Riders Republic – Review

Ever dreamed of living life on the edge, fuelled with adrenaline but never quite had the guts?
With Ubisoft’s new extreme sports game, Riders Republic, now you can from the comfort of your couch or gaming chair.

Following on from the Steep series, Ubisoft brings us a high energy, adrenaline packed game where you, the player, take on the various thrills scattered over Rider’s Ridge as you get to compete in races and events on a bicycle, skis, snowboards or gliding through the air in a winged suit (as well as a rocket winged suit – yes, you heard that right).


The Game.

Riders Republic is a Mass Multiplayer Online extreme sports arcade racer that puts the thrill of some of the most extreme sports right at your fingertips, while in the safety of your own home.  At least crashes here don’t result in trips to the local hospital.

Enter the player – an up and coming, head turning, triple threat. adventure seeker who has just found themself at the heart of the world’s raddest community known as the Riders Republic.  The republic is a community of likeminded thrill-seekers who have taken to living out their lives on the mountain and kicking back at the community’s HQ, known as the Riders Ridge. The rider’s playground is an area based on some of America’s best known National parks, including Bryce Canyon, Yosemite Valley, Sequoia, Zion, Canyonlands, Mammoth Mountain and Grand Teton.  All these parks have been creatively reimagined and mashed together to create the ultimate rider’s playground.

Like everyone else in the Republic, the focus here is not to become the best but to live the best life that you can with like minded people while shredding it up on the world’s biggest and sickest trails. And, of course, while doing this and having fun, some added rewards come your way for doing the best that you can do.  These rewards come in many shapes and forms, although mostly in the shapes of stars that are used to track progression and level you up as you win races and complete challenges.  That being said – Ubisoft has put big emphasis here on community involvement and having fun more than the need to win.  Of course, with Riders Republic being a racing game, winning and doing well are still an important part of it but once you get into it, you will find that there’s so much more than just winning and even a solid win on a tough course feels secondary to all the other things that this game has going on.

Teaming up with friends, as always, brings an awesome aspect to the game and the fact that wherever you go on the map, there are actual real players around you, all the time, doing their things, adds a really cool component to Riders Republic as you really do start to get the sense that you are part of a larger community here.  And cross platform is supported – so the community is LARGE.

Riders Republic has many options for you to choose where to get your latest rush of adrenaline in the 3 main sport types already listed above (bicycle, ski/snowboard, and winged suit). In each sports type, there are a plethora of options to add some nice variation to a game that already has so much to offer.

Conquering the mountain can be done in the following ways:
Career: Progress through the story of Riders Republic as you make a name for yourself and carve your story into the republic.  Progress through various events and sport types, picking up acclaim and sponsors on your way. 
Mass Races:
The wilder the better.  Mass races are multisport races where you compete with up to 50 other players in some of the whackiest things you’ve ever seen.  Remain agile and swift as you battle your way through the pack to get the W.
Versus Mode: Join up with 5 friends in any of the available career events and see who gets to be Ridge Royalty amongst you. 
Tricks Battles:
Compete in 6v6 arena matchups and try to successfully land as many tricks as possible in the various areas of the arena to capture them and earn points.  The team with the most tricks, and therefore the most points, wins. 
Challenge up to 11 other players and show them what you’re made of through a select playlist of events. 
Not everything is about racing.  There is so much to be seen and discovered in Riders Republic that sometimes that only way to do that is to disconnect from the competition and just follow the wind and see where it takes you.

As you progress through the game and earn stars and in-game currency, you can customize your rider to look anything from seasoned pro to something quite ridiculous – although there is a weird sense of satisfaction you get while wrecking the competition in a giraffe or t-rex costume.  As you earn reputation, you will also be awarded with new and better gear, sign with famous sponsors and be invited to notable (and real) competitions and events like Red Bull Rampage and the X Games.


My Experience.

Being a rather keen biker myself, both in Gravity and XC, as well as having a fair amount of experience in trail building, I was most excited for the bike section of Riders Republic and, while I have tried all there is to try with this game, I must own up to the fact that the majority of my time in game was spent on the saddle of my latest and greatest bicycle, especially since I got to ride some bikes that I can only dream of riding in real life.

With that out the way, I booted up Riders Republic with great anticipation and expectation as I wondered if this title would live up to the hype that surrounded it.  Spoiler alert – It did.

The game starts with a very Steep feel as it puts you in the heart of the action from the get-go, giving you a good taste of what’s to come.

As I journeyed around the republic, I fell in love with the look and feel of this game.  Ubisoft has worked wonders in capturing the essence of the extreme sports community, while drawing them back to the land as they recreated some of the best riding terrain known to man (stoked I got to ride some of them – now to ride them for real).  And they did all this and made it look really good too!

Now for some, Riders Republic may err on the side of too much with everything that it embodies, but I think it’s just right. It has perfectly captured the heart of the extreme sports culture, including the slang and sayings that are well known in these circles.  Lets face it – sometimes “that trail was amazing” just doesn’t cut it and you have to go with a “Shwa bruh, that line was gnarly man.  Definitely reshreddable” hits the spot just right.

One of two small aspects that they’ve added to the game which I think really were a nice touch is the control options.  You have a choice of two control setups if you will, Race and Trick.  Now its not quite as linear as that as you can use Trick in race events and Race in trick events.  What it means is the focus of these controls.  With Race controls, you have control of the camera with the left stick (yes, we played this on Xbox) and do various tricks with A, B, X, and Y.  This control setup does work well for events where speed is the focus.  Trick controls allows you to control the tricks with the left stick and you then have no camera control.
Both of these configurations have their definite pros and cons, but I found that I ended up enjoying the Trick configuration more as it just felt smoother to do as the tricks just rolled off.  For newer players though, I did find the Race configuration easier to start with as I got used to the various aspects of the game.

The other aspect that really adds so much value is the choice between first- and third-person view.  Want to feel like you’re actually riding? Mash that stick down and get into first-person view.  I found this view best for racing as it let me carefully choose my lines and pick up my speed.  Third person was used out of races and when I was just exploring or in trick events.  I must add here that all tricks are done in third person view as you definitely want to see some of the sick stuff you’re pulling off.


Final Thoughts.

Whether you actually do one of the sports in game (although I highly doubt any of us do much rocket suiting) or have never touched any of them, Riders Republic brings so much more to the plate that will keep any gamer entertained for hours on end.  It especially serves as nice, and very different, change of pace and scenery from the usual shooters, RPGs and other sports games out there.

In closing, Riders Republic really is a well-rounded extreme sports game that I think anyone will be able to enjoy.  And with that in mind, I award Riders Republic with the following ratings:

Visual beauty: 10/10
Variation: 9/10
Ease of play: 9/10
Enjoyment: 9/10
With an overall Early Axes rating of 9/10.

A big thank you to Prima Interactive for sending us a copy of this game to try.