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Riders Republic Review [PC] | Total, Unfiltered Freedom

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Riders Republic is the latest extreme sports game from the Ubisoft Annecy studio. You may remember this team as the one that worked on Steep a few years ago.

Since then, the team has broadened its horizons of extreme sports, from snow sports to everything in the sun. There’s downhill mountain biking, road biking, rock wings, wingsuits and more than I can mention. Basically, if you’ve seen a fool wearing a Red Bull-branded outfit try it on on YouTube, you can probably do the same in Riders Republic.

In such an ambitious game with the distance at which he spreads his arms, you’d be forgiven for thinking that he has to be a jack of all trades but a master of none. Fortunately, this is far from the case. Riders Republic infuses joy into all aspects of its gameplay loop. It rewards players every turn and reminds them of the basic reason we play games – for fun.

Unrivaled freedom

After a brief introduction to the basic mechanics of the game, you are immersed in the vast open world that makes up Riders Republic. It’s a ridiculously large plane that brings together the environments of America’s most popular national parks. The verdant expanses of Yosemite Valley effortlessly crash into the neon orange rocks of Bryce Canyon. All of this can be seen from high up on Mammoth Mountain, a snow-capped wonderland for the snow sports enthusiasts among us.

This is the world in which all of the game’s events take place. New icons regularly populate the world map, with each event completed apparently unlocking a plethora of others. Riders Republic makes the act of starting these events a joy. Selecting one doesn’t bring up a menu system – instead, it quickly takes you to a nearby location and asks you to walk at least part of the way. I was sure it would get frustrating after a while, but the liberating nature of Riders Republic’s traversal systems only gives me a better appreciation for the world it hosts.

Joining this short bike or ski ride from the spawn point to the start line allows you to see the world from your own perspective. With hundreds of other runners swarming around you, it feels like a truly living playground with like-minded players. For an expansive map that stretches as far as the eye can see, this is the least lonely open world I have ever experienced. Oh, and did I mention you can fly anywhere on your own? Once you unlock the rocket wing you are free to zoom in on the spot like Superman. There are few other games that offer this level of freedom, and Riders Republic is much better at it.

Credit: Ubisoft

Your game, your way

I found that once I found a sport I liked, I tended to stick with it for most of the game. For me, the two sports I liked the most were downhill cycling and rocket racing. These fast-paced, racing-focused events allow you to cover a large part of the world fairly quickly, and mastering each of the challenges on the course becomes instantly addicting.

Each event has a sliding difficulty which can be adjusted to your liking. Increasing the difficulty results in increased XP rewards and can also be linked to challenges. These can range from finishing first to completing certain laps or collecting balls around the circuit. There is a seemingly endless amount of events to participate in, but I have often found myself trying the same ones over and over again to earn the most stars.

Even if you manage to complete all the events available in Riders Republic, there is a community feature that allows you to create your own challenges. These can easily be found in Riders Republic’s menu systems and expand the amount of content available to infinity. A public voting system pushes the most popular events to the top, so there are already a few that are far from missed.

Another area where Riders Republic excels is its accessibility options. Especially when it comes to the cheats department, the game can be difficult for newcomers to master. An auto-landing mode helps greatly in this department, keeping the game fun regardless of your skill level. A plethora of default control options and fully remappable buttons also help gamers let them play their way.

Credit: Ubisoft

Drown the cringe

There is another area of ​​Riders Republic that I would recommend you tweak to your liking, but that’s at the expense of the game. Much of the game is dressed in some of the creakiest script I’ve seen in a game. recent game. All of the characters you interact with use brother-style language that is enough to make anyone’s hair stand on end. These are the kind of people who would tell you how they got to Burning Man on their gap year.

This also extends to the choice of music for the OST. There are a few radio stations to help you hone your musical tastes, but beyond a few tracks from Green Day and Vitalic, it’s a relatively poor supply.

However, there is an incredibly simple solution that makes Riders Republic a lot more enjoyable. The story delivered by the character’s dialogue is irrelevant and you can turn off the music entirely in the menus. I recommend doing this right off the bat and just launching your own songs in the background. Most of my playing time was spent on the backing track for my current playlist or one of the many podcasts. Going down the side of a mountain on a track that you know easily gets your adrenaline pumping is way more entertaining than the original OST.

Having said that, you need to make sure you keep the game’s sound effects on full blast. The sound of crunchy gravel in round hairpin bends has almost ASMR quality. When you’re in the pack of all the other cyclists, the constantly whirring pedal strokes resemble a swarm of bees swirling around your ears. This is then punctuated by the air that blossoms around your ears as you lose distances that make your stomach gippy.

Credit: Ubisoft

Is Riders Republic worth your time?

Entering Riders Republic, I thought it would be hitting steep slopes at high speed that would make me sick. Turns out the only aspect of Riders Republic that makes me sick is the offline NPC presentation. I’m facetious here because Riders Republic is one of the biggest surprises of the year. Didn’t expect to find myself trying to perfect the descents until 3am.

And yet, Riders Republic has completely sunk into me. It mimics the unbridled sense of freedom of the Forza Horizon games and perfects it in its own subgenre. If you’re looking for an octane game with guaranteed fun, look no further than Riders Republic. Just be sure to bring your own jukebox.

The code has been sent to GameByte by Ubisoft PR for review.

Tested on a PC including:
Intel i9 10900K processor
16 GB 3600MHz Corsair Vengeance RAM
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 graphics card

[Featured Image Credit: Ubisoft]



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