With the Pyeong Chang 2018 Winter Olympics just around the corner it makes sense that Ubisoft open-world winter sport sim, Steep would have something up their sleeve for the occasion. And they totally do in the form of the game’s next expansion Steep: Road to the Olympics. We got a chance to go hands-on with some of the new content to see how it’s shaping up.
As you’d expect a lot of the new content comes in the form of skiing and snowboarding events. While steep has mostly been about open world exploration up to this point, you can expect a brand new series of challenges regimented difficulty in these competitions. You’ll take to the mountains of South Korea to try and medal in various forms of slalom, downhill speed, and freestyle trick events.
Skiing events look to be more about finesse than anything else. There’s a lot of nuance to the controls even though the layout is very simplistic. FInding a rhythm to hit the gates perfectly in slalom involves getting your directional taps down to a science. And even then your groove will be messed up when you get thrown a curveball like a sideways gate here and there. Learning the courses, figuring out how to optimize runs and making sure you hit the turns at the right speed will be key to victory in downhill and super-g races.
Snowboarding events are more trick oriented with freestyle and half-pipe courses for fans to try their latest moves out. It’s still about planning, much like the ski events, but now it’s more about figuring out how you want to execute your runs. Do you go for more grinds or jumps in the freestyle course? How do you approach the half-pipe to optimize your air and trick opportunities?
Even though Steep is introducing some very rule oriented content for the winter games, it hasn’t forgotten its open world roots and is including some of Japan’s most famous alpine sporting spots in the new expansion along with some creative locations from the devs. Players will get a chance to check out Sapporo Park, do tricks off snow covered ancient temples, ski through a field of cherry blossoms and carve down the side of a volcano just to name a few of Japan’s various free world attractions.
On top of all the new territory to explore players will also get a chance to make their way to the Olympics and reach superstar status in the new Become a Legend mode. Your goal is simple: now that there are three freestyle medals up for grabs, you want to be the first athlete to win gold in all three. As you progress your way to the 2018 Pyeong Chang games you’ll be treated to interviews and anecdotes from real-life professional alpine athletes and former Olympic champions who will also help frame your destinations from a historical context.
While Steep was initially received with somewhat tepid reviews, the team has been working to implement improvements over the last year that have appealed to their initial fanbase and newcomers alike. This latest expansion is looking to be a culmination of all their hard work over the year.
While I admittedly was not horribly familiar with Steep before my hands-on time it’s worth noting that I did find myself quickly obsessing over improving my runs and would get so focused that I didn’t notice large chunks of time flying by as I attempted to optimize everything. Will the Road to the Olympics lead Steep to a gold medal with fans though? We’ll have to wait a little while longer for the expansion to hit PS4, XB1, Switch and PC.