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Riders Republic, Ubisoft’s extreme sports playground, is much more relaxed than its premises and the commercials would have you believe. I spent much of my time with the game on PlayStation 5 enjoying the scenery or admiring my character’s shape on a snowboard or wingsuit.
This is one of those games that luckily is easy to get into. There isn’t much of a story, the controls are easy to grasp, and the game pretty much gives you most of the toys and challenges right off the bat (almost – we’ll get to that). It’s just a fun game that delivers exactly what you think it delivers.
Roll, slide and slide
The game offers players the option of skiing / snowboarding, biking and wingsuiting in races, trick challenges and just general exploration. Each movement mechanism is well designed and easy to learn. The resistance and speed system isn’t too restrictive, nor is anything too harsh. For lack of a better way to put it: it’s just fun.
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If you ever get tired of playing the races, you can join the multiplayer challenges. These are many and varied, and they will keep the game from feeling stale. It can be a bit of trouble getting into one, but I noticed it wasn’t too much of a big deal the more I played the farther we got from the launch.
It’s not an adrenaline rush either. There is something peaceful about just going for a bike ride or a walk on the grounds. The game’s playground is visually a dupe for several national parks, and it’s both beautiful and relaxing. Even if you’re not a fan of “extreme sports games” (I’m a casual fan at best), this is still a nice way to spend a few hours.
Speaking of hours, this is one of those games that is best played for a few hours at a time. This is exceptional in short bursts, but I have noticed that the action can become the same when played for too long (although I’m sure you can say the same for any game – I would love to) certainly did about Far Cry 6). But if you want to save time and want to play something that’s low-stakes, colorful, and airy, this is your game.
What language do they speak?
If the game’s strengths are action and quiet beauty, then the weaknesses arise when literally any human character opens their mouths. The character dialogue is a soup of outdated slang and pseudo-memetic drivel that seems to have been extracted from a zoom-language AI programmed by baby boomers. It would be laughable if it weren’t so painful in the ear.
The tutorial is also a bit tedious. It’s not optional, and it’s a multi-step process that will penalize you if you try to deviate from it. At one point, the other characters give you a snowmobile and tell you to have fun exploring. This means that you have to go to a specific point on the map, and any attempt to go elsewhere will be penalized.
Another not-so-wonderful part of the game is the microtransaction system. Granted, that’s just for cosmetics and in-game currency. But the menus are cluttered and make the item-buying process unappealing.
What you see from Riders Republic is what you get: it’s a well-designed and fun sports game in which you ride a bike, ski, and fly over beautiful landscapes, performing tricks, and taking on mountains. ‘other players in short and enjoyable competitions. It doesn’t have to be more than that. It’s not the kind of game that will absorb you for days on end, nor the kind of game that benefits from trying to do too many things at once.
It has a few flaws: namely its slightly hampered dialogue and microtransaction system. But when it’s in good shape, it’s a lot of fun. If you have a taste for these kinds of extreme sports titles, then you will probably enjoy Riders Republic.
Riders Republic is now available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X / S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The publisher gave GamesBeat a code for this review.
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