There are few things more irritating in video games than poorly handled controls, and it wouldn't even be an issue if the game was difficult: Skate 3 was a monster to learn to play at first, but here there's no sense of progression.
The rest of the game is quite accomplished. I enjoyed the numerous customisation options and the mountain genuinely looks astounding. As I spent longer with the game I uncovered many wonderful routes from base camps to the bottom of the mountain, meaning I was rarely bored - if I ever did lose focus it was merely a matter of stopping and activating my paraglider to take off and float away into the sky, eventually landing on a hitherto undiscovered bit of powder on which to begin anew.
I found a real sense of enjoyment in using the wingsuit to fly close to the surface of the mountain, powering down the hill at nearly supersonic speeds just an arm's length from the ground, but this is designed largely as a sideshow to the main attraction - a more fun way of getting from A to B than using the game's generous fast travel options - but unfortunately B in this case is more snowboarding, and if I've not made it clear so far, the snowboarding is dire.
Ultimately, Steep is a game about challenges. These challenges are dotted around the mountain and are put there by the developers, other players or even added by you as you play. The problem is that the biggest challenge here isn't in mastering the various methods of travel, setting the highest score or even exploring the mountain in a glorious sandbox, but in controlling your board (or skis, if you're not radical enough to snowboard everywhere) and that makes everything past that a chore.
I went into Steep optimistically. I've enjoyed many of Ubisoft's live games of late, and its after-launch support is genuinely the best out of every big publisher, but instead I found myself wondering whether I should put one of our big Bin awards on it because of a central mechanic that's just so broken.
On the flip side, I didn't put the game down all weekend, but Steep is still the biggest disappointment of the year for me. It's a game that looked so completely to be 'exactly my thing', and those early perfect Journey-esque moments hint at the game this could have been; a title that transcended genre to become a social experience people would revisit for years. Instead it's a sad game about messing about on a mountain, one that, despite all of the work to bring it to life, ends up feeling as joyless as the wolf-howl every single character in the game yells at the top of their lungs when you hit the X button.