REVIEW: ‘Riders Republic’ Is Totally the Place to Be (XSX)

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Riders Republic is the latest Ubisoft’s latest massive open-world game, featuring action sports and a whole world of natural wonders to explore. Compete solo, against friends, or online in biking, skiing/snowboarding, and air sports to become the best in each career in this wicked fun new adventure.

Whether you’re a fan of racing games, arcade-style action sports, or simply gorgeous digital worlds, Riders Republic is totally the place to be. It’s an amazingly crafted world with so much to see and do. There are three categories of competition: biking, snow sports, and air sports. Each sport is divided then into two types of careers, races, and trick events. Within the five careers are all sorts of combinations of sprints, lap races, 32-competitor races, timed trick runs, multiple-round trick battles, multi-sport events, and more. No two events feel alike in style or their execution, as the diverse regions of the game keep events feeling constantly different from one another. Sometimes you’ll have to bike through snow. Sometimes you’ll be jetpacking through tight canyons. Other times you’ll be skiing cross-country through mostly melted terrain.

The controls are not entirely intuitive at first. You use the triggers for both accelerating and braking as well as pulling off tricks. The same is true of the action buttons being tied to jumping and to tricks, in certain control schemes. At first, I was constantly accidentally pressing the wrong buttons or the right ones but in the wrong order. But after a robust initial tutorial and participation in the game’s optional additional trick tutorials, I was well on my way to mastering the mechanics. Now that I’m pretty well-practiced, I’m finding them quick smooth.

The best control is probably the backtrack button. I particularly appreciate it because the game doesn’t punish you for using it. It actually stops your momentum upon resuming so you can more easily hit a sharp turn you might have missed. Of course, the event you’re participating in continues on around you, even in a single-player match, since the game’s AIs are all based on other players’ ghosts who could possibly have rewound themselves too. But I think that adds to the competitive edge and incentives you to work on mastering turns and tricks so as not to need the feature often.

Riders Republic does have a story to it—a plucky rider happens to notice you and introduces you to her former mentor who agrees to help mentor you until you become the ultimate champion in each career and can win the Riders Ridge Invitational. But the story really disappears after the introduction, which I’m glad for because the dialogue and its forced attempts at coolness were grating. These characters still chime in from time to time, providing commentary around events or the scenery, which is usually pretty genial and not annoying.

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Each career has several Big Events that act as milestones and a Boss Event at the end as you accrue Stars and get an invite to the big Invitational. More races are unlocked as you level up individual careers and unlock better gear to compete with at higher levels. The escalating event types don’t feel all that much like their tension increases while playing alone and offline, although their difficulty certainly do. The new gear does always feel like an improvement, though, as you truly can’t win at higher difficulty levels or harder races without it. The other progression system—the Stars you unlock for completing events and sub-objectives during them—stops feeling valuable after the first couple hundred when the gap between new unlocks, and the value of those unlocks sharply diminishes. The other fun unlockables are the Relics, which are special types of gear like rocket skis or a pizza delivery bike, for example.

Then there’s just simply the atmosphere. This game is absolutely gorgeous. The levels are based on seven real locations in the Southwestern United States, each with faithfully recreated topography and landmarks. The game is filled with landmarks to find and read flavor text about. It has totally inspired me to visit some of these locations someday, hopefully before they’re gone, whether due to climate change or just the course of nature, as the game heeds on several occasions. You can play the game in Zen mode to explore unperturbed or really get lost traveling slowly from location to location between events and just enjoy the environment ad nauseam. I highly recommend it.

Riders Republic is an awesome, fresh entry in both the racing and action sports genre. I appreciate it for combining both elements in an absolutely gorgeous setting that I can, and will, spend many hours riding around.

Riders Republic is available now on PlayStation 4Xbox Series X and Series S, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Google Stadia, Amazon Luna, and Microsoft Window. Buy now via our affiliate links.

Riders Republic 
  • 8.5/10
    Rating - 8.5/10


Riders Republic is an awesome, fresh entry in both the racing and action sports genre.

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