Steep flies above expectations

User Rating: 9 | Steep PS4

The exhilaration of going down a large mountain is something that never ceases to amaze in Ubisoft’s Steep.

The rush of going down on a snowboard at breakneck speeds as the camera blurs around the player character adds to the immersion of the game.

No, this isn’t a revival of snowboarding games in the same vein as SSX or 1080°, but it’s something a little different. Being a Tony Hawk: Pro Skater’s fan myself, the state of extreme sports games has had me worried.

Steep’s premise is simple. The player assumes the role as an up and coming snowboarder. With a series of events and drops, the player is tasked with proving himself to be the best.

Sure, not the most original story in a post-Tony Hawk’s Underground world, but it sets up for some of the most fun I’ve had in 2016 playing any game.

Immediately, the game has you getting a feel for the gameplay. The player has the option to switch between four different sports: snowboarding, skiing, paragliding, and wingsuit flying. It’s this freedom that separates this game from others in the genre.

Ubisoft’s latest games have obviously borrowed from each other.

The ability to transport to any part of the beautiful Alps-setting of the game also gives players freedom not seen in other games. It’s a weird combination between open-world and extreme sports, but it works.

Oh, how it works.

Unfortunately, it has its problems. Specifically, the requirement to be online, all the time.

Yes, the ability to play with others in a seamless, open world makes the game more immersive. The racing and sense of competition is something pretty cool when it works.

For those looking to play alone though, you still need to be connected. Expect a lot of frustrating issues in what should be a simple experience. The game is fun in short bursts, which means the constant online connection will be annoying. It only gets in the way.

It’s still a very fun game, but control issues tend to get in the way. Having to use the control sticks and triggers to jump and pull off tricks gets annoying at times, but does not complete rob any fun from the experience. The amount of challenges, though repetitive at times, is crazy compared to other sports games.

The best way to describe Steep is essentially an extreme sports-themed MMO. Though, the game can be played in an arcade-style way.

Similar to the THPS series, these are short bursts of video game bliss. Flipping around while riding the down a mountain has not been recreated so perfectly.

As I plan a trip to the Alps, I know this game will be waiting with a new extreme drop point.