Ubisoft’s Steep is the world’s most extreme snow sports simulator


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SNOW sports are not the first thing which comes to mind when most people think of “Australian outdoor pursuits”.

Sure, there’s decent skiing to be had in this otherwise mostly sunburnt country of ours, but realistically, if you want to go skiing the chances are pretty good you’re getting on a plane with your passport and possibly heading via the duty free shop on the way back.

Alternatively, you could install and play Ubisoft’s new game, Steep.

Released on PlayStation 4, PC and Xbox One, Steep is an extreme snow sports simulator, giving you the chance to don some skis, slide onto a snowboard, soar about in a paraglider, or fling yourself off a suitably high space in a wingsuit.

Set in the Alps in Europe, the game has different modes and is about providing a multiplayer extreme sports experience.

Whether you want to pull off sweet acrobatics while ramping a crevasse, expertly fly a wingsuit through high-tension powerline pylons or see how spectacularly you can stack it during an attempted stunt, Steep is happy to oblige.

It looks impressive and the alpine playground at your disposal certainly offers plenty of potential for extreme sports doing either alone or with other players, but at the same time, Steep didn’t grab me and suck me in either.

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There’s not a lot to the game beyond “do extreme snow sports”, and it almost felt to me like it was made up of side-missions from pretty much any open world sandbox action game, with the dodging or flying through obstacles, earning points from stunts or trying to beat high scores from yourself or other players.

I had always figured that if I was throwing myself off a snow-covered mountain ledge and soaring away on a wingsuit, it would be while dual wielding MP5K submachine guns against a force of robot-ninja as a Soviet research facility exploded in the background — in other words, playing something like Just Cause 3 or Saints Row IV or Grand Theft Auto V.

While Steep isn’t going to set the gaming world on fire, it’s diverting enough for its intended market, and succeeds in doing in what it set out to do — namely provide a challenging extreme sports game.

Being free of free of murder, explosions, swearing, military-grade weapons, nudity and anything else you wouldn’t want your extremely conservative aunt seeing, Steep is inoffensive, and it also gives players the chance to try some exciting things they’d never do in real life. In fact, the loading screen has a very prominent “Please do not try any of this stuff for real” disclaimer.

You have the ability to record your adventures as well, and the game really shines in its first person mode (ostensibly as recorded by your helmet GoPro camera) — the mode does an outstanding job of making you really feel like you’re hurtling down the alps on skis at ludicrous speed.

Steep 2

There’s no real penalties for failure in Steep — slamming into a tree or a mountainside at dozens of times the force of gravity renders your avatar unconscious — and frequently not even that — as opposed to spectacularly and splatter-tactically dead.

Your offsider provides advice and words of encouragement over the radio, but his praise for what an awesome job you’ve done and how amazing it looked and how great everyone thinks you are seems absurd at times — especially when your run hasn’t involved anything notably impressive, death-defying or extreme.

The main issue is if you’re a serious gamer, you’ve probably done all the stuff in Steep somewhere else. Fortunately, not every game needs to cater to people who think a tea bag is a victory move instead of a beverage component, and for those less hardcore gamers Steep may well be right up their valley.

Considering we’re right in the middle of an Australian summer, the winter setting is a pleasant change of scenery. It’s clear the folks who made the game were passionate about the project and they’ve certainly created a varied and detailed winter wonderland for players to explore and make the most of — even if some of the product placement seems a bit conspicuous at times.

If sports games aren’t your thing or you like your open world games to involve more mayhem, it’s probably best to ski past this one.

However, if you like the idea of virtual snowboarding, skiing, paragliding or wingsuit flying then you’ll certainly find some reasons to don your virtual snow gear and take to Steep’s digital slopes.

Online Source:News.com.au

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