E3 2016: Steep (Hands-on)

by: Matt -
More On: E3 2016 Steep

I've had a very serious SSX itch that's needed scratching after the series reboot in 2012. I loved that game, but after a few rounds of it, I wanted something to expand upon. It looks like Ubisoft has that covered with Steep, a winter sports game that goes beyond the norm of skiing and snowboarding. In addition to those two you've also got wingsuits and paragliding, coupled with multiple mountains in the Alps, and you've got a recipe for success, provided they clean this game up a bit.

Steep has a nebulous 'Winter' release date which will hopefully give them time to refine their game. Unfortunately the demo I played and was shown had some bugs to it, but what the devs are trying to accomplish is quite impressive in scope. You can warp to pretty much any point of the map and let that serve as a jumping off point for a ride, and you can also rewind your run to specific points so that you can set up challenges, create replays, or just get a nice looking screenshot.

The control scheme took a little getting used to, with the jump and trick buttons being mapped to the right trigger. Jumping is also something that is handled differently, where you're graded on jumps based on when you press the jump button. Time it right and you'll get more air, same goes for initiating spins and flips. This definitely gives the game more of a simulation feel, but with the amount of air and speed you can get, there's a slight disconnect from reality. 

Wingsuits and paragliding are great ways to see a lot of the mountain quickly. Or you can participate in the numerous events and challenges that are littered throughout the mountains, these include races, score challenges, and general exploration. Paragliding requires you to maintain close proximity to the mountain so you can catch updrafts to move about the mountain and can help you reach some very out of the way places. 

Steep has some development time left behind it, and an alpha phase coming soon. Hopefully they'll be able to get some good player feedback from the event and refine the gameplay further before the eventual release. There's a good base here, it just needs some clean-up on some of the visuals, and hopefully a better explanation of the controls. I'm excited though, hopefully this means I can get back on a mountain soon since I'm woefully inadequate at the real thing.