Now let me get this clear, I reviewed this game as a favor. In no way am I generally accustomed to sports games (except the few frustrating days my housemates tried to teach me FIFA), so I grit my teeth as I booted up Ubisoft’s newest, open world, winter wonderland ‘STEEP’.
This game lets you navigate through the snow covered Alps, skiing, snowboarding, paragliding and wind gliding your way through the countryside, unlocking lines and tracks by completing challenges aided by a wannabe younger Stan Lee voice-over guiding you along the way.
Visually STEEP is quite breathe taking on Xbox One. The snow glistens in the sun, and clouds dance around the tops of the many different mountain peaks. As you traverse the environment snow flicks up as you turn sharply, and tracks are left where ever you go. But even then there is only so much difference you can make in snow and pine trees, that soon even that was dull. Beauty can only go so far, like a girl you just met in a bar, looks can be one thing, but boy when the conversation is boring, you regret buying her that drink and just want to run to the toilet and not come back. STEEP is the same.
Sure, I suppose I could use the word fun to pass off the first few minutes of STEEP. The challenges were decent and pretty cliche. The same old chestnut, go through these checkpoints, get this many points doing tricks, beat this person in a race etc. These became very mind-numbing very quickly, with the wind gliding suit being the only real sport that induced any sense of emotion from my face, even then I got my real kicks from the game when my character would completely wipe out. I found myself more often than doing the challenges, in the style true to goat simulator looking for ways and places to just make my character bail out in the funniest way possible.
What was the draw card for STEEP was the open world to it. The mountain mode map which is a realistic model of the mountains in game was an awesome design feature and showed all the challenges and locations to discover. The game boasts open worldness, but seriously because the environment looks the same everywhere, I found once I had unlocked enough places I fast traveled everywhere anyway, defeating the purpose. I got frustrated once I did all the challenges in one area as it meant I had to haul my arse somewhere uphill to unlock more.
You can perform tricks for points while skiing and snowboarding as you explore the terrain, however these are very limited with only 1 or 2 variations, and are simple as hell to perform. I feel Ubisoft short changed themselves here, because a ‘Skate’ or 'Tony Hawk' approach would have added a more purposeful or entertaining factor to trick combos.
They do have a cool system to edit your run videos from different angles, into montages, but lets be honest there is only so many times you can watch your own character do the same two tricks over and over in slightly different locations.
Customization was creative, with many combinations, bright colours and funky designs. I found what did keep me going was getting medals for challenging and unlocking rad new gear and skins.
This game felt like it was trying to follow along the lines of Forza Horizon 3 with open world exploration and missed the mark when it comes to charisma, adrenaline and speed. Well to be frank, from an Australian who has barely seen snow, who are I to judge this game based on winter extreme sports? If you are game enough to hand cash over for this game, see for yourself, because I’d rather catch up on some SLEEP.