The Alps, one of the greatest mountain ranges in Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east, all the way to Italy, Switzerland, Germany and France in the west. This mountain was created over millions of years, as the African and Eurasian tectonic plates collided. Thanks to the altitude and range of these mammoth mountains, it controls the climate over Europe. Even though these mountains are hostile environments there is plenty of wildlife from the Ibex (wild Goats) to bears, wolves, grouse, the great golden eagle and the much-loved marmot (ah how sweet).
But wildlife is not the only things that have traversed these mammoth mountains, man has as well, to garner the extreme, extreme sports, from snowboarding, skiing to paragliding to base jumpers, as humans push their bodies to the extreme for the ultimate thrill.
Welcome to a game, that brings the extreme to your chair, in the safety of your home, welcome STEEP.
Aeronautical feet’s of strength, Gliding through the mist, following wind tunnels, looking for the beauty that surrounds you, or riding the snow as you glide, jump, dazzle, dodge, speed, pull off the greatest tricks ever performed, sound good right, well for me it was more like, Slam, Whack, Ouch, Shit, Bollocks, that’s another bone broken, oh NOOO fence, whack, yep you guessed it, I was total shit when I first started playing the game.
The Tab button was my best friend as I fine-tuned my skills on each course till I got the gold medal and the elusive prizes, all cosmetic, but god damn I look good with some new gear. Gear is not the main reason why you are on the rugged slopes of the Alps, no, your goal is to the best, to get recognised by leading advertisement firms like Redbull or GoPro, just to name a few. Being the best or simply getting gold, opens more courses, more special events and more, how do you fancy base jumping from an air balloon? Or sacking the sickest most challenging roller coasting ride of your life, level your skill and all these will open for you to challenge.
There are a total of 7 regions currently within steep and for you to get around you can either hit the slopes via snowboarding, skiing, wing suiting, and paragliding , to define yourself your approach aka style you can choose 6 different techniques: like me Bone Collector, Pro Rider, Freestyler, Freerider, Extreme Rider and Explorer. I found myself becoming progressively good at Bone Collecting, but as I got better I also saw I was getting better in many of the other styles, so in a way you have free reign to choose the style, but in the end, you might simply be good at them all.
“Play anywhere you’d like, variety is king”
The nature of STEEP is primarily a sandbox game, but is it? in a form it is, you can traverse the whole mountain range as you see fit, but the introduction of challenges takes away the sandbox approach as you are assigned the sport, assigned the course, and away you go, your choices in the sandbox environment is gone.
Challenges do push you from the easy to the extreme, via time trials to score attacks, just to name a few, and you will be doing these over and over again to better your time and scores.
The challenges can be bloody hard as hell, or easy, and the physics engine is somewhat, hit and miss, sometimes the physics can be rather arcadey and over the top other times it can feel very real, it is a fine line, I found base jumping to paragliding to feel more real over skiing and snowboarding.
Trying to perform a stunt becomes a little hit ‘n’ miss majority of the time, sometimes I felt “I can do it”, without cracking some bones or affecting my score, this is where the Tab button is your best friend, reset and try again.
Performing stunts is no easy task
Going back to performing stunts, skiing or snowboarding is a right pain in the fecking butt, you have to get ready for a jump really, really early, this can waste time and your chances of performing an extreme stunt, for example, you see a chance of a jump ahead of you, you only have, mere seconds to align up, you think, you have perfect alignment, you get ready to jump, thinking you got the jump mechanics bang on the buck for an extreme, awesome stunt, but all that happens if AHHHHHHHHHHH fall off the edge and hit the floor. You did the jump action too soon or too late, it’s a precise system which needs to be changed to give us more freedom.
When you do pull off a stunt, god damn does it feel good, rewarding, and watching yourself back is, even more, fun, thanks to the use of drones, yep drones, drones are the machines that capture your every stunt, fall, f*ck up, total ownage of the slopes, and it’s the drone that gets the last laugh.
Pulling off stunts is the hardest part of STEEP
I found pulling off stunts one of the hardest parts of STEEP, there is a right way, but no simple way, SSX, or Tony Hawks games were, piss easy when it came to performing stunts and gave somewhat more freedom. So on this note UBISOFT get a pen and paper and take this down, go play these games and come back to STEEP with a patch and fix this.
The most extreme sport has to be when you put on the wingsuit, shove yourself off a high cliff and kiss your arse goodbye as you hurdle at high speed directly towards the ground, then at the very last minute pull up and level off, sweep, dodge and dive through canyons and rock races, this is extreme, a hell of a ride.
Paragliding is more or less the YAWNING choice, it is slow, but if you wish to see everything around, enjoy the sites while having a slight challenge then this is for you, it’s easy most of the time, easy to get used to, just watch out for the wind, as that will affect anything you wish to do, shove you left or right or directly up, no wind or updraft and enjoy the ride down as you get ready to smack the ground, for the unlucky few like me.
Even with the slowness, or ‘I cannot perform that damn jump on that damn drop AAAAHH moments’ it’s the adrenaline moments that make STEEP so god damn good. The game impresses with the sense of speed as well as danger, even if danger can just be reset with the tab button, and try that dangerous section again. I found these to be totally engrossing and I would be trying these events over and over again, I just wanted to be better than my first, second or third attempt, it was simply fantastic, I could go as far as saying addictive.
Exploring the World around you
Back to exploring the slopes, you can explore everything by foot, or with the help of your equipment, or you can just be lazy and fast travel from one challenge to the next or get a helicopter to take you there, there is no, sort of, you must explore, if you simply do not want to, but if you decide too, you might find yourself finding new locations and sweet new rides, which you can then share with other users, set them challenges and get them to attempt to beat your highest score, pretty easy when they were mine.
What no story?
There is also no story to the game as such, just a short introduction to a new area or new challenges set by the advertisers. So its down to you and your imagination to create a story for your character and her/his adventures on the slopes.
just you have been considering to Red Bull or other challenges set by advertisers, other than that it’s totally open for you to make your own story.
Freedom? Choice? did it ruin my experience?
So STEEP talks about freedom, but takes it away through challenges, the idea of exploring is taken away by helicopter rides or fast travel and trying to perform a trick while know boarding and skiing is hit ‘n’ miss. I have to admit though until I sat down to write this review and thought about everything within the game, none of these issues mattered to me much, I loved my time in the game, pushing myself to perform better, better was all I cared about, I did not like breaking my bones, over and over again, ultimately, though, it pushed me to try again.
I never thought about exploration and how fast travel ruined it, I just went to the next event and pushed myself, wanting to garner the next level to open up more challenges or grabbing the elusive gold medal and scoring some sweet new gear. I never really watched myself back via the drone camera, this feature was never really used, and maybe when I am awesome, I will start sharing my awesomeness with the world.
Swish, swoosh, whoosh, weeee, ahh f*ck resembles how I felt in this game, then it’s the F*ck yeah I finally done it, GOLD, jumping up and down off my seat, like a child, or like my team has just won a match.
I enjoyed this game, even with its flaws, would I recommend it to my friends, yes, I would, so score? what do I think it deserves?