E3 2016: Hands On with Steep

E3-2016-Hands-On-Steep

One of Ubisoft’s surprises this year was an open-world sports game titled Steep, which caught people’s attention partly because it was kept secret, but mostly because it looked pretty damn cool.

Steep’s open world is a beautiful snowy mountain, and the sports are skiing, snowboarding, paragliding and wingsuit flying. I had the opportunity to get some hands-on time with Steep at an Ubisoft event Monday evening and I was not disappointed by the action.

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The demo opened up with my player being dropped down onto a mountain on foot where I had to walk to a platform to begin the wingsuit portion of the demo.

Trekking through the snow was quite difficult on foot, but possible. My character’s legs would fall into deep pockets of snow occasionally falling as he struggled to maintain his balance on the snowy surface.

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Once I reached the platform, I held down the right bumper (demo shown on PC) to pull up a wheel to pick the wingsuit and from there it was time to fly. The first thing I noticed when I jumped was the GoPro sponsorship since their logo was splashed across the wingsuit.

Flying was fast and fun, manoeuvring around hills and cliffs, going high up, or risking danger by going low to the ground to score some points.

When I found a safe landing spot, I was walking again until I brought up the wheel and equipped a snowboard which instantly popped up under my player. Snowboarding controls were rather easy to learn and wrecking myself would lead to some hilarious rag-doll physics, because rag-dolling is always hilarious.

The game features a quick reset button to get you upright if you prefer not waiting for the character to pick themselves up, even though it can be rather entertaining watching him struggle down a hill.

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The skis and snowboarding played similarly in terms of moving and pulling of tricks. I was able to compete challenges with either piece of equipment and even race against the AI, regardless of what equipment they were using.

The only challenges I played were some standard races, high score runs and time trials. Objectives were found naturally through traversing the world or by pulling up the in-game map and fast traveling to start points for a challenge.

There is more to the GoPro sponsorship, too. There is a special GoPro camera mode that can be toggled on and off with a press of the button.

In reality, it just appeared to be a standard first-person view that I felt a little nauseated by due to the quick movement from riding down the mountain. Given more time, I could see myself using that camera mode more, but for my short time with the game I preferred the third-person view.

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As for the technical side of the game, Steep appeared to be running at a smooth frame-rate with no noticeable issues present. I should mention again that I was playing on a PC that is likely on the higher end of the specs spectrum, so there is no telling how the consoles versions will run.

For the brief amount of time I spent playing the game, I snowboarded around, coming across the occasional other player since the game will feature online play. The way Steep will handle multiplayer is by opening up the whole mountain to players and giving them free range to explore and play anywhere.

I asked about how many players will be on a single server or mountain and was told that information was not ready to be shared quite yet.

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Regardless, once I met up with other players it was up to us if we wanted to join each other in a race or challenge, or just go about our own business.

Steep has a targeted release window of December 2016, and could be a game to watch for in the coming months. The E3 announcement trailer can be found here.

Check out the latest from E3 2016

Written by Michael Cwick

Michael Cwick

Just a nerd from the Windy City. I’m actually really bad at describing myself because I get all self-critical and self-conscious. Follow me on Twitter, @The1stMJC, to see my borderline insane rants on tv shows and other non important subjects. If I’m not tweeting I’m probably just watching Buffy or Firefly for the millionth time.

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  • ChazzH69

    I want this game, it sounds great.