No Training Wheels Necessary
Keeping it a buck, we’re not big on extreme sports here at Hip-Hop Wired, so going into Riders Republic, we were not sure we would enjoy this game. We are no experts in snowboarding or any other games requiring you to put together tricks, so imagine our surprise when we immediately found out Riders Republic isn’t one of those games where tricks are the main focus. The learning curve is not insanely difficult.
Right off the bat, the game gives you a crash course on all of the extreme sports you will be engaging in throughout the game with a sick intro that sees your player flawlessly switch from a bike to a jet pack, a wingsuit, snowboard, and skis. It’s honestly one of the dopest intros in a racing game we have ever experienced. It also gives you a perfect taste of what’s to come, letting you know this game won’t be challenging to learn, letting you know no training wheels will be necessary for this ride.
Once you complete the intro/ brief training race, you meet Suki, your handler throughout the game. She eventually introduces you to Brett, founder of the Riders Republic. The best part of these interactions is that they won’t bog you down, and you quickly return to the action after everything is explained promptly to you.
Unlike Steep, Riders Republic’s open-world predecessor that kept players on the slopes in the snow, players will experience different terrains. Ubisoft Annecy’s Riders Republic brings you to a fictional world where all of the United States’ national parks mashed together to form one giant playland for extreme sports enthusiasts.
The Only Grinding Takes Place On Rails
Once you are introduced to the massive map, Ubisoft will quickly fill with waypoints leading to your next career. You will start with a bike, then eventually a wingsuit, jet suit, skis, or snowboard events. Traveling around the map is relatively easy thanks to the ability to fast-travel to locations near each event. Still, honestly, you might want to explore a little because Rider Republic’s world is truly stunning to look at.
Variety is one of Riders Republic’s strengths, thanks to Ubisoft giving players the ability to focus on the events they enjoy the most. Another aspect we truly appreciated about the Rider’s Republic is that the game doesn’t feel like a grind. While playing, you will notice that you level up quickly and quite often because you are rewarded for everything, even if you don’t place first in a race or come out on top in an event, something fans of the Forza Horizon franchise have come to enjoy.
Players will also swiftly build up a collection of wingsuits, bikes, skis, snowboards, jet suits, and vehicles to explore the world expeditiously. Cash will also hit your bank accounts, allowing you to purchase goofy cosmetic items to make your rider stand out from the rest of the players on the map.
There are other events for you to partake in, like bike and snow-based trick events, racing matches that are not perfect but are fun to compete in. We loved the jet suit events, but we can see the players getting bored with them quickly. Wingsuit events are the most challenging of them all, and you will find yourself crashing and becoming frustrated. But, again, Riders Republic gives you the option to spend your time on the events you love rather than being stuck on those you absolutely can’t stand.
Extreme Sports Made Easy
You will find yourself learning how to do tricks very easily. There is even a landing assist function to help you stick those sick tricks flawlessly. For those who like to do it themselves, you can turn them off. You might find yourself doing the same tricks over and over, but a quick trip to the tutorial will have you looking like Nigel Sylvester on the bike and Shaun White on the snowboard.
Riders Republic offers players two different control styles to enjoy their experience. One uses the face buttons to help you pull off tricks which we could see being the popular choice of many players. It was ours. The other gives control of the camera to AI by putting the trick controls into the right thumbstick so that that option might be for more seasoned players.
Speaking of the camera, controlling it comes in handy during the downhill bike and ski or snowboard racing events. You will also find yourself enjoying the hell out of those moments but if you crash, quickly lose your cool cause it can be frustrating. A rewind function is available to alleviate your mistakes, but it doesn’t work on other players, so if you use it during a race, the other racers will still pass you by while you’re erasing your crash.
Ubisoft’s biggest pitch for Riders Republic was the ridiculous mass race events that will see up to 64 racers competing for the top 3 spots in a downhill multi-stage event. It’s as zany and silly as it looks and sounds and very rewarding if you complete them. The mass race events happen on a schedule, and you will receive a notification when one is about to begin.
There are also other multiplayer events scattered throughout the map that you will find yourself trying out at least once to see if you can grab a W, a reward, and, of course, experience.
Ubisoft’s Annecy’s Rider’s Republic is not a perfect game, but it is damn good. We found ourselves eager to hit the slopes, kiss the skies and speed downhill because it is a bit addictive. Riders Republic’s world is beautiful plus massive, giving players who don’t care to partake in multiplayer events plenty to do in the game. Unfortunately, the boss events and “big races” leave plenty to be desired.
Riders Republic is the perfect follow-up to steep and honestly the best extreme sports to hit consoles. It’s not difficult to play, which means it’s a welcoming experience for gamers (like our resident gaming scribe) who usually are not into these kinds of games.
Riders Republic is a hell of a good time that doesn’t penalize you for not partaking in all of the events. We highly recommend you add this one to your growing collection of next-gen titles.
*We reviewed the product sent to us by Ubisoft on PS5*
Photo: Ubisoft/Riders Republic