Riders Republic Review
How long has it been since we’ve gotten our fix of an extreme sports game that does enough to pique our interest and then some? Ubisoft must have been thinking of the same thing by bringing us Riders Republic, a massively multiplayer playground that fuses various manners of extreme sports into one slick package.
Other sports games like Steep concentrate on a specific discipline, but Riders Republic dares to bring them all together, which for the most part works and sticks the landing, providing an action-packed game filled to the brim with activities that will make your eyes water with adrenaline.
Riders Republic follows a few basic rules that keep it from being too intimidating and overwhelming – It’s familiar, it’s packed with things to do, and it gives you the freedom to do what you want.
You’re just one of the thousands of riders in the republic, set a sprawling location that plays host to a variety of careers to choose from. Whether you fancy racing or tricks-based challenges using a bike or a pair of skis, or even a rocketsuit that lets you take on some literal air, Riders Republic offers various ways to traverse this gigantic virtual playground.
All of it feels very familiar, seeing as Ubisoft’s iconic open-world formula is used in the game. The races may feel like something you’ve already played before like The Crew or Steep, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Not just in concept, but the controls in Riders Republic feel very familiar and simple. Taking on the slopes will take you less than a minute to figure things out, as its responsive controls work very well. In between slopes and ramps, you’re free to pull off tricks with a control scheme that isn’t as complicated as something like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater that requires a certain mastery, but you’re given the option to choose an automatic or manual way to hit your landings if you want more control, which is crucial to hitting those high scores.
Riders Republic banks on that familiarity and is all the better for it.
Riders Republic offers players a wide variety of things to do in the game. A bike or a pair of skis (or snowboard) will be your main tools to engage in a variety of challenges, but there are also some wild devices like a rocket suit and rocket bike if you want to go crazy.
Progression is straightforward, with each career having its own levels and rewards to unlock by simply participating, which rewards you with a star. In fact, you don’t even need to finish first or in the top 3, meaning that even the most casual of players can move up and progress at their own pace.
Racking up stars in Riders Republic will allow you to unlock more events and marginally better equipment, which eventually turns some of the activities into an arms race of sorts, where the rider with the most stars and consequentially the best equipment, will have a distinct advantage.
Chaos ensues in 64-player Mass Races, which take place at regular intervals during the day. Apart from bumping into other players, you’ll be switching between sports to top it all off, making these races something really fun and rewarding despite the chaos.
If that doesn’t suit your definition of “challenging”, there are optional objectives in each event (Get X points, Perform Y trick, etc) that will give you additional stars if you do them successfully.
If things get too challenging, which usually results in you kissing the ground face first, there’s always the option to backtrack, which rewinds you to your pre-wipeout state while still keeping the action flowing to make it fair for all competitors as you regain your footing.
A recurring theme in all of this is how Riders Republic gives you the freedom of choice to go about your ways. When not racing or pulling off tricks, you are free to roam this massive world and uncover secrets and hidden events. You can even opt to skip certain types of events entirely and just go for the ones you like and you’ll still be rewarded for your troubles.
While you are encouraged to increase the difficulty or switch to manual mode to get more points and more rewards, nobody is forcing you to do so to enjoy the game. That in itself is a massive plus and motivated me to explore more.
That’s so gnarly, dude!
Riders Republic shines during its actual game sequences but fails to offer the same level of quality throughout its story mode. Much of the dialogue is too rad and gnarly for my tastes, feeling like the writers watched one too many Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episodes and based their script from there, prompting me to spam the skip cinematic button everytime I got the chance.
Another misstep is the fact that you’re required to be online to experience the game even during your solo sessions. If you’re like me who sometimes just wants to take it stress-free and ride around while enjoying the view, there is an offline mode in Riders Republic called “Zen Mode”. This mode allows access to everything you’ve previously unlocked but removes certain critical aspects of the game like progression and is literally there to let you roam around the world, practice your craft, and enjoy the view.
Speaking of enjoying the view, fault Ubisoft all you want but they sure know how to create rich and beautiful spaces to explore and Riders Republic is no different. From snowcapped mountains to vast canyons, almost everything in the game is picturesque and if you’re not on your way from a race or a stunt challenge, do yourself a favor and just ride around and take in the scenery, putting the built-in photo mode to good use.
Thankfully, Ubisoft has decided not to include pay-to-win microtransactions here in Riders Republic, which offers some wacky customization options that bring another level of crazy like racing down slopes in a giraffe costume and other manners of outrageous outfits.
What we liked:
- Highly accessible open world where you can progress at your own pace.
- World exploration and collectibles are a huge plus when you’re not in the mood to race or perform in an exhibition.
- Easy to use controls to get into the action.
What we didn’t like:
- Overall dialogue is cringe-worthy.
- Even on solo mode, you have to be online to play.
Verdict: Buy It!
Riders Republic takes the extreme sports gaming genre and marries it with their Ubisoft style open-world exploration and it surprisingly works. They’ve created an accessible world where you don’t have to be skilled or even interested in the sports offered to be able to enjoy. I, for one, found myself gravitating towards exploring the world, seeking collectibles and landmarks even before getting on the events. The wild thing about it is that I’ve received enough stars and gear to unlock different events even without participating in one.
One thing that I appreciated is the freedom you have in exploring and partaking in the events at your own pace. Even if you place last in the sport, you’ll get a star for participating, so the primary function is for you to really have fun. It’s great to experience especially if you’re a casual player and want to get into a game without a rigid progression system that gates your progress.
It would be great to see how far Ubisoft takes Riders Republic. With enough post-launch support and more events being added, this could certainly turn into something that its community will surely enjoy for a long while.
*Rider’s Republic has been reviewed on a PS5 with a review code from the publisher.