|Release Date||October 27th, 2021|
|Developer||Ubisoft Annecy, Ubisoft Milan|
*A copy of this game was provided to FYIG by Ubisoft for review purposes*
If you’ve ever played Ubisoft’s Steep, you know what type of potential Ubisoft had for creating an extreme sports game. That game ended up being a very solid winter sports game, the problem was that not many people actually cared to play it. That’s the problem with new IPs in a generally niche genre, you just never know how much of a player base you’re going to get and if people will latch on to the idea or not. Such is the case with Riders Republic, a technically new IP that I consider a spiritual successor to Steep with a lot more personality and a lot more ways to get around the diverse open world. There really is a little bit of everything.
Riders Republic is very similar in style to other Ubisoft games out there. You’re exploring a vast open world with numerous events available while searching for collectibles and trying to acquire better gear. It’s very much The Crew x Extreme Sports although instead of cars, you’ll be using bicycles, skis, snowboards, wingsuits, snowmobiles, and more to make your way around. This isn’t a game that is reinventing the wheel, it’s more a game that is dropping extreme sports into the existing formula we’ve all seen a thousand times. This isn’t a bad thing at all as it actually works quite well, it’s just something to keep in mind.
Each sport that you participate in in Riders Republic feels very different from the other. Skiing and snowboarding are all about momentum as you slide down the mountains trying to get some tricks in while also trying to avoid obstacles. They both don’t perform well on harder terrain whereas something like the bike doesn’t perform well in the snow. It’s all about knowing your terrain and how to conquer it the best possible way. Biking itself is pretty difficult with a lot of tight turning and having to manage your pedaling and the way you land if you’re getting any air. I loved that it was hard to master each sport and that, even if I didn’t do well, I felt like I learned things along the way to improve my time in each sport.
The racing in the game is challenging having you dodge obstacles, fly over gaps, and test your reflexes early and often. While races make up a lot of what you do in Riders Republic but, it’s far from everything that it has to offer. There are also plenty of trick competitions that bring out your inner Tony Hawk as you try to get the high score. I felt that some of these were tediously difficult to beat but I did like the fact that a lot of them gave you three rounds to add up your scores. I still didn’t come close on most of them that I’ve tried but that’s more due to my low skill level than it being that hard.
The map is one of the most interesting parts of Riders Republic. There are tons of collectibles and stunts to uncover around the map (and it’s a pretty large map for this type of game). I particularly enjoyed the one where you ride a beam across a canyon. The map itself takes 7 real-world national parks and 45 actual landmarks and mashes them together. One minute your at Grand Teton Summit, the next you’re at Yosemite Point. There are so many different types of terrain, different elevations, and different biomes all over the place that it feels like you’re traveling all over the country. I really felt like Ubisoft nailed the atmosphere here because I found myself getting lost in the scenery more often than not.
You’ll be able to level up enough after a while of playing to gain access to more difficult activities like Boss Events and Big Events. These were a bit of a letdown for me as they weren’t much different than the standard events that you play throughout the game, they were just slightly longer versions. These events act as a gate to newer events provided that you have enough skill to get through them. I was just hoping for something a bit crazier like Forza Horizon’s Showcase events but there was nothing of that sort here. I felt like that was a missed opportunity for a game that shoves its attitude in your face every chance it gets.
You’ll unlock new gear as you progress through the game to help you get through some of the more difficult events. You’ll gain different snowboards that will help you glide through deeper snow or better bikes that have the ability to corner better. There are plenty of upgrades as your progress and they become a very important part of the game. If you use something that isn’t as high of a level for an event, it’s going to be pretty hard to compete without feeling like everyone else has a big advantage.
Most upgrades can be purchased with in-game currency but if you have some extra disposable income, you can also choose to purchase cosmetic items. You can purchase some of these with real-world money as well but there are enough options for in-game currency that most people probably won’t go that route. You can even dress like an elephant in a tuxedo if you want. There are tons of options to fit every wacky personality and it’s fun to see what people do to their characters as you see them roaming around the map.
Speaking of other players roaming the map. There are a bunch of multiplayer options available if you feel like messing around with other players. Free for All is a race against a small group of live players. Arena matches pit two teams of six against each other as you try to control a skate park. Mass Races are the coolest option as a server-wide announcement calls on players to participate. It’s a 64 player race where you’ll go through different stages of events all in one race in real-time. It’s absolute chaos and a ton of fun. There’s nothing like seeing a mass of humanity crashing into each other and trying to do everything in their power to get that podium finish. The best I did was 32nd but I had fun the few times I tried it.
Riders Republic is a great extension of what Ubisoft built with Steep that is jampacked with a lot of content that extreme sports fans will be sure to enjoy as long as you can get through some of the cringe-worthy dialogue.
|Diverse map||Dialogue can be a bit over the top|
|No shortage of events to complete and things to see||Would have been nice to have some type of co-op option|
|Difficult to master, yet fun to learn|