Ubisoft’s Steep released about a year ago, and you know what? It was rather good.
It had some piddly issues – it didn’t explain itself too well, you could sometimes get stuck on scenery, and the mountain map was a little awkward to find events on – but on the whole it offered exhilarating extreme winter sports action in a beautiful open world, and that was enough to make me happy.
Like any game, however, the fun starts to dry up when the majority of its content has been explored. And while Steep’s season pass did allow access to two pieces of DLC that added more ways to play and a smattering of events, Road to the Olympics is what players have been waiting for: a true expansion.
Included in Road to the Olympics is a linear story mode, four additional mountains, a wealth of new events and a bucketload of new gear to further customise your avatar. Overall, it’s not quite the size of the base game, but it adds a lot of meat to its bones.
Road to the Olympics’ story mode is just what you’d expect – a three or so hour excursion charting your journey from simply dreaming about winning three Olympic gold medals to actually achieving it. You engage in training sessions, test sessions and qualifying sessions before finally showing what you’re made of at the Olympics, with frequent interviews with real medallists giving you a taste of what the process is actually like.
On your way to achieving gold in slopestyle, halfpipe and big air events, you’ll strangely find yourself more tutored about how to play Steep than ever before. It’s great if you’re a newcomer or just haven’t played for a while, but rather tedious if you’re fully up to speed with how to perform the various tricks available. It still doesn’t explain mechanics like g-force, however.
Overall though, Road to the Olympics’ story isn’t going to wow you. It feels like a simple sequence of events strung together haphazardly. There’s no real drama or emotion – obtaining all three gold medals is meant to be a near-impossible feat, yet it never feels like one. You’ll likely just make your way through the story and then quickly forget about it, but that’s okay.
You see, away from the story campaign, many winter Olympic events are available for you to compete in at your leisure, though unfortunately the Korean mountain on which they are all held cannot be freely explored. The Olympic events feel worlds apart from the usual Steep challenges. They’re more serious, more competitive and more focused. Downhill Ski, for example, is all about speed and finesse on specially designed courses. These events add yet another string to Steep’s bow.
And then there are three additional Japanese mountains that can be explored freely, offering the usual assortment of Steep events that you’ve come to expect. While they just offer more of the same Steep experience, they’re perhaps the most beautiful mountains to lose yourself in thanks to their abundance of cherry blossoms and the occasional picturesque shrine.
Just like the base game, what you’ll get out of Road to the Olympics depends on how you like to play. Completing all missions and challenges across all three mountains is likely to take upwards of ten hours if you’re going for golds, and locating events you’ve not yet completed is a doddle now, by the way, thanks to a handy menu that lets you instantly jump to them. And then on top of that there are drop zones and other places of interest to find, as well as all the user-generated content you can consume too.
Coming in at £24.99/$29.99 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC, many will consider Steep: Road to the Olympics’ price to be a bit, well… steep. The truth is though, is that for those who jump into it feet first it’s easily worth the price. Being able to hurtle down yet more mountains with all the available disciplines equates to huge amounts of fun, and there’s nothing else quite like it available. This is an expansion in the traditional sense, and while its self-contained story is little more than a diversion, it’s got a lot more going for it.