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Riders Republic Review – IGN

Rider’s Republic follows in the footsteps of Ubisoft’s The Crew franchise before that, and aims to cram the engine of a high-octane arcade racer under the hood of a sprawling open online world – except this time the engine is your legs and the hood is a bunch is so exaggerated by extreme sports events that it would blush the late 90s. It’s a somewhat well-known formula, but what is really impressive is that (aside from the notable and occasional game crashes) it is overwhelming at delivering the ultimate downhill sporting fantasy. Whether I was shooting into the sky in my rocket-powered wingsuit or sweating bullets while completing obstacle courses on my bike, Riders Republic woke the extreme sports fan in me and kept me hooked for over 60 hours.

Riders Republic uses a structure that is very recognizable if you’ve played any of the The Crew or Forza Horizon games: you explore a beautiful open world, take part in exciting races and trick competitions, look for collectibles, and unlock and unlock better gear more difficult activities on the go – just instead of driving the vehicle cross-country, switch between bike, wingsuit, snowboard and ski to scream downhill. Riders Republic sticks very closely to the existing open world racing game formula we’ve seen many times, but having an extreme sports version of these racers is hardly a bad thing.

Whether you’re gasping for air at a snowboard trick competition or soaring through the air at a wingsuit race, every Riders Republic sport is an absolute blast. Cycling is all about precision and managing your endurance meter, which gets more challenging depending on the terrain. Cycling in the snow, for example, is a recipe for disaster that is best avoided. Using your skis or a snowboard, on the other hand, is all about controlling your speed and swing as you slide over more slippery places. And unlike cycling, skis and snowboards work pretty terribly on tougher terrain like dirt and asphalt. Meanwhile, the wingsuit requires you to hug your inner daredevil and slide or rocket dangerously close to hard objects at top speed. Mastering every machine in the gnarled Riders Republic is challenging, varied and guaranteed to lead to a few hilarious but nasty splashes.

Racing makes speed the name of the game.

The events you will use them in can be just as diverse, throwing you down dozens of mountainsides with many different goals to shake things up. Racing makes speed the name of the game, and it can be some seriously tense competitions that will test your reflexes and courage as you shred downhill, fly over gaps, and avoid obstacles. But you’ll also need to master your showoff skills in stunt competitions, where the key to success is pulling tricks and grind on rails to earn points, in the style of other arcade sports games like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater.

Mastering each course as I earned better gear, upgraded each of my extreme sports careers, and unlocked even more competitions was consistently satisfying, and the incredible amount of things I had to do meant that loop was never boring. For example, after banging my head against a wall in a particularly challenging rocket wingsuit race, I took a break to play some snowboard trick contests and felt like I had jumped into a completely different game. With so much to do, I never felt burned out with enough Riders Republic to put it down for a very long time, and that’s an impressive feat considering how easy it can be to get bored.

The map is also literally chock-full of other things to do, be it collectibles to hunt, beautiful sights, or organic events to discover, like hidden stunt activities – some of which ask you to complete insane tasks like clearing an incredibly large or riding through a ravine with a tiny steel beam. Interestingly, the map picks up seven real national parks and 45 actual landmarks, bringing them all together into one huge place where the snow-capped Grand Teton Summit can comfortably sit next to the rocky Angel Arch. This bizarre mix of real-world locations and incredibly different biomes all welded together is not only a great sight, but makes a map appear like several, each with its own notable features, colorful landscapes, and completely different ways to destroy.

The card is also literally full of other things to do.

At some point you will level up enough to gain access to more difficult activities, including big events and boss events. Unfortunately, these don’t really live up to their name, as they basically just feel like slightly longer versions of the standard events. Instead of doing something crazy like the Forza Horizon showcases, Riders Republic uses these activities as a kind of skill check to confirm that you’ve gathered enough loot and improved your skills enough to advance into the next series of challenges. That’s okay, but not as exciting as I’d hoped for a game that keeps pushing its exaggerated qualities in your face.

To help you complete some of the more difficult tasks in Riders Republic, you’ll unlock new gear as you progress through the game, which will make your progress a lot easier. A rocket wingsuit with higher ratings will make it easier for you to spin and use your rocket thrust longer, while a better snowboard could make you faster in deep snow that would normally slow you down. Getting new gear is essential to being competitive in the most controversial activities and while it is certainly possible to compete with subpar gear, those who have (literally and figuratively) grinded for better gear have an incredible advantage. Hence, leveling up and gaining new gear becomes a high priority and an addicting part of a sandbox that already gives you dozens of reasons to keep going.

Riders Republic – Gamescom 2021 screenshots

While you buy most of these upgrades with in-game currency, you can also spend them on cosmetic items to customize your character to your particular style – which in my case meant putting on the most ridiculous costumes I could find like an elephant in a suit, a giraffe in a tuxedo, or a silly looking purple unicorn. They really go out of their way with some options so that you can ridicule your driver as much as you like and seeing other players in all their freaky glory is definitely part of the fun.

There are also a whole host of addicting, competitive multiplayer modes, including Free for All ranked races that test your skills against a small group of live players, arena matches where two teams of six compete against each other while you battle for the Fighting control of a skate park, and most importantly: mass races. Free for All and 6v6 Arena matches are a great way to pass the time and play competitively when you’re bored of racing against gamblers ghosts, but they’re also the usual modes I’ve seen in other games before . Mass races are a whole new beast.

Mass races begin with a server-wide announcement asking all players to stop their activities and participate. If you answer the call, you’ll be thrown into a lengthy 64-player racing tournament with loads of XP and awards for those who manage to get a podium finish. As you’d expect, the race against 63 other players is absolute chaos, but the kind of chaos that works perfectly in Riders Republic that seems to be welcomed and thriving in it. The absolute horror show of dozens of people pushing each other out of the way, flying over cliff edges and bumping into obstacles at top speed is a sight to behold, even if you put on a tragic show. And if you actually manage to earn a podium spot, the payout and show-off rights are immense.

The only downside to these ambitious events is that, as you can imagine, technical issues sometimes mess things up. Apparently, cramming 64 players into the same event at once isn’t easy because about 10% of the time I was in an event it crashed to the main menu – although admittedly it seemed to get better over time since the problems with the start server have resolved themselves. That said, crashes and silly glitches are pretty regular in Riders Republic, at least on the Xbox Series X I played on. Once I fell through the map of the world and suffered an inglorious death, and another time I hit a tree trunk so hard that I got stuck in it with no way out. But most of the time, one mistake just meant hitting the dashboard with just one obscure error code to keep myself company. Seeing things like this in a big online game like this isn’t exactly surprising, especially just before it’s launch, but they’re still so common here that it can get frustrating.

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