Gaming backlogs... You've got 'em. I've got 'em. We've all got 'em. That mountain of unplayed titles you picked up on a Black Friday or Steam sale or added as part of some subscription service or game pass. It was bad when you had a physical stack of cartridges or discs to go through back in the day. But at least those piles served as a constant reminder of what could be next in your rotation. Now that the gaming world has gone digital, the backlogs grow out of control without the feedback loop of guilt to finally sit down and get around to all that you have yet to even touch.
In my ongoing effort to make 2019 is the year I finally start working through the backlog, I'm spending one hour on each game on that list. At the end of that hour all I need is a simple determination: is this game simply not worth the hard drive space, is it worth keeping around but not quite a top priority, or am I all in and it's now top of the rotation?
Today we're looking at Steep. This extreme winter sports wonderland comes to us from the January PS Plus freebies. So 60 minutes on the clock, let's see what we've got...
The review preview impression continues after the Read More link below.
The first thing you will notice when loading into steep is a simply stunning mountain greeting. This gorgeous hunk of rock, covered in ice and snow stretches its extreme playground in every direction. The way the light reflects, the silhouette of the trees and ridges, it's beautiful.
The first thing I notice when going to play Steep is "goodness, I need to invert this y-axis." Speaking of which, really? It's 2019 we can't have a system setting that auto-inverts y-axis for me. I have to do this every dagger game...
The second thing I notice when playing Steep is "why on earth isn't the y-axis also inverted when piloting the wing suit?" After a few re-reads and re-toggles I managed to sort this out eventually. There is a separate y-axis invert option for piloting, however it is mapped completely backwards to the y-axis for looking. It's painfully stupid.
Now that we finally have our controls in order what do we have? I think the best way I can put this is... woah.
Steep is simply incredible to step right into. The controls are intuitive and there is just the right amount of tutorial to get you on your way. While it is pretty obvious there is a long road to mastery of all the tricks and learning to read the lines, there is a buffet of activities and action right on hand from the go. Wingsuiting, snowboarding, skiing, parasailing, it's all there from the start. And so easy to rapid fire into the events. Crash and burn on a race or trick course? Just mash triangle and you're back at the top to start over. Just finished an event? You've got a curated selection of others you might want jump into popping in to the top left of your screen. Just mash X and you're right into the next one. You can cruise past the finish line seamlessly into a free ride further down the mountain or you can rapid fire event after event with ease.
I never did dip into the story mode, because I was simply having too much fun hopping event to event. This is an open world-y type game but the mechanics are on point to be able to skate around and keep the adrenaline pumping. Truth be told I ended up flying past my allotted hour and into a second before I could tear myself away from the "just one more event" syndrome.
So what's the verdict? This one is tricky. It was stupid fun to play for that hour, erm two hours. But I don't think that makes it top of the rotation simply because it was so easy to hop into. I'm by no means bored of it, but I can tell it's not the type of game that I'm going to be all in on either. I could give the story mode a try and see if that draws me in, but I don't think I want to be drawn in. I want Steep to remain what it was: an easy game to hop on, carve some lines in a little powder, skim the ground in a wing suit, and then hop out of. It's a time waster, and a darn good one, but not a game I'll be grinding day in and day out. So it stays on the hard drive with the hopes that maybe next time I'm snowbound I'll cuddle up warm on my couch and take to the virtual slopes rather than think about all that shoveling. <checks weather report> Hmm, 6 inches of snow forecast for tonight, huh...