When it comes to Ubisoft and its huge stable of games, the common theme that runs through is that they tend to build on each other, evolving into usually better iterations that brings something new to the table. With Riders Republic, that is largely the case, twisting the familiar formula of arcade racing into something endlessly entertaining no matter your preference of sport.
It doesn’t really matter whether you are a fan of downhill racing on a bike, taking to the air in rocket-powered wingsuits, or tackling the snow in skis and snowboards – racing is pure fun and ecstasy thanks to Riders Republic’s attention to detail for the various modes of transportation and racing.
Extreme biking is all about precision and stamina management, testing players’ abilities in navigating steep slopes and huge jumps while maintaining a speedy approach. As for the snowboards and skis, managing the thick blanket of snow with speed and momentum in consideration offers a whole other problem to overcome.
Then you have the wingsuits, the perfect encapsulation of pushing the limit and living dangerously as you glide perilously close to sharp peaks and vegetation at breakneck speed. Needless to say, you are always going to be sitting at the edge of your seats in every event.
It is this variety that allows Riders Republic to house an open world full of activities, sights, and sounds to enjoy. The beautiful and picturesque amalgamation of iconic USA parks has a ton to do, and it is not just the races. You could be hunting down collectables scattered around, making memories at sightseeing spots, or partaking in a secret stunt activity or two.
For a game that is all about the extremes, it is perhaps fitting that the world is a spectacular mishmash of distinct biomes and physical features, where the snowy mountains can easily give way to a rocky canyon. When things are so amazingly brought to life, it only makes the player more eager to explore and immerse themselves in this lovely creation.
While you can most certainly spend your time moving from location to location using any of the trusty transportation methods outlined above, the element of competition remains in the many events found in Riders Republic.
You could find yourself becoming a master at races that demand speed, but there are plenty of other variations that will expand not just your proficiencies, but also your appreciation for the nuances of the sport. Riders with reflexes and nerves of steel will also do well to be trained in pulling off stunts and showing off when the need arises, every course has the potential to surprise you in various ways.
By completing and mastering the objectives of each event, players work toward levelling up their respective sporting careers, bringing more events and gear into the mix.
There is no denying that this addictive feedback loop is made to keep players constantly plugged in, and if there is ever a time you might be struggling, just change to a new sport, and you will likely be refreshed and ready to go again. It is simply too hard to resist another go in Riders Republic.
By dangling the idea of improved loot to incentivise the player, the more you are able to accomplish now, the more Riders Republic will open up to you. Better stats mean better performances, and as you slowly build up a collection of specialised gear, the better equipped you would be to take on tougher challenges from the game or other players.
This counts especially when it comes to Big Events and Boss Events, which functionally act as milestones that signify your entry into the next tier of challenges that await. Although they are positioned as huge steps, these events could perhaps have done crazier things rather than just be longer versions of familiar affairs, but they still fulfil their purpose one way or the other.
Thankfully, Ubisoft has not included pay-to-win microtransactions in the game, with everything available for purchase through in-game currency or earned. If you are looking to spend real money, those will come in the form of outlandish cosmetics that serve to accentuate just how wacky Riders Republic and its players can be.
In fact, having fun with other players is a key component of Riders Republic, with the competitive multiplayer perfectly suited for that. Even though Free for All races are essentially the same as their single-player counterparts, going up against real players takes things to a whole new level.
For those that prefer to show off their skills, the team-based Tricks Battle will likely be more satisfying. Teams of six go head to head in a battle to mark territory and score the biggest points, and with a competent team, you can really scorch the opposition and score those bragging rights. On the other hand, just watching everyone else try to figure things out and still have fun is also a great time.
Still, the biggest multiplayer draw comes from Riders Republic’s Mass Races, a 64-player mad dash to the end that is as fun as it is crazy. Available to players server-wide, all you need to do is show up and get ready for an intense competition that takes place over stages.
The chaos that ensues is immensely entertaining, even when you are losing, as there is quite nothing like the insanity of players smashing into each other, the environment, or flying through the air in a mass of bodies vying for the top spot. Should you somehow find yourself on top at the end, the satisfaction is well-earned and a great reflection of your skill and perhaps, luck.
As one would expect, technical issues can crop up here and there for Mass Races more than any other of the modes in Riders Republic. Rubberbanding is normal enough, although there are also instances where crashes can happen. Performances have slowly steadied following launch, and hopefully, we will reach a stage where such issues become an exception.
Then again, that is a small part of what lies ahead in Riders Republic. What Ubisoft has managed to do for an open-world racing game is ambitious, but more importantly, it delivers on almost every front. All the sports are fun to engage in, and the sheer size of the world and the variety it brings will keep players pleasantly occupied consistently. Save for some technical issues, Riders Republic is most definitely a world worth diving into.
Riders Republic is available on the PSN Store for $84.90.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
A stupendously fun time awaits in a world brimming with possibilities and mayhem at every turn in Riders Republic, just be wary of technical hiccups.
Gameplay - 9/10
Story - 7/10
Presentation - 8/10
Value - 8/10