Riders Republic review: Ride or die

Ubisoft's Riders Republic is an exciting extreme sports game that doesn't take itself seriously.

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It feels like we don’t get many of the wacky extreme sports games that were so prevalent throughout the 90s and 2000s anymore. The ones that let you pull off wildly unrealistic but hilariously fun tricks with friends and maybe even some random players online. It’s why Riders Republic caught my attention. Riders Republic delivers an excellent extreme sports experience that’s often bogged down by server issues and multiplayer frustrations.

To the extreme

In Riders Republic, players take on the role of an up and coming extreme sports athlete, looking to get out there and make a name for themself. To do so, you’ll participate in a plethora of sporting activities from Bicycling, to skiing, snowboarding, wingsuiting, and more. Players will need to master them all in order to be one of the best.

One of the things that I immediately appreciated about Riders Republic was how unique and authentic all of the different sports felt. Going from riding a bike down a dirt path on the side of a mountain to skiing down icy hills feels entirely different. One of my biggest concerns going in was that the different sports would feel half-baked and too similar, but that’s far from the case in Riders Republic. Each sport has its own unique feel, as well as its own control set for different tricks and maneuvers.

Because of this, it’s cool seeing how skills translate to different events. I’m really good with the bicycle, and usually finished in first when playing with my friends. My brother is far better than me with the jet-powered wingsuit, and usually won with ease while I was missing checkpoints and flying into trees.

Within each sport, there’s also a lot of different event types to jump into. There’s standard races, time trials, head-to-head challenges, and plenty more. It’s very arcade-like, and I got a lot of enjoyment out of just trying to beat my personal record or finish ahead of my friends.

My favorite event in the game is the triathlon-style race, in which players switch between different sports over the course of one race. You may start on a bicycle, and then jump off of a ramp and then change into a wingsuit, and then finish the race on a snowboard. It’s everything great about the game coming together at once in a challenging and exciting way.

Social cues

The true selling point behind Riders republic is its social aspect. Players can go online and participate in races with large lobbies, or go against their friends privately. Playing online is some of the best stuff that you can do in Riders Republic… when it works.

The game suffers from some pretty harsh server issues. Playing on PC, there were an abundance of glitches and server-related crashes during my time with the game. From constantly getting kicked out of lobbies to an unplayable lag in some instances, Riders Republic’s online woes got in its own way of being a superb multiplayer experience. Luckily for Ubisoft, the worst issues will hopefully improve over time as more patches come to the game.

When the online mode is functioning properly, it’s electric. Participating in a race with 50 players all going down the same hill at once was complete chaos, but it was my kind of chaos. I love that Riders Republic doesn’t take itself too seriously, with over-the-top animations, cartoonish personalities, and silliness at every turn.

On the open road

The map in Riders Republic is rather large, and features different biomes tailored towards the available sporting events. Players have the option to fast travel, or they can opt to make the journey on the vehicle of their choosing. I dug how the map blended different environments together, and it was fun just screwing around testing different vehicle and environment combinations, like biking in the snow or skiing down a rocky mountain.

Ubisoft games are often criticized for their open worlds, but the decision to make Riders Republic an open world rather than individual races selected from a menu works perfectly. When you’re out riding freestyle, there are a ton of different races that you can physically approach, inviting friends or other players from your server.

Riders Republic is also a pretty visually impressive game. The models look really good, and there's a lot of fine details on the bikes, snowboards, skis, and wingsuits. There’s also some really good environmental effects, like the way the snow kicks up when I turn my snowboard, or how trees and bushes react to me hitting or going through them.

Look the part

Cosmetics are a big part of Riders Republic, and I don’t mean that in a microtransaction-palooza way. There’s a good deal of customization options, which players can acquire from a few different methods. Completing races and making story progress will reward players with different gear to wear as well as visual customization options for their vehicles. There’s a diverse library of cosmetics that really help to personalize each player.

You can also have different preset outfits depending on the sporting event. For example, the outfit you wear while snowboarding in cold weather is completely different from what you’d wear while on a bicycle. When you swap between sports, the outfit changes as well. There’s a sense of pride in seeing yourself at the starting line, swagged out in rare gear.

You can capture your favorite looks and moves in Riders Republic with photo mode. A feature that’s becoming more and more popular in games, the photo mode is a fun tool to play around with in Riders Republic. I would constantly pause mid-air to catch cool shots of my character performing tricks. Photo mode allows you to change the time of day, as well as customize brightness, contrast, aperture, and saturation.

Riders Republic has a large catalogue of licensed tunes for players to jam out to while they're cruising around the world, from Green Day and The Offspring to Ice-T and Denzel Curry, there's a decent array of music that fits into the game's care-free vibe.

To the republic

Riders Republic is a surprisingly good time with arcade-like extreme sports that feel thoroughly unique from one another. Online events are the best parts of the game, though it can get bogged down by glitches and server-related issues. Despite that, Riders Republic is still one of my surprise pleasures of 2021.


This review is based on a digital PC code provided by the publisher. Riders Republic is available now on Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PS4, PS5, and PC for $49.99

News Editor

Donovan is a young journalist from Maryland, who likes to game. His oldest gaming memory is playing Pajama Sam on his mom's desktop during weekends. Pokémon Emerald, Halo 2, and the original Star Wars Battlefront 2 were some of the most influential titles in awakening his love for video games. After interning for Shacknews throughout college, Donovan graduated from Bowie State University in 2020 with a major in broadcast journalism and joined the team full-time. He is a huge Star Wars nerd and film fanatic that will talk with you about movies and games all day. You can follow him on twitter @Donimals_

Review for
Riders Republic
8
Pros
  • Each sport feels satisfying and unique
  • Wide range of customization
  • Online events are fun chaos
  • Diverse environments and locations
Cons
  • Online is bogged down by bugs and server issues
  • Gameplay bugs and glitches
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