When Ubisoft showed Steep at E3 back in June I was rather surprised, I was not expecting them to show an extreme sports game, to be honest I was expecting them to announce a new Splinter Cell, so I thought, ok it will be interesting to see there take on this type of game. So here we are about six months later, and the open beta has arrived, with the release date of December 2nd fast approaching.
The game is set in the Alps, and there are a number of different things to do in the game, snowboarding, skiing, wing suit, and paragliding, it’s also easy to switch between sports at any time, when not running an actual event. While doing these activities you can compete in challenges, and perform stunts trying to beat other players scores, and times, or explore the map discovering new locations, there’s an open world aspect to it. As you progress you level up giving you access to new areas, and equipment.
The first thing I noticed after launching Steep is some frame rate issues at the title screen, ok not a big deal it is a beta after all. The next thing I noticed is this game looks great, and also sound great. I was immediately reminded of the first time I played Forza Horizon 3, and how good it looks, I would love to see Steep rendered in 4K. The blowing snow effects look really good, and there’s also some lens flare effects but it’s not over used. The audio is really great also, you can hear the snow crunch under your feet, the wind blowing, and the noise your equipment makes as you’re moving around, everything just sounds right.
So as with most games there’s a tutorial at the beginning that attempts to show you the basics of the game, but I have to say that this one falls a little short, at certain points I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to get to some places on the map, of course it’s a beta so that may change, but a slightly more robust tutorial wouldn’t hurt. As far as the controls, they felt a little off, using the right trigger to jump seemed a little odd to me, and took some getting used too. There were also times when I was going down hill in free roam, and wanted to stop to look around with the in game binoculars to find new points of interest, and found it difficult to come to a complete stop. Another thing that bothered me was the camera, I found myself wanting to move the camera to get a better view of things while going down the mountain playing events, or exploring but that wasn’t an option.
There are seven different areas in the beta, along with nine story missions, if you complete everything in the beta that will unlock special equipment for use in the full version of the game.
After playing the beta for a couple of hours I was bored. With the online being such a big part of the game I was expecting to see other players in the game world, I’m guessing there weren’t many people logged in when I was, which would explain the lack of other players. It would be cool if the game had a drivatar system like that in the Forza games, if this continues after release it could be a big problem. I was alone on the mountain most of the time, it would have been nice to at least have seen some random npc’s at the small villages you come across when playing.
From a technical stand point the game seemed pretty solid for a beta, particularly given it’s a Ubisoft title. I didn’t run into any issues as far as bugs or that type of thing goes, and the frame rate stayed consistent, when playing.
I guess my biggest problem there’s not enough to hold my attention, but I’m not going to judge the game based on the beta, due to the fact we are only seeing part of what the final product will be, and the game is not that populated with other players yet. The core of the game is fine, and I’m just hoping that there’s more to it when the final version is released, and the developers work out the issues with the controls. This beta didn’t sell me on the game like the Destiny beta did, but it also didn’t turn me off on it either. There’s a lot of potential, and I’m hoping the developers have enough time to make a few changes before release. It will be interesting to see the review scores when it releases next month, since it’s not the usual type of game Ubisoft is known for.
What did you think of the beta? Let us know in the comments.