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boxartStrap in, suit up, and drop in

E3 2016 was full of announcements and game reveals, but one of the most surprising reveals was when Ubisoft founder, Yves Guillemot, announced a brand new IP called Steep. Available for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC—Steep is developed by Ubisoft Annecy. Known for their work on Assassin’s Creed multi-player and Tom Clancy’s The Division, this is the studios first original game.

Set in the Alps, Steep is an online open world extreme sports video game that focuses on various winter sporting challenges and has a heavy emphasis on online multi-player. Steep can be played with either a first-person or third-person view, and has amazing GoPro camera views during races.

Game Details

Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: December 2, 2016
Developer: Ubisoft Annecy
Publisher: Ubisoft
Genre: Extreme Sports
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

Extreme challenges

Steep is an open-air game that tests your skills in extreme challenges, which take place in the four corners of the Alps. Steep has four main activities that you can compete in: Skiing, Snowboarding, Wingsuit flying, and Paragliding. Each of these activities has dozens of events for you to unlock and allows you to mix and match the activities you wish to compete in to achieve your goal.

Ubisoft made is easy to instantly switch between any of the four activities by using the game’s menu wheel. Paragliding is my absolute favourite, you can reach higher ground and get a beautiful view of your surroundings. If you glide close to the mountain you can catch an updraft and gain significant altitude. Not only are their four unique ways to traverse the mountain, you can also hike up the mountain as well.

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Intuitive and fun gameplay

The four main activities that you compete in require specific button presses but Ubisoft Annecy has made sure that you don’t start out having to know fancy button combinations. Luckily, you are able to learn the gameplay mechanics gradually, which makes Steep a much more accessible for newcomers, yet deep enough to challenge fans of the genre.

With Steep, you’ll begin with basic controls during the first few tests, then slowly integrate combos to achieve impressive acrobatic special techniques. These special techniques allow you to gain extra points, which helps you in the long run make it easier to win the gold at the end of the events. Steep’s trick system allows you to unleash your creativity in the air by performing a wide range of stunts such as corks, rodeos, backflips, and the Lincoln loop.

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A variety of challenges

Steep awards you medals based on your performance, and require good overall coordination on your part to earn them. While at first glance it might seem easy to get the gold, once you encounter sheets of ice, rocks, trees or even villages, you realize you are in for a challenge. Challenges are designed for each sport, such as Big Air, Proximity Flying, or Forest Slaloms. There are even hot air balloon challenges!

No matter what you prefer, you are free to browse the menu showing the events and activate them by a quick trip or to the location on your own. Challenges are sponsored by real brands, which make the experience immersive. Mountain Stories allow you to play through epic riding quests to find out about the mountain’s secrets.

There are also hidden challenges and spots you can find by using binoculars, which add new drop zones. However, there are some instances where you can see the hidden areas with binoculars, so you have to get closer either by walking or snowboarding or skiing.

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A strikingly beautiful winter wonderland

Steep is breathtakingly gorgeous! I absolutely love how the snow always looks fresh, and the beauty of the Alps took my breath away. While the mountains may feel a bit exaggerated in size, it was only done to enhance the feeling of the beautiful panoramic views of the mountains.

From the sound of snow crunching under your feet to the birding singing to the immersive music—they all work together to make Steep’s experience dynamic. Steep also has a variety of locations like Tyrol, Aravis, Matterhorn, Mont Blanc, and the Aiguilles that you can explore.

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A community-oriented experience

Steep has been developed so that players and extreme sports enthusiasts share the same game world and engage in various sports activities simultaneously Steep’s multiplayer is integrated so well that it feels like a “live” game.

Joining other players in a group is as simple as a press of a button. That’s right, no matchmaking, and no lobbies—it’s fast and seamless with no loading times at all. Once your group is created, you can set and share your trail, and even send it to other players for a challenge. You can even spectate another member of your Group when stopped—just press down.

Steep allows you to play either cooperatively or competitively where you must beat the times of your fellow teammates. While it’s fun playing with many different people in the Steep community, I found it best when I played in a group of my friends. In a group of friends, we worked together to achieve our goals, instead of doing only what is best for ourselves. Furthermore, you can pull off some of the craziest stunts imaginable in groups—it’s a blast!

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Final thoughts

Steep is unique, as it mixes action-sports with a fully explorable open world. With the ability to participate in a world where all players share and engage in various extreme sports activities simultaneously, Steep is one awesome game. I loved the ability to change between first-person and third-person view whenever I wanted.

Quite frankly, Steep caught me by surprise and left me impressed. I had a lot of fun playing Steep, and the sense of freedom was simply amazing. The trick system is rewarding, and Steep eases you into its controls—never making you feel frustrated. If you love extreme winter sports and looking for an easy to pick up, yet challenging game, then Steep is right down your alley.

+ Massive in-game world to play in
+ Beautiful graphics
+ Plenty to do
+ Seamless co-operative multiplayer

+ Minor graphical glitches
+ Spotty collision detection problems

OVERALL

Gameplay: 4.5/5
Graphics: 4.5/5
Sound: 4/5
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5

Overall Rating 4.25/5 (85%)

Get Steep for PlayStation 4
Get Steep for Xbox One

Jon Scarr
Based in Toronto, Jon is a proud Canadian who has a serious passion for gaming. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry with over 20 years experience. Jon loves to talk about gaming and tech, come say hi and join the conversation with Jon on Twitter @4Scarrs_Gaming.