Steep – Review
Follow Genre: Simulation, Arcade, Sandbox
Developer: Ubisoft Annecy
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platform: PC, Xbox One, PS4
Tested on: Xbox One

Steep – Review

Site Score
6.9
Good: Concept, Sandbox
Bad: Bland after a while, Slow, Too many bugs for a finished product
User Score
3.0
(4 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 3.0/10 (4 votes cast)

The days of snowboarding games seem long behind is, as they reigned supreme in the PlayStation 1 and Nintendo 64 era, simply to fade to the background, slowly falling into a very dark abyss. A while ago we took a closer look at the indie title Mad Snowboarding, which left us wanting a lot more, as the title was a subtle wink to the games of that forgotten era, but was an absolute mess. Now, Steep is one of those titles that wanted to redefine the snowboarding landscape, figuratively and also quite literally. In many ways this game is a fresh breeze in a barren landscape, but the temperature of this game doesn’t feel quite right just yet.

Steep Featured

Story

No real story is to be found in this snowy sandbox title, outside of the usual goal that’s always found in sports games. You’ll have to rise up, work on your reputation and of course become the best there is, in whatever discipline that floats your boat. You’ll quickly notice that the game offers more than snowboarding and skiing, as you’ll also be able to do some paragliding and dive off cliffs wearing a wingsuit. Other than that, it’s just a matter of making up your own chilly story as you progress through the game. Then again, while some extra story value could have been nice in this title, it works just as fine without any plot hanging behind its snowy curtain.

Graphics

From afar Steep looks simply amazing, the mountainous landscape makes you feel as if you’re actually in the Alps, with snow all around you and a welcome, yet freezing breeze, getting you all riled up to jump down a ledge with your snowboard ready and fulfill that need for speed. Nonetheless, after playing slightly longer than that initial impression, you’ll notice the game is riddled with bugs like: your left foot not making an impression in the snow most of the time, the static snow on rooftops in which you just sink, like you would do in a PlayStation 1 title, your ability to see through walls and see that every house/shack is simply completely empty, texture popping and so on.

Steep 1

Ubisoft added a fun touch to the game by adding a first-person mode, which certainly heightens the thrill you get from paragliding, using your wingsuit or simply by snowboarding down some steep slopes. Sadly, the bugs are also magnified, as you’ll often see through the terrain you’re on, experience weird and glitchy motions, and when looking at how the snow actually ‘dents’ in front of your snowboard, you can’t help but feel that this game still has many flaws on a graphical level.

Sound

Steep’s soundtrack is divided into two portions, the first being a tranquil and soothing one when you traverse from mountaintop to mountaintop, and while exercising your favorite sports outside of the available events. When starting an event, the music will shift towards more active and well-known tracks, to add some extra punch to the game, getting your adrenaline pumping.

Outside of a few tutorials and introductions of events there isn’t really any voice acting present. Of course, if you truly want more, you can keep spamming the A button in order to make your character spit out one-liners and annoying cheers.

Steep 2

Gameplay

Steep is a bit of a mix of a simulation title, with ample arcade portions and a heavy emphasis on freedom. You’ll be dropped in the Alps and from here on out you can do pretty much as you like, if you want to play events, go ahead, if you want to climb mountains, and then tumble all the way down, knock yourself out. That being said, it is advised to play through the introductory stages in order to immediately unlock more quick travel points, as it’s quite time consuming to climb mountains. If you would do so on foot, you might lose half an hour or more climbing one of the digital peaks. The latter can be extremely fun and ‘realistic’, but it might become tedious rather quick.

As we just described there are different ways to play the game but we don’t mean you’re limited to snowboarding, as the many promo clips may have suggested. You can also opt to do some good old fashioned skiing, paragliding and dive off cliffs in a nifty wingsuit. If you’d rather take it slow, you can trade in all of those fancy gadgets and decide to take a hike. All of these disciplines, except for walking, can be used in the different events the game has to offer, where it’s often a matter of reaching the finish first or accumulating the most points by doing tricks. Again there is a bit of diversity as you can either find yourself coming down a rather safe environment, with not that much clutter to avoid, or you may find yourself in the midst of an abandoned resort, avoiding the many cottages that are scattered throughout the ‘track’. Overall the developers did a fun job in spicing things up but even so, things get repetitive after a few gaming sessions.

Steep 3

All of the above is pretty much all there is to Steep, safe for unlocking more events, acquiring some cosmetic upgrades and a decent focus on multiplayer play. Nonetheless, the game also has a lot of flaws outside of the graphical instabilities. You’ll immediately notice that the controls don’t always respond as you’d like, and sometimes even feel as if they weren’t designed for the many preprogrammed tracks this game offers. Other flaws are getting stuck, which luckily can be solved by the retry option and/or the quick travel function. The latter proves to be a great tool for those who would rather play the tracks than wander around aimlessly, as it’s sometimes very tedious to climb mountains only to discover you didn’t unlock a new location and have to walk another half hour to come across something interesting. This brings us to another point, namely the world feels extremely deserted if you’re a fan of exploring. The small ‘towns’ are ghost towns and you don’t randomly come across other explorers, which is sad. You’ll only see a few extra daredevils nearby events, and that’s about it.

Conclusion

Steep is one of those games that does loads of things right, but equally as much wrong. The game proves to be amusing thanks to the free roam setting, the exploration options and of course the rapid action when coming down the slopes, or soaring through the sky. Sadly, on the other hand you’ll be treated to sometimes dodgy controls, heaps of gameplay and graphical bugs and a certain dullness as the game doesn’t really spice things up the further you progress. Nonetheless, if you’re looking to have a rather old school snowboarding experience in a next generation sandbox environment, this game might prove to be your next time sink. If the bugs prove to be too steep of an obstacle, you might be better off waiting for a truckload of patches.

steep 4

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Rating: 3.0/10 (4 votes cast)
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Steep - Review, 3.0 out of 10 based on 4 ratings

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