Steep: Road to the Olympics Review
In 2016, Ubisoft introduced their brand new, winter extreme-sports game, Steep. The genre has some heavy competition like Amped, 1080 Snowboarding, and SSX – but neither of those franchises has released anything new for a while. Even without a lot of recent competition, Steep still needed to step up and deliver big time. Fortunately, it did a lot of things really well and it looks great doing it; honestly, the views are spectacular. Need a quick refresher on Steep? Be sure to check out our review! It’s no surprise that Ubisoft has decided to build on the success of Steep with a brand new expansion titled Steep: Road to the Olympics. As an expansion, the base Steep game is required for play – so keep that in mind. Is this Winter Olympics inspired expansion worthy of a gold medal? Let’s hit the slopes and find out!
Steep: Road to the Olympics is based on the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics taking place in PyeongChang, South Korea. Ubisoft has decided to narrow the focus of this Winter Olympics game to 12 events featuring Snowboarding and Skiing. While that means we won’t get any skating, bobsledding or curling (sorry, fellow Canadians), it still provides gamers with some fun events. In Road to the Olympics, you star as you – but not really you – as you’ll have to pick from a handful of premade characters (same people from Steep’s base game) and country you’ll represent. Finally, you’ll pick whether you’ll be a skier or a snowboarder for your journey (I picked snowboarder). From there, you’re guided along a path of predetermined events in the pursuit of not one, but three gold medals!
The journey you take will bounce you between existing Steep mountains and the brand new Asia region which includes mountains from South Korea and Japan. You’ll start off with training runs, then qualifications and eventually the actual gold medal events. The entire journey will take you three to four hours total, depending on your skill level. In between many events, your journey will be narrated, but due to the limited customization options, you’re always referred to as he/her – and the lack of personalization does detract a bit from the Olympic dream. In addition, you’ll also watch interview clips from actual Olympians describing their own experiences and feelings – it gives the whole journey a sort of documentary feels and I really enjoyed it.
Of course, the big question is, how does it play – and honestly, it plays like Steep – not much has changed in the year it released. Steep is a far more down-to-earth experience than some of the other extreme sports titles we’ve played before. You won’t find any epic, uber-tricks here – and for many sports gamers, that will be fine (it also means there is still room in the market for a brand new SSX game, EA…). Aside from the new mountains and the Olympic backdrop, not much has been added aside from some new tricks like grinding. For me, grinding never felt as solid as I wanted – I like my grinding to really stick to the rail, but in Steep, it felt loose. I also felt limited when grinding, as you can’t jump left or right to hit another rail, you can only leap forward – I suppose that’s a more realistic approach. The actual tricks, while geared to realism, were all kind of, meh.
Visually, the game still looks incredible. The sheer scale of the mountains was impressive and looking off into the various vistas always created a sense of awe. Yes, there are still some occasional hiccups. Sometimes the game would stutter along when there were too many things happening on-screen – the worst of these was when I’d leap off the jump during a big-air event. Collison detection was incredibly frustrating at times. I’d frequently hit some random, invisible obstacle that would slow me down. For being a game that reaches for realism, I often felt pulled away by the various technical flaws. However, with all that said – I kept coming back for more. As frustrating as Steep can get, it can also be really satisfying.
“Games like this need a good soundtrack – Steep only partially delivers on that.”
The audio runs the gamut from pretty good to downright awful. Some of the music was beautiful and almost Zen-like which is perfect when carving down the slopes. Then there were other tracks that were just utter garbage – like that hip-hop song about worker bees or the track that felt like it was ripped from some cheesy 80’s sci-fi flick, which plays during the slopestyle gold medal event. Games like this need a good soundtrack – Steep only partially delivers on that. This brings us to the play-by-play announcer that needs to comment on my every move in the game – and he was just awful. His delivery was poor, often times the comments didn’t match what was happening on screen and comments were repeated far too often. After a couple hours, I turned the announcer off as I found it was actually detracting from my gameplay.
Steep: Road to the Olympics is a pretty significant expansion for Steep. With it, you get a decent sized story that leads you on a journey to become an Olympic gold medalist. The inclusion of interviews from actual Olympic athletes was a very nice touch. Some of the gameplay is frustrating due to some technical issues like bad hit-detection – but if you’ve played through Steep, you’re well aware of what to expect. The additional content is accessible from your existing save file, which is a nice bonus. All-in-all, if you’ve played and enjoyed Steep before – then getting the extra Road to the Olympics content is really a no-brainer. If you weren’t a fan of Steep, you won’t find anything new here that will sway your opinion. If you’ve never played Steep, I’d probably recommend you play through Steep first before moving on to the Road to the Olympics.
*** Xbox One code provided by publisher ***
- Two new mountains
- 12 Olympic events
- Interviews with real Olympians
- Annoying announcer
- Some frustrating technical issues