Feel free to check out my video review or you can read it below, the old fashioned way. I like to cater to all tastes.

This game first grabbed my attention during the announcement on E3 and I was quick into the Beta when the invites went out November 10th. So, does it live up to expectation? Well, not for me, at least not all of my expectations.

The game is beautiful, there’s no arguing with that and it ran really smoothly on my system, which is getting on in age now. After Ubisoft’s recent issues with releasing poorly optimized games, I’ll confess that was a big relief. The game environment is huge and open world, allowing you to explore remote peaks and discover your own challenges. This is all great. Where I feel the game falls down is in its controls. Games like this need sharp controls and good camera management. This game, unfortunately, has neither. It’s great to play at first but as you delve into the harder challenges and races, you’ll start to feel the limitations of the controls, whether it’s failing a jump due to the camera being locked at wrong angle or due to the lag and general heaviness of the controls.

I was a big SSX fan and had great hopes for this game as an open world SSX, but whereas SSX had tight responsive controls, allowing for adrenaline pumping high speed action, Steep just frustrates at high speed, as it feels like you’re battling the controls and the camera angle as much as the mountain. SSX had great flow and fluidity while skiing, but Steep feels jerky and inconsistent. This is a real shame, as it does have an excellent variety of challenges encompassing speed, skill and exploration along with a few quirky ones, like destroying evil snowmen.

There is also the opportunity to do tricks but they feel simple and limited in contrast to SSX’s trick system. Jump controls are sluggish and prone to lagging and you find yourself releasing the button at the bottom of a jump instead of the top, to avoid the risk of the jump not registering, due to lag (input or server related not confirmed). It is also an issue that tricks can only be done if a jump is performed. You could have a clear 10 seconds of air time, after hurtling off a cliff, but be locked out of performing tricks because you didn’t hit that jump button, which doesn’t seem particularly true to life. There is also no opportunity to pipe grind, which is a staple of game like this. You can to a limited degree grind across rocks but the collision is very inconsistent and what you can grind across in one location you may wipeout on in another with no clear difference.

Beyond snowboarding and skiing, Steep also allows you to wingsuit jump and paraglide which is wonderfully liberating and is a great way to explore the open world peaks but again the experience is hampered but clumsy, non-intuitive controls and your first experience of a wingsuit jump is almost certain to be an immediate plough into the rock face.

Where these elements do come alive is in exploration.  The ability to wingsuit jump and paraglide around the map does give great potential for new discoveries, in terms of challenges and drop points. Out of challenges, the control problems and camera issues don’t seem so big a deal and there is a lot of pleasure to be had in riding down deserted mountainsides or soaring over peaks. So the game is by no means bad, just not as good as it could be if all the elements works, rather than a few.

Along with many other players, I was also disappointed by the lack of a character creation option. For a game that is online and supposed to be community based, locking players to pre-set characters and allowing only the option to modify the gear worn seems in adequate at best and lazy at worst. The story mode isn’t geared to the individual characters, by my experience, so it would have been easy enough to accommodate character customised models.

Steep is a polished game in terms of optimisation and appears to have been well tested , as I came across very few bugs and the game didn’t crash or ram lag at any noticeable point. All the issues I came across were design flaws which it’s very unlikely will be fixed by the launch, or I would suspect at all or the changes would have been made before this point.

Steep does have great potential and some may argue that this is just a beta but with the release set for December 2nd there seems little room for any of the above issues to be fixed prior to launch, so the beta tag is more likely just being used to test server capacity. I enjoyed the game for the first 6 to 10 hours but beyond that it turned frustrating, due to the harder challenges being hampered by lacklustre controls. If the control issues were sorted then I would buy this game in a heartbeat, but as it is, I’m reluctant to take the plunge.  I can see the game being entertaining in the short term then relegated to the shelf or hurled at the window when the frustrating control system gets too much.

I will be playing the second beta this weekend and if any of the above issues are rectified, I’ll feed it back, but as it is I’ll likely be waiting on the reviews at launch before making up my mind on whether to purchase it or wait for a drop in price, as with its current control system I wouldn’t pay full launch price for this game. The second beta weekend is open until Monday 21st so if you want to form your own opinions then why not give it a try?