Jump into the Riders Republic™ massive multiplayer playground! Grab your bike, skis, snowboard, or wingsuit and explore an open world sports paradise where the rules are yours to make—or break.
Reviewed on: PS5
Also available for: PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC
Cast: David Meyrat, Clara Thebault, Gianni Rossi, Marion Trintignant, Maina Le Dantec, Geoffrey Bourrel
Developer: Ubisoft Annecy
Creative Director: Igot Manceau
Studio Technical Director: Gregory Garcia
Game Director: Arnaud Ragot
World Director: Renaud Person
Welcome to “Riders Republic“, a massive open-world designed around extreme sports, including cycling, skiing, and flight suits. The introduction into this world is guided by two rocking characters: your new friend and peer Suki and Brett’s new mentor. These two assist you in getting started in the Rider’s Republic world, acting as guides to walk you through the tutorial and get a handle on the multiple events around the map and throughout the game. With their guidance, you will aim to be your best and look towards taking the top spot on the podium. While there is a little bit of story in the game, it is not the focus, and you can skip over most of it and still grasp the gist of the game. While at the tutorial, you will also set up the control scheme and level of assistance.
Moving on from the tutorial stages, you are given a few choices of where to begin. I started with cycling as it is a favourite pastime. Off into the wild, we find ourselves at our first event—a downhill race. Not knowing what to expect, I selected the racing style controls and bumped the assistance to full, ensuring to land on my wheels and additional help with rotation during tricks. This control type allowed the face buttons to control rotation and R2 and L2 to do tricks. This first race set my expectations, a fast-paced race against a dozen others. The controls were tight, and I found it a thrilling experience. I won and followed the game’s suggestion for the next event. The event gave me a chance to test out my newly unlocked stunt bike. The stunt event opened my eyes further to the way the game works, this was again a racing styled event, but the goal was to gain the highest score and not get over the finish line first. With a limit on the number of tricks you can perform to earn points, the challenge was on. Hitting the first ramp and spinning in the air wildly took me back to the early PS2 days of “Dave Miras BMX” with a similar mix of music I was enjoying showing off, hitting the finish line, and winning yet another event.
After these two events, it was back to the main hangout, where Suki introduced me to the different areas at the hangout. The training room, to learn new tricks, the store to buy some fun gear, and the big show, a massive sixty-four player event, to test your skills but more importantly to jump in and have some fun. It is unlikely that you will win these gigantic events, but they are fun to play and generally involve multiple forms of events built into one. The first one I participated in started on skis, pelting down the snow at crazy speeds, dodging people, trees, and stones, only to hit a massive jump, and boom, I am in a wingsuit and still picking up speed. After hitting ten or more rings, I shoot down to the last ring, and the next thing you know, I am on a bike, pedalling for glory. These huge events show off some of the most beautiful scenery, even if you pass it at lightning speeds or within millimetres of crashing.
Whoever made the mix for this game really hit it right. The range of songs fit perfectly with the game, lots of fast-paced songs to travel downhills, through the sky, and across the snow. A variety of music that plays while cruising, many newer and older or even remixed songs play through the six radio stations. There is something about hurtling down a mountain while ‘The Offspring – Staring at The Sun‘ blasts into your ears, really revving you up. These musical selections for the races match most of the eventing down to a tee in a thoroughly thoughtful manner.
The NPC characters are nothing to write home about, and they’re generic extreme sports folks with their own stories that never really play into the game too much. They are just there to give you hints or guide you towards new events or things you should be on the lookout for, and they serve that purpose. The dialogue choices for the game are interesting, and it very much takes me back to the ’90s taking random new words and splicing them into sentences. Many of these new words make no sense and are purely understood from a conversational context, in saying that these characters are harmless fun and get the job done.
The game’s graphical fidelity brings around some awe-inspiring scenery, from beautiful forests, desolate deserts, and massive gorges, to name a few of the unique sites to behold during Riders Republic. The photo mode adds to this; moving the camera out, you get a great sense of the scale of the world while also capturing these images and sharing them with others in the world, and the map includes several real-world locations and national parks. Ubisoft has gone above and beyond to make the world feel alive. Seeing other players jumping, skiing, flying around while moving around the map gives you a sense of community. While the map is enormous, the creators have been thoughtful enough to put some open-world exploration rewards in place. These include landmarks, sightseeing points, and hidden items like a surfboard, snowboard or a pizza delivery bike. These rare items all have unique abilities, from speed to spin, and they are a fun way to spice up some events and earn more stars.
The game allows further progress through the earning of stars, you get a range of options to earn stars, but each event gives you a choice at the start on difficulty, assistance, and a list of bonus objectives. The greater the difficulty of the competitors and the lower the grade of assistance, the better the rewards for completing the race or trick event. You don’t need to win to gain the stars, but it does help. Doing the bonus objectives is the fundamental way to earn more stars and level faster. These objectives are designed to make you rethink your take on the event, and they can be speed-based, trick-based, or even winning or podium base. Each objective comes with its bonus stars, and all vary in their profitability.