Riders Republic scratches the itch left from extreme sports games of yore like Ubisoft’s Steep and EA’s SSX.
In fact, Riders Republic comes from developer Ubisoft Annecy, the same studio behind Steep so they share a lot of commonalities but whereas Steep focused on winter sports with snowboarding and extreme skiing, Riders Republic adds a variety of extreme sports to the mix, such as mountain biking and rocket backpacks, creating a world full of unbridled craziness and it’s the perfect pick-up-and-play for a little bit game.
Set in a sprawling American landscape full of snowy mountains, woodland trails and clear blue skies, Riders Republic drops you in an extreme sports paradise with a central hub area that acts as a base. The tutorial is close to an hour but stick with it as the game opens up once that is out of the way and you get much more freedom.
Like all open world games, you complete events to unlock more events and progress through the ranks and performing tricks and stunts earn more experience points which helps unlock more equipment and gear.
As a cycling fan, I tended to take part in a lot of biking events – both downhill mountain biking and road – and there are a lot of nice well-known brand mountain bikes to unlock (the vast majority from brands I’ll never afford) and the events are a lot of fun, although quite unforgiving at first as you get to grips with the trails and the control scheme, which proves a little unwieldy at times.
Probably the biggest draw card for Riders Republic, though, is once you’ve gained access to several sports and get to the real meat of the game, you can switch disciples on the fly.
It works like this: You’re bombing it down down a mountain trail on your mountain bike. You back flip off a cliff face – then mid-free fall bring up the sports menu, select the rocket pack then bammo, roar off through a nearby canyon.
That’s where the real fun in Riders Republic lies and it’s seamless (the game also has a rewind function that will let you correct mistakes as you an see from the video below after I initially crashed into the ground while trying to transition from jet pack to mountain bike).
Being able to change disciplines instantly brings a new dimension to the game and it means you can mix up the game play, keeping things fresh. You can also race around a track riding an ice cream bike as well, if you like!
There are also things called mass events where the online avatars of other players all take part in one event and I can’t say I am a fan. I’d describe them as chaotic and messy. It’s you and the avatars of 63 other competitors (think ghosts rather than real-life people) battling it out for position as you compete a variety of disciplines.
I got frustrated most times I took part in a mass event as my rider was jostled and bumped from the middle of the pack to the end because there were just so many participants in such a tight space. I really didn’t have a lot of fun with them so generally stuck to the solo play
Look, Riders Republic isn’t perfect but it’s sure to scratch that itch for those extreme sports fans looking for something to fill the void left by Steep and SSX.