Riders Republic Review: A Free Extreme Sports Amusement Park

Riders Republic is an open-world multiplayer sports game developed by Ubisoft Annecy, where each character speaks as if they are your mother’s new boyfriend after finding a bong in your sock drawer. And, hey, like, we understand, you know, we all like to “hang out” on Tik Tok sometimes, but – at this point, Gareth grabs the 43-year-old divorced from a chair, turns it 180 degrees and puts on it in a smooth motion – dope is just not on fleek, fam.

Apart from unbearable intermediate sequences, this is an exciting downhill racing simulator where you, a new arrival to a vast landscape of snow-capped peaks, burnt deserts, towering forests and rain-beaten mud surfaces, must repeatedly plunge down the side of a mountain faster. or more stylish than your opponents. The world is a compressed version of California with all of San Francisco removed, leaving only a bizarre population of baggy jeans wearing Urban Dictionary acolytes and a large contiguous array of freely moving lanes and wilderness filled with activities to complete and landmarks to complete discovered.

Riders Republic is alarmingly fun, a seamless blend of cycling, snowboarding, skiing and wingsuiting that manages to feel cohesive by allowing you to instantly switch between sports at the touch of a button. You can jetpack to the top of a mountain, hop on a pair of skis in the air and step all the way down again – a feat so technically impressive that it irreparably would have crushed the weak minds of an SSX Tricky fan in 2001.

The arcade controls are sensible enough to transfer from one mode of transport to another without your brain having to reconfigure itself, but the physics feel critical by sliding down an icy slope separated from cycling around in a sharp turn. Your different ways of getting around are not just stylistic choices: Tires feel neat and sticky on slippery mud and right on the edge of control on loose gravel and when you blast through forest trails at high speed. Snowboards cut through powder of satisfactory weight and start on packed, wet snow.

A man flies down a snow-capped mountain in a leopard print winged suit in the Riders Republic

No matter what you have strapped to your feet or between your thighs, Riders Republic always feels exciting.

No matter what you have strapped to your feet or between your thighs, Riders Republic always feels uplifting, giving you a sense of heartbreaking speed as you make your way through densely packed tree trunks and whiz down wide slopes. In first-person mode, things legally feel dangerous, as if the handlebars on your bike could get through the screen at any time and smash all your front teeth out.

Things get a little more cumbersome when it comes to trick control. There are game assistants that help you land perfectly every time, but you can also remove the training wheels completely to unlock a trick mode that involves fighting with both thumbs up to perform a whole range of grips and rotations. It is not a particularly technical trick system in any of the modes, and performing impressive stunts is not the core of the game. You could happily move on through Riders Republic while refusing to do a single backflip (which testifies to how incessantly rewarding the game is), but it could feel challenging for nimble fans of classic mid-noughties snowboarding games.

A snowboard in the air in the Riders Republic

Riders Republic is designed without many options to stop playing, and guides you smoothly from one challenge to the next through a complete eradication of loading screens and a fast travel system that takes you up to the next mountain top before you have a chance to consider doing something other than going really fast through a ravine again. Your goal is to collect stars by conducting events in the order you want and the game is not pale for handing out these stars as confetti. You get stars for crossing the finish line, you get stars for making particularly cool jumps or completing a race on an ice bike without tipping over.

You also make money, a currency that delivers into Riders Republic’s booming economy of custom skins and giraffe costumes, panda outfits, limited edition sponsored gear and premium items you can only get by paying real money. You can advance through various sports careers by choosing events as they appear on your map, or you can equip up to three sponsors who set you a rolling itinerary with dynamic daily challenges you must complete for exclusive equipment. You can not move without making progress in some way, especially early in the game, where even complete failure brings you one step closer to unlocking something new. Once the cascading hose tube of new stuff finally slows down to a drip, each new unlocked bike or board feels exponentially more satisfying.

A snowboarder upside down in the Riders Republic

During events, you compete or compete for trickpoints against ghosts from other players, whose times and scores are apparently chosen based on the level of difficulty you chose before jumping into the event. Here, the game’s eagerness to hand out rewards begins to feel too transparent and forgiving. If you have difficulty positioning yourself, just drop a challenge level or two to play against incrementally worse and worse versions of the scoreboard until you finish on the podium. Or, as you are more likely to do, go and play one of the hundreds or so of other events that are on the map.

The lack of challenge gates means you can freely tumble around the world and have fun and jet-pack in things, but you never feel tested. Riders Republic sincerely does not want you to give up on it, and does everything it can to ensure that you never feel frustrated or snatched at a particularly difficult event, even if it means grinding down the difficulty level.

A mountain biker career downhill in the Riders Republic

There’s a Sixth Sense vibe over Riders Republic’s approach to multiplayer. All around you, at any given time, hundreds of other players are snowboarding and wingsuiting over your head, or gliding past you on jet-powered skis with perfect dramatic timing. Open the map and it swarms with other people, their countless icons flowing down mountain sides like lost balls. Most of these are based on ghost data, AI characters disguised as human players to bring the environment to life, but they manage to make the world feel incredibly busy and fun, as if you’re always in the middle of a fifty square mile rave in that you cannot talk to or interact meaningfully with anyone else.

(My theory is that Riders Republic is located in a kind of extreme sports purgatory, inhabited by the captured souls of any thrill seeker who has ever packed into a ravine wall at 300 miles per hour, or bmxet from a ledge and fallen two floors down on This explains why these haunted weirdos say things like, “Put some apple puree on that mood, hepcat,” and “Let’s cheese it on the back, father-o,” because they’re all been skiing into fir trees and dead moments in history, and now they must all live together in this collapsed time between realities.)

A man in a wing suit flies through rings in the Riders Republic

It’s during live multiplayer Mass Races when Riders Republic feels at its most bodily. These are chaotic 64-player triathlons that pop up on the open world map from time to time, probably gathering too many people to fit on a single track, and include multiple sports in a shaky race that feels less like an X- Games event and more like the strange annual tradition of chasing a wheel of cheese down the side of a steep hill. Collision detection is somehow turned on so you are helplessly hit by other players as soon as you leave the starting line, all 64 competitors move en masse like a giant blob of meat, carbon fiber and energy drinks.

It’s reliably ingenious fun, and the best multiplayer experience an Ubisoft studio has ever had in one of their many open worlds. Whether played alone or with 63 other hot bodies, Riders Republic is an unalloyed satisfaction in a stunning natural utopia, a streamlined series of rewarding activities so open and forgiving that it can sometimes develop into a directionless fuzz . Things will definitely change shape as more things are added and the player base settles into the long game-as-a-service move, but there’s enough arcade fun here at launch to delight your inner extreme athlete, he who watches on Tony Hawk at 53 and thinking, well, there’s still time for me.

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