NEWS

Riders Republic impressions

On wheels, on skis or in the sky – Ubisoft’s latest is relentless, ridiculous and over the top – in the best possible way

By THE OMEN NEWSROOM TEAM | April 19, 2022

Riders Republic is the sports game for those who don’t enjoy sports. It’s the Ubisoft open-world game for those who’d rather avoid violent action. You’ll find shades of some of the publisher’s past games – Steep and The Crew 2 – here, but Riders Republic is one of the freshest and most unique games we’ve played in a while.

Riders Republic is an adventure sports game that throws a lot at you, including bikes (the non-motor variety), skis, snowboards, wingsuits and rocketwings. And those are just the gear you’ll use in events. The game also has some whacky free-roam vehicles to make exploration a blast, such as jetpacks, snowmobiles and rocket skis. Yes, rocket skis are just what they sound like – rockets strapped to skis.

The game is structured into multiple careers, one for each of the various disciplines, and further into race and trick types for each. Riders Republic is all about throwing caution to the wind and creatively making your way around the game’s stunning open world. The world is an amalgamation of various US national parks, throwing ice-capped mountains, snowy slopes, thick jungles and expansive deserts and canyons at you in equal measure. And despite its size, the world looks like it’s been hand-crafted by Ubisoft to make riding, skiing and flying around it a thrill.

The game lets you fast travel to every event, which makes it a lot easier to get around this massive world. That said, we’d wholeheartedly recommend exploration, especially since the game makes it so much fun by handing you a jetpack that lets you scale vast expanses within seconds. You can switch to it anytime and blast off towards events or the game’s many side activities. These include collectibles, new free roam vehicles, and landmarks. And the ability to seamlessly switch between bike, ski, wingsuit and jetpack adds further inventive to free-roam. Imagine flying around and spotting a tantalizing mountain spine, then immediately switching to a mountain bike, falling through the sky and careening down the precarious slops. Moments like these are many, and it’s a testament to the work Ubisoft has done in building a world that beckons players to explore.

As you would expect from a Ubisoft open-world game, there is a lot to do here; almost too much. Each career has its own progression system, and there are side events that bring in their own progression. There’s an overall levelling system too that combines all your progress. Oh, and you can also sign on sponsors that throw more challenges to progress through. On the online side, there’s the Free for All events that also challenge you to progress through multiple divisions. Don’t let that bog you down though because the game gives you complete freedom to enter events and activities in any order.

And enter events you should because almost all of them are brilliantly designed. The developers have picked out some of the best locations in the game and created some fantastic routes for the game’s career events. If free-roaming helps you stumble across some of the hidden gems of the game world, the career events are Riders Republic’s greatest hits package. They’re so good that we even found ourselves going back and replaying some of them.

Riders Republic is billed as a quasi-MMO experience, where the game world is populated with hundreds of other players at any given point. It’s hard to verify this, because the game does mix in some AI in with the human players. But if human players is what you seek, look no further than Riders Republic’s main attraction –mass races. These are ridiculously chaotic races that see an avalanche of 64 players tearing through routes designed to accommodate only a fraction of that number. What ensues is plenty of crashing and missed checkpoints, and winning these events requires as much luck as it does skill. Still, mass races are well worth entering each time the game announces one, which around once every 30 minutes.

There are some areas where Riders Republic could have done better. The controls could be tighter, especially for tricks. The camera control can also be a bit wonky – an issue most apparent during flying events. For a game that emphasizes free-spirited creativity, Riders Republic is rather stingy in the character customisation options. Very few cosmetic items can be unlocked by playing; most of them require real money, and not too many of them are available in the store at any given point.

However, none of these issues take away from the absolute joy that Riders Republic is capable of delivering. It places the utmost importance on fun, and delivers truckloads of it. Ubisoft is known to support its games for years, and with a solid foundation already in place, Riders Republic is only set to get better with time.

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