Riders Republic Review
Riders Republic is the spiritual successor to Steep where you get to play in an open world within a multitude of different events and competitions. Whether that’s flying in a rocket powered wingsuit or tearing down a hill at breakneck speed on a mountain bike, Ubisoft’s latest racer as it all in this massively multiplayer game!
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The game takes place in real life parks, Sequoia, Yosemite, Bryce, and Half-Dome, but muddles up together in a kind of Super Park for you to explore and race in. It consists of snowy mountain tops and forests to hot dry deserts, throwing at you all different types of terrain to ride across. It’s a thrill-seeking ride that gives you a mixture of Matt Hoffman, Tony Hawk and SSX all rolled into one.
The game greets you at the start with some colourful characters that are set up as hosts across the Republic and they act as guides to help you get to grips with the games mechanics and how the events work and so on. They teach you about the different of controls from Trickster to Racer. Each with their own style depending on how you like to play. Whether you want to try some mountain biking, wingsuits or snowboarding, everything is intertwined to try and offer you the perfect balance of fun and challenges to keep things fresh for you. The open world structure of the game is in much the same way as Steep was laid out for you, but with more variety than just trashing downhill via snowboarding or skiing events.
With each event on offer, you will be switching from bikes, snowboards, skis, wingsuits, or jetpacks all depending on the chosen event that you picked from the many on offer. There will also be races that consists of multiple disciplines at once that will see you try to reach the finish line while interchanging between bikes, skis and back again all on the fly as you try to reach the end first. Each of these events mixes up the disciplines depending on the race that you have chosen.
While you race around in Riders Republic you will also be looking to complete objectives during each of the events on offer. When you complete a race with an objective you will receive a star. These stars are how you level up through the progression system within the game. These range from doing certain tricks in a trick event or grabbing a high score to reaching a maximum speed in a downhill race. With every level you reach you are rewarded with new gear for your rider or faster and better bikes, boards, skis and so on.
In completing events you will also unlock new events for you to compete in, which you will do quite easily as you play through the game. While it can seem overwhelming or daunting at first, Riders Republic lets you take these events at your own pace and are free to pick and choose which events you want to do first. There will be at times where you feel like you are trundling along with little to no direction, but this is more of the games free play approach than makes you play as if you are stuck on a track heading in one direction.
Then there will be those crazy ‘Shackdaddy’ events that you can enter where you race in all manner of crazy. One of these races sees you flying by the seat of your pants in a rocket propelled wheelbarrow across a canyon floor, while another sees you dressed up in a Panda costume delivering pizzas or more bizarrely and scary is a wingsuit that is just a paper plane of all things.
At certain times during your play, you will be informed that there are Mass Races available. These races are just pure fun and chaos and can consists of up to 60+ players you race against (most races you are racing against players ghosts). The Mass Races sees you switching disciplines on the fly as you try to beat one another to the finish line. While this is just a pure thrill ride when you are racing with everyone, it can lead to frustration as you bang or bump each other into barriers, trees and other riders. Which in turn can see you going from being in the lead to nearly bottom of the pack. However, while this can happen, it doesn’t deter the fact that these races are just pure fun!
When you are not racing you are given free rein to explore and look around to find some hidden treasures, tracks, and items that you can acquire. These can range from finding relics which are crazy rides that you can using the those whacky Shackdaddy races to finding small balloons in the shape of two R letters. There are also lookout or landmark areas that you can find that lets you take a break and enjoy the view, while learning a little bit more about the parks. Also, if you can find them, there are some stunt courses for you to try out and pit your skills against them and other riders.
When it comes to the game’s visuals, they are a thing of beauty in their own right and while they may not break and new ground, they do look stunning. Especially in those moments when you are whizzing past trees through a lush green forest and the suns tries to break through as the paths open. The paths that you take are filled with dirt, gravel and snow and kick up as you grind through the terrain, with your tyres getting covered and even your clothes the faster you move. The landscapes in the background compliment the events that you race in but feels like nothing more of an afterthought, as all your concentration is on the race at hand, as it should be.
The soundtrack in the game accompanies the visuals beautifully with skis and tyres crunching across the snow or skidding to a stop on asphalt, with your bike brakes screeching with a halt. There were times in the game that I felt the music was too annoying and I had it turned off most of the time, as I found the world around you more pleasing to the ears as you race and explore through the parks.