The best part of every E3 are the new games. True, games that were already announced months and even years prior are all fine and good, but there’s something really fascinating about a playing a fresh new game you know nothing about. That was exactly the reason why I jumped on the opportunity to play Steep, the new skiing title by Ubisoft. That was the first time I was so excited about a sports game.

The truth is, Steep is less of a sports game and more of a racing game that happens to take place in the Alps. Instead of cars or snowmobiles, you’re playing a lone skier or snowboarder. Like all racing games, Steep features a few different modes and challenges.I got to try two of said modes: a standard race where you have to reach the finish line first and in one piece, and a mode where I had to do tricks and dangerous jumps to score points, and whoever got to the end with the most points – won.

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The most fun I had with the game was with the wingsuit. The track I raced in went through a crevasse in the mountain, and I had to be careful not to crash into the walls. The catch was that I had to fly as close to the walls in order to gain points – a sort of risk vs reward system. Since I’m not experienced in flying down a mountain in blinding speeds, I crashed a few time during the race. However, even when do crash, the game pops you right back in and you never have the time to get bummed out or annoyed – you just keep playing. It makes every failure feel less terrible and lets you try again and again without getting frustrated. When I did manage to reach the finishing line, I felt like I just overcame a huge challenge. Steep is the kind of game that lets you really celebrate each victory like its the most amazing thing you’ve ever done.

In addition to the snowboard, skies and wingsuit, the game offers a rather slow glider parachute you can deploy at any moment. I’m not quite sure who will enjoy gliding slowly down the mountain instead of flying or skiing in blazing speeds, but there one thing the chute is obviously good for – to allow the player to identify spots where they can try and pull off daring jumps, or just enjoy the stunning view.

What sets Steep apart from other sports and racing games are the ability to create challenges for other players pretty much on the fly. Here’s an example – your standard track is made up of snow, which you can ski on, and rocks with will cause you to crash and break every virtual bone in your body. If during a race you manage to somehow jump from a rock, do a flip and land a couple of hundred feet down the mountain, you’ve just pulled off one impressive stunt. All you need to do is press a button and transform this sequence of fortunate events into a challenge from your friend to try and beat.

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While there are races just about everywhere on the map, Ubisoft is clearly counting on this stunt/challenge system to extend the game’s shelf life, and it seems like it takes center stage when it comes to replayability. Overall, it seems like a valid idea, as every stop on the map is open for you to ski glide or fly through from the very beginning, so there shouldn’t be a problem to find dangerous areas for you to pull off stunts that will keep your friend and the global community busy for hours.

Steep is an interesting and unique experience I find hard to describe. I promise you it’s not another repetitive sports game, but cooperative racing title that suits both casual and competitive gamers who enjoy seeing their friends crash and burn. I personally never played anything like what Steep has to offer, and I’m really looking forward to try the finished title on the PC, PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. Let’s just say we gave Steep our Best Racing Game of E3 2016 award for a reason.


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