This video game is unlikely. The genre was believed to be dead and buried since Electronic Arts’ SSX. Extreme sport is no longer very popular in gaming. It was without counting on the poker move of the studio of Annecy of Ubisoft. Steep is an extreme sports game that renews the genre, in an open world. With part of the Alps as a playground. And with the essential snowboarding, skiing, wingsuiting and paragliding on the program.
At the origin of the title, the Annecy team which celebrated its 20th anniversary last September when the parent company celebrated its 30th anniversary. These 165 employees whipped on the full development of this triple A. A first for a team that had previously participated in games such as Splinter Cell, Assassin’s Creed or Tom Clancy’s The Division, in particular on their online multiplayer aspects.
But if the new title of the French publisher brings the genre up to date, it contrasts with the franchise of its very arcade American competitor for once. What strikes you at first sight is this concentration of mountain in open world, reproduced as faithfully as possible. The studio declares that it took two years to model these pieces of the Alps: Mont-Blanc, The Matterhorn, the Aiguilles, the Aravis massif… Beyond the drop zones or drop-off points offered by the game, a total of around 100, the player can go wherever he wants to find a sliding or jumping spot at his convenience.
A real breath of fresh air
There is also the particular sound of powder snow that you walk on and which greatly contributes to the simulator effect, to make the game as authentic as possible. About 2,000 sounds come from on-site recordings. Finally, there is this very special light which changes according to the day and which promotes this feeling of immersion. Too bad that some textures are not necessarily there.
As for the springs of the game, they are quite simple, and this is its main flaw. The player aims to become an ace of action sports by achieving as many challenges as possible. For this, he has missions and objectives to fulfill. Some come from exploration, others from free rides or competitions. A total of six different styles of play, each offering challenges that can be investigated without a real sense of progression in the game. The player masters all the jumping techniques from the start and will not unlock others. It will nevertheless be necessary to repeat it several times to achieve its ends in certain challenges. But what is undoubtedly its main strength is that we find ourselves making descents without any apparent goal, just for the pleasure of skiing.
The community dimension is still essential here via multiplayer but also the replay function which allows you to film and share your best rides.
Steep is undoubtedly a real breath of fresh air at the end of the year, and that feels good. Especially against Titanfall 2 (EA), Call of Duty Infinite Warfare (Activision), and other Battlefield (EA). Lovers of the mountains and skiing will undoubtedly be charmed by a title that goes off the beaten track. However, they will regret the too repetitive aspect of the gameplay. Moreover, this has not escaped criticism. His average score of 72 on Metacritic is pretty harsh, and hardly promises any record sales.