Steep Preview: Snow Jobs, Snow Problems
Greg Johnson / Jun 15th, 2016 No Comments
There were a lot of new games announced at E3 2016, but none of the titles were more unexpected than Steep, Ubisoft’s extreme sports game set high in the Alps. Steep seamlessly blends the freedom and exploration of an open-world game with a community-driven experience that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
We got a chance to play Steep on the E3 show floor, and we were impressed with what we saw.
Locations, Locations, Locations
From what I was able to play, Steep is huge. Imagine the mountains of Skyrim are your snowboarding and hang-gliding playgrounds. However, moving around this large world is simple and expedient. Tapping a button will quickly get you to another challenge or you can scroll through a map to find a good starting point.
For this demo, developers showed me how I could access challenges of varying difficult and how to drop in at a random place on the map. Of course, I chose the top of a mountain, and what followed was a hellride of sheer adrenaline.
Environments are incredibly well-rendered and players move through them in a natural way, except when crashes occur. Bailing out doesn’t trigger full rag-doll physics, but it isn’t exactly realistic either. The fun crash physics and costumes add an element of light-heartedness to the game.
Another great detail is how the world feels alive. Lodges and buildings litter the area where appropriate, and finding other players to compete against is easy.
How to Snow
Steep features several extreme sports that take place on mountains, including snowboarding, skiing and wingsuit diving (aka “squirreling”). The demo started off with a relatively easy snowboarding section in which players are asked to perform tricks that progressively became more difficult.
We then moved on to wingsuit diving, which began with some basic jumps before leading into a challenge courts that had us attempting to fly through power lines. It was exhilarating to try these seemingly real-world stunts without putting our own lives in any danger.
Although each challenge is increasingly more difficult, switching between sports doesn’t require too much adjusting. Shifting between these gameplay modes is relatively easy, which is important for a game that includes so many different forms of gameplay.
Players can access a gear wheel at the touch of a button to quickly cycle through gear for each challenge.
One of the most thrilling parts of the game is that it can be played in either third or first person. The first-person “GoPro” view offers new levels of immersion, while the third-person may give players a little more perception of where they are.
Not Too Steep
Steep is a fun game because it isn’t too complicated. All the game asks is for you to pull off some sick tricks with your friends. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the development team remembered to also include smooth gameplay, hyper-realistic visuals and enough content to keep winter sports enthusiasts gaming for hours.
Steep is set to release this December on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. Those who can’t wait for launch to get their hands on Steep can apply to participate in the beta here.
tags: e3 , E3 2016 , preview , Steep , Steep Preview , ubisoft