment is no worse than what you’d get later on in the game, you can’t get faster, you can’t turn sharper – you have to rely on your own skill.
The freedom the game offers makes this game quite difficult to review. If you’re driven to best every single time, beat your friends and get to the top of the leaderboard then you will absolutely love Steep. If you want to see everything in the right order and need a goal to work towards in a game well then, you’ll have seen everything Steep has to offer in about 30 minutes. That freedom means that apart from a few Mountain Challenges, you could go to the top of the highest mountain and use all your forms of transport and really have the most fun you can have in the game in a very short time.
Now back onto the good stuff, Steep is stone-cold beautiful. Playing it on the PS4 Pro and hurtling down the mountain with a beautiful sunset in the distance, it feels special. The engine is rock solid, there’s little screen tearing. The best thing about Steep’s game engine has to be it’s restart system – there is no delay, no reloading (no matter how far you go) and it makes the game incredibly addicting. Compare this with Mirror’s Edge Catalyst earlier this year and it’s a revelation and it easily turns those quick gaming sessions into an all-nighter.
Steep’s controls are also a big highlight. Responsive but deep, they’re a joy to use. Tricks are done with the shoulder buttons, jumps with R2/LT and you can combine it with some great spins to really rack up the points. Shredding down the mountain is fun, the controls are tight and responsive letting you get on with hurtling down the mountain and appreciating the sights. However, one downside is ‘g-force’ – Steep is a bit too realistic sometimes and if you’re going down a particularly… steep (couldn’t resist) slope, then landing any tricks is quite hard as you’ll wipeout easily.
Fun is a very subjective thing in this game. If you like the SSX style mad tricks and slopes then you will be sorely disappointed with this game. If you’re looking for something deeper, where your challenge is to get better at the game and beat other players then it’ll be incredibly addicting for you. Steep is a very solid launch for Ubisoft (who aren’t known for sports games) in an empty market. I commend them for it! Here’s hoping that Steep 2 has a bit more story and a bit more fun. Then it’d be one of the sports games of this generation.
If you’re looking for a game to tide you over the break, then Steep is worth a shot!