What do you get when you splash a lot of plants, sand and extreme sports on the Steep map? Ubisoft makes this answer a little easier by presenting the answer on a silver platter. I’m talking about Republic Riders! However, I would belittle the game if I said this was Steep’s summertime brother. Riders Republic is a huge step forward compared to a winter sports game and I got to experience that hands-on during a great gaming session with Ubisoft. Is the game perfect and ready to go? No, but it sure is entertaining. This is only a trial version. Bugs, glitches, and irregularities can still be ironed out. Put on your helmet and strap it on to your knee guard, because this is an intense closed-door trial session from Riders Republic!
Road trip across America
Setting up Riders Republic is very simple. Take a large open world where the player can do anything he wants; The player has access to a very variety of vehicles, sports equipment, and even fictional transportation; There must also be something to be done in this open world to offer a bit of direction to the player. With those three points in mind, the Riders Republic looks a lot like Steep, but the biggest difference is in that last point. At the Riders Republic I really feel like I know what I can do and what I’m all doing for it, something I didn’t really have at Steep. In addition, this time we not only speed through the white powder of snow from the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world. No, Riders Republic focuses on the beautifully diverse landscapes of the USA.
The map of the Republic of Riders is divided into several biomes. These biomes represent seven national parks that have been fairly meticulously recreated in the game. Each biome provides space for one or more types of sports. For example, you’re on skis when you’re descending Mammoth Mountain, traversing through the lush landscape of Sequoia Park on a mountain bike or donning a winged suit along the steep walls of Bryce Canyon. Of course, some creative freedom was used when assembling the map. Each location is packed with ramps and rails and equipped with different paths to rip off of. And yes, the world is full of other players that you can interact with. For example, it is possible to form a group of six like-minded people with whom you can play events or have fun with them in the massive open world.
Chaos to the extreme
Riders Republic is filled with fun action at the time of writing. Not all vehicles and sports options are playable in this closed beta, but we can actually enjoy biking, wing suits, snowboarding, and even rocket wing suits. In addition, some events actually remove a corner of the veil by secretly placing us on other vehicles. To start an event, you need to go to it. The game has a nice fast travel mode that allows you to easily move from one side of the map to the other. However, fast travel doesn’t always get you exactly where you want to be. For this you also have to travel a few meters by yourself. No punishment, because outside of the events you also have access to all the sports equipment with a pick wheel and you also have private transportation like a snowmobile. Exploration is also rewarded. The North American continent is full of landmarks and collectibles. For example, you unlock special equipment or collect additional experience points.
However, it is the events that push you to keep playing. Each event has a specific goal and highlights a different part. For example, there are stunt, race, and multidisciplinary events within certain sporting categories. Upon completion you will be rewarded with a star. If you collect enough stars, you will unlock more events and better equipment. Each event also has more challenging side objectives, but at the same time rewards you with more stars. When you start an event, you will be given the choice between single or multiplayer. Both are fun, but the party definitely adds a lot of value to the gameplay. However, if the standard multiplayer chaos isn’t chaotic enough for you, there are also group events available. These online events put 64 players (on next-gen hardware) into a single, three-round race. Each round rewards you with a maximum of 64 points. At the end of the three rounds, points are added up and the winner is announced. This very chaotic situation is available in all disciplines and even confuses them. For example, you switch sports while racing, which leads to more variety (and therefore more chaos).
Going in your mouth means rolling
As mentioned, Riders Republic covers quite a few sports which are divided into a large number of events. Gradually you will undoubtedly develop an affinity for one part and you can avoid another. For example, I’ve found that clockwork challenging (races) are more enjoyable than trick events. Make no mistake, the stunt events are not bad at all, it is possible to open the stunt chest to do some serious stunts. All the flip buttons (in this case, cross, square, circle, and triangle) begin to jump. In the air, you can press the flip buttons to flip or spin. If you press a trigger, you are making a left or right hand grip. And you can guess, the more difficult the trick, the more points you score. This takes some skill, because you also have to get the trick. If you know how to position yourself in such a way that you can keep going, the game will reward you generously for it. However, if you fail it, it will be a ground/snowy/sand/rock wall. Something that can definitely have serious consequences during the races.
Riders Republic has a rewind function. This feature allows you to rewind, as it were, while the race continues around you. This way you can use the jump or trick again without breaking the chain or the flow. It’s not a bad job, but the implementation sometimes leaves something to be desired. For example, if you miss a checkpoint, you go back to a moment when you haven’t passed the checkpoint yet. Very useful, but it just so happens that you get put back on track in a really bad moment. The game itself chooses a number of moments in which you restore the flow of time. A simple solution would be to control this manually. Because of the preset positions, I was in the corner regularly so that you couldn’t go anywhere and therefore a lot of time was lost.
Rudy Wagenberg’s initial verdict
I can honestly say I had a great time with the Riders Republic closed beta. The players/journalists group has just the right people when the Riders Republic shines. Interacting with others is crucial and these are the moments when the fun level reaches its peak. Is the game perfect yet? Not far from it. There are more than enough bugs in the game to make you interrupt the map or just cause annoying situations. The rewind function – used when a serious crash occurs or a checkpoint is missed – is also very convenient sometimes as you are sometimes thrown back too far or in poor positions. However, I had a lot of laughs during the gaming session and I secretly want to continue my sports career in the full version.
The Riders Republic was recently postponed. At the time of writing, the game was scheduled to release on October 28 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X | S and PC.
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