Steep is and has a massive open-world. It's almost daunting. But once you strap in your bindings, the explorable space is breathtaking, and it's as emergent and engaging as any other open-world game not set in the action-sports genre. And with four disciplines to master -- or choose from -- the game offers up plenty to sink your teeth into, but does it live up entirely to its own lofty ambitions?
Here's an excerpt from our review:
It should be noted, out of the gate, it can be finicky to get to grips with early on, especially with the snowboarding and skiing side of it. Controls can initially feel unresponsive and even a bit unintuitive which isn’t helped by some animations -- mainly around stacking and borked physics -- not seemingly linking up with the player-character’s trajectory or previous speed or the like. Moreover, as I’ve stated in a handful of previews, the lack of some pure snowsport tricks for both snowboarding and skiing is a heavily missed opportunity. There’s no grinding on rails or other parts of the terrain. You can’t wall-ride anything. There’s no buttering (the snow equivalent to manuals in skateboarding). And riding the pipe is a long, long and steep learning curve that will more often -- early on -- end in frustration than it will in triumph.
Click here for our in-depth Steep review
But you’re here to conquer this beast, and you’re helped in this area by a very specific and awesome element: freedom. You couldn’t possibly scale Steep’s base on-foot, so you can find points of interest by scanning the environment with your binoculars and take your view of the world out to a 3D overworld map, then select your destination and go there. But from there, even if there’s a challenge waiting for you in any of the game’s Freestyler, Extreme Rider, Freerider, Explorer, Bone Collector et al Challenges, you can just ignore them, choose your sport from snowboarding, skiing, paragliding or wingsuiting and just carve your own path down the mountain. And I even found after completing those challenges, even with the allure of XP lying in the wings to redo them, or move onto the next one, I would just continue on down the mountain. It’s how you discover all the mountain has to offer, and it’s how you discover a bit about yourself, as pretentious as that may sound, because despite this being an open-world to explore, the ways in which you go about it are all very different.