It’s time to slide down the mountain again in Ubisoft’s new IP Steep. Steep is not a game like SSX, but more like a real snowboard, ski, skydiving and paragliding simulator. Steep lets you tear across the Alps in various challenges, races, but is also beautiful to simply discover. Going on foot through the mountains, enjoying your footsteps in the snow, the winter sports feeling in your living room. However, the question remains, can this new IP from Ubisoft really provide that winter sports feeling and in the extreme case, can this extreme sports game make you stay home from winter sports?
Driving through the snow, who doesn’t like it? In any case, I think winter sports are great and I had never been to the Alps myself. That’s why Steep was the ultimate way for me to experience winter sports on the Alps. Steep mainly consists of exploring the mountains, doing challenges and driving down the mountain with all your friends. Steep is therefore, like a few other games, an always-online game. As a result, you cannot play Steep if you are without internet or if Ziggo/KPN lets you down for a weekend. Which is a shame, but understandable, because Steep’s ultimate experience comes into its own with friends.
What does the game look like?
The game looks beautiful. That’s something Ubisoft does great. Soon you think that all slopes will look the same, because how much different can you do with a plain full of snow? Still, Steep hits the nail on the head. The different slopes all remain different, look beautiful and offer enough variety in design to keep saying, wow. The bigger and higher pistes are also dizzying as the higher pistes are dotted with soaring peaks and sharp rocks that will keep you on the edge of your seat. In addition, the mountain villages look nice and it is definitely worth exploring the slopes on foot. Yes, it will take much longer, but it will make you appreciate the world of Steep and its graphics more and more.
In short, the storyline is vague. The goal is to unlock multiple mountains within the alps and when you do either an old man or a woman talks to you. In the game it is also announced that the mountain talks to you and that is quite strange. The game is completely focused on realism and then having a mountain talk to you about old events or about the freedoms during mountain descent is a bit strange.
In Steep, you are a budding athlete who is making a name for himself in the extreme sports scene. So it’s about getting better and better on the slopes and winning and winning more events. Still, this concept remains a bit vague. It’s all about getting bigger and bigger, but is it really just winning a few events on the slopes? Where are the top athletes? Where are the big events like the World Cup? The story sometimes seems a bit thin, while the game is very strong in its realism.
But Sven, how does the game play?
I’m in two minds about the question above. The game plays realistically and not like SSX, which is a nice breath of fresh air. Still, in my opinion, some strange choices were made with Steep. The good thing about Steep is that the snowboarding and skiing really feels like snowboarding and skiing. The snowboarding doesn’t feel like you’re stuck to the ground, but it really feels like any movement could be fatal in that extreme section of an immensely high slope. The paragliding and skydiving also feel refreshing. Few games have these two extreme sports in their games and that’s why it feels like I’m really doing something new. The challenges that come with it are less exciting than the snowboard and ski challenges, but I still often had to redo a challenge with the flying elements that caused a lot of adrenaline.
Still, Steep misses a few things in my eyes. There are many mountain villages on the slopes, where you can jump over, but also land on. The strange thing is that there is no possibility to grind on these surfaces. That’s why I think it’s a strange choice that Ubisoft has not implemented this within the game. The trucks that you can also do within the game are not spectacular, which is a pity, but understandable, because Ubisoft wanted to take a realistic approach. Still, I miss a bit of a wider range of trucks, because I definitely think there could have been more.
The map of the world is also not user-friendly. The challenges are indicated as small dots that are difficult to see in the world. You really have to zoom in on a certain area and zoom in further and zoom in further to get more information about a particular event. In addition, gliding over the map with the cursor is also not too smooth and hopefully a patch can make the map a bit more user-friendly for all fans.
In addition to playing alone, it is also possible to tear off the mountains with several people and according to Ubisoft that is also the most fun way to play. It is indeed true that tearing down the mountain together is very pleasant, you can discover the slopes together and that is definitely one of the charms of the game. However, where Ubisoft misses the mark is that you cannot do races and challenges directly against each other. You can indeed all start a challenge, but then you don’t play against each other directly, only against each other’s times. In the end, it’s about setting the best possible time/score for a certain challenge. It is therefore strange that the game must always be online, because it could have been played offline as well. In fact, Steep is played by very few of my friends, so I’m often traveling with strangers who either don’t have a mic or are terribly annoying, which is more annoying than fun.
Just like The Crew, the game has a certain progression system. The higher your level is, the more slopes you can unlock. In addition, the story naturally plays that you are a novice extreme athlete and that you are therefore allowed to enter more and more slopes. Yet it makes no difference whether you are a level 1 snowboarder or a level 20. You keep doing the same trick, you don’t get any new tricks or boosts, the only thing is that you can change your character slightly. That’s why the progression system feels a bit empty and, at least for me, the levels don’t matter much. Someone of level 1 can also be so good that he beats someone of level 20.
Steep is a game with a lot of ambition. Steep did create a game that focuses on realism that has to do with winter sports and extreme sports. Still, Steep has an ambition that he can’t quite fulfill. For example, you can’t grind with your skis or snowboard, the progression system is a bit weak and the storyline is definitely not Hollywood worthy. However, where the game does well is where the game should also do well. The challenges are fun, even if they can get a bit boring and the sports really feel like that sport. There is no arcade gameplay that allows you to save yourself by doing an impossible trick at the last minute. No, Steep is purely about the skills you need to be able to descend the slopes as safely, but also as quickly as possible.
Steep is a game that makes me warm to the winter sports feeling, but can absolutely not replace it. Despite that, I had a great time in the Alps and I’m very excited to continue snowboarding there with Steep.