Ubisoft has a certain way of doing things when it comes to their games – a large open world, plenty of activities to do, fun distractions here and there, and giving players the freedom to enjoy it how they want. Whether it be as part of the Far Cry or Assassin’s Creed franchise, that formula has worked pretty well, and the hope is that the upcoming Riders Republic will do the same.
After a four-hour early preview of the Riders Republic Closed Beta, there are certainly reasons to believe that it would be the case. Having been shown the possibility of what lies ahead for the sports title in our earlier preview, jumping in is a completely new ball game.
A World of Possibilities
Upon creating your avatar with some limited options (hopefully, more will be added in the future), you are dropped into the main hub area of Rider’s Ridge. The game immediately sets the stage right, opening the gates to a world of extreme sports that is all about racing, tricks, stunts, and much more.
The tutorial sections are actually fun, teaching you the ropes starting with biking. It can be a straightforward race through flatter terrain, or you could be getting big air as you jump across huge gaps, the speed and scale of things can vary, but they are almost always fun.
It won’t be too long until you start racking up stars for your achievements and unlocking new gear. Every piece of gear comes with its own stats, so the better you do, the more you will unlock, which then makes you a more formidable competitor out there. Add in different challenges in the game, alongside Sponsors, and you have a healthy ecosystem that rewards players for everything they achieve.
The other sports of skiing, snowboarding, wingsuit flying, and rocket wingsuit flying are all truly barrels of fun, and perhaps more importantly, you do not have to learn complicated controls for each. Controls for each of the sport are essentially the same, so when you get better, you are ready for what Riders Republic is going to throw at you.
There are options to tweak, and you get to choose whether manual landings or grinding is your thing. It is much more difficult to land these right, but you will be rewarded with bonus points. If it gets you past your opponents in the rankings, it is well worth mastering.
Or if you prefer, you can explore a gigantic open world at your own pace. Taking a break to enjoy the sights is a must-do in Riders Republic, simply because of the variety. Lush forests give way to towering, snowy mountains, and the canyons are a marvellous sight as well. The different landmarks offer interesting and useful factoids, perfect for a world made up of iconic US national parks.
Stamping Your Authority
Winning races may be important, but so is showing off in the midst of competition. Although the tricks system in Riders Republic is not overly complex, it still feels great to pull off combinations and sticking the landing. Every jump presents an opportunity for you to show off, even if it has little bearing outside of events that are about flair.
Then again, you can always do that with the customisation options available when it comes to clothes and emotes. There are some far-out items in Riders Republic, and it is a common sight to see players dressed up like dinosaurs and other animals roaming the world.
Even if you love playing solo, the world is going to feel alive. Every player’s journey in the game can be used to populate your game so you are always going to have company in the open world.
Linking up with friends or strangers is easy, even if the Closed Beta presented some technical issues. Players in a group can easily teleport to one another, with bright beams of light showing you just who your teammates are in close proximity. From there, simply start off any event, and you can jump in as a group.
While the aforementioned sports are fun in their own right, Riders Republic truly comes into its own with Mass Races, Tricks Battles, and the Free For All modes.
Having 64 players lined up in three rounds of interconnected sports is spectacular, even if the execution can lead to frustrations. The start of the race is always about obtaining the best positioning, and once collision is activated, mayhem will ensue. Players will start bouncing off each other, and the unpredictability of it may not be the best.
You may find yourself comfortably in the middle of the pack at one moment, only to suffer a rogue bounce and miss a checkpoint. Riders Republic does have a handy rewind tool, but you are going to lose ground on the competition. A better balance would serve the game’s marquee feature better, and it remains to be seen if that can be achieved. Players need to be able to reliably enjoy the entertaining madness that permeates throughout Mass Races, and hopefully, Ubisoft can make that happen at release.
On the other hand, you have Tricks Battles, where teams of six compete to get the most points by executing cool tricks to capture ramps and lines. Teamwork is the highlight here, as the arena is littered with opportunities to grab big points. A less coordinated team is not going to beat an opponent who systematically captures districts and activate bonus score multipliers.
While players will slowly learn the ins and outs of the different arenas, the close battles and enjoyment during the Closed Beta bode well for the future of the multiplayer faceoff.
If being contained within an arena is not your thing, the 12-player Free For All mode might be your calling. Throwing together a series of events, finding out who is the best at everything becomes much easier. Matchmaking is quick and easy, and you will be flying high and speeding along in no time.
It may be just the Closed Beta, but Riders Republic is certainly offering a tempting avenue of fun for players who are fans of sports and exploration. While there were technical issues in connectivity and rubberbanding at times, the core gameplay is solid and intriguing.
As long as Ubisoft can keep the performance up during multiplayer events, and ensure that the rewards keep coming, Riders Republic has what it takes to get to the top. Now, all we need to do is wait until the release date of 28 October to get our next adrenaline high.