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Review: STEEP

IN the world of sports games, a niche corner exists to accommodate the likes of skateboarding, snowboarding, driving, cycling etc. This sub-genre reached its peak in the early 2000s, resulting in the likes of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, SSX and the original Need for Speed in the home of almost every console owner.

Since then, its popularity has dwindled, with many of the original titles receiving horribly made reboots to try re-invigorate modern gamers. Steep, a new title from Ubisoft, dares to tackle this genre from a new angle, as it attempts to inject a dose of freshness into the world of interactive extreme sports.

Let me start by stating that Steep is different, and unlike any game that has preceded it in this genre. The unique experience that Ubisoft has created leaves the player to their own devices; there is no story, no narrative to follow.

you’re given the freedom to have pure, unadulterated fun

In a massive, open-world winter landscape set in the Alps, you’re given the freedom to have pure, unadulterated fun. To encourage this, the player is granted access to an abundance of equipment (a set of skis, a snowboard, a paraglider and wingsuit) from the outset. You’ll find yourself spending ages zipping down the beautifully designed slopes of the massive mountain ranges before even tackling the game’s objectives.

As far as gameplay is concerned, the core objectives follow a series of challenges that correspond to each of the forms of snow sports. These accompany the player’s equipment; skiing and snowboarding challenges will task the player with a race of sorts against either NPCs or real players.

While gliding with your wingsuit and paraglider you’ll be challenged with travelling through set routes as fast as possible, with your end time securing you a bronze, silver or gold medal. These experiences are kept fresh by the vast variety of slopes, tracks, and ranges included, aided by dynamically changing surroundings as a result of changing weather conditions.

There’s a true suspension of disbelief created

While it might be a bit of a cliché to say Steep is a breath of fresh air, there’s no denying that it offers a new and welcome experience that has injected interest into a floundering genre. There’s a true suspension of disbelief created as you create your own challenges in skating down the side of a mountain, all the while taking in the beautiful, bright vistas of the snow-capped Alps.

In a world dominated by games that contain emotional and gripping storylines, it offers a break away from the usual, inviting you to unplug yourself from reality and have fun in a unique and enjoyable way.