Steep Beta Impressions: Winter Wonderland
Greg Johnson / Nov 16th, 2016 No Comments
Steep is about a month out from release, and to gear up for launch, Ubisoft recently held an open beta for the game.
Related: Steep Preview from E3 2016
I was able to participate in the beta on PlayStation 4, and it featured much more than I got a chance to play at E3 2016. In fact, most of the game’s mountain setting was readily available to explore.
Set in the Alps, Steep features several extreme sports — snowboarding, skiing, hang-gliding and wing suit diving. Each of these sports are introduced through a series of tutorial challenges.
This game isn’t really about anything other than experiencing the thrill of winter extreme sports in an exotic setting. That’s why Steep gives players a lot of control over their experiences within the game.
For instance, during the tutorial challenges, I was asked to choose whether I wanted to race down a mountain on a snowboard or skiis. After completing the opening tasks, I was left to explore the mountains however I wanted. I could take on pre-made challenges or try my hand at custom challenges made by myself or other players.
Conquering the Mountain
Players can explore the game’s mountain freely, but the object of Steep is take on challenges set at various points on the map. Developers created many challenges that players can take on, but there is an unlimited amount of content as users can create their own challenges for all to play.
I tried my hand at creating my own challenge, but they didn’t turn out so well. With a deeper understanding of what works and doesn’t work in Steep, there is ample room to improve in creating challenges.
The thing that surprised me most about Steep is that there is a minor story told through some of the game’s challenges. For example, a snowboarding challenge had me following the spirit of the mountain as it told me of the sense of adventure it hoped the mountain provided. It isn’t a complex, cohesive plot, but it helps give context to challenges and immerses players further into its setting.
There is a sense of freedom within Steep that I’d imagine many actual snowboarders, skiers and divers experience. Nearly any spot on the mountain can be reached.
Binoculars allow players to find new areas on the map, which they can then be transported to from the game’s menu. After finding a new area through the binoculars (a sound effect will let you know when you have done this), that area will be unlocked and players can begin exploring it within seconds.
Then, you can easily choose which sports gear you want to strap on and really begin exploring the mountain.
Slightly Dirty Powder
There is some work that needs to be done before Steep is released. The controls feel a bit off. I often found myself spinning in circles just attempting to look in a new direction following a complete stop.
This mostly goes away when tackling challenges. I completed stunts with relative ease. It feels like the game wants to encourage players to feel the rush of extreme sports without having to pull off the technical dexterity required to be an athlete.
The sense of adventure is further explored in multiplayer. I encountered other players randomly attempting the same challenges as me or just passing by on the way to a different event. Sadly, there’s no ability to interact with one another. We were not excited strangers reveling in a shared experience, we might as well have been NPCs to each other.
Hopefully the final version of the game will clean up some of its control issues and focus a greater emphasis on multiplayer-filled open world. Still, Steep is shaping up to be a fun title where players can live out their extreme sports fantasies.
Steep will be available for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC on Dec. 2.
tags: Extreme Sports , preview , Steep , Steep Open Beta , Steep Preview