Rider’s Republic review: Fast-paced, surprisingly peaceful fun

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Riders Republic, Ubisoft’s extreme sports playground, is much more relaxed than its premise and publicity would suggest. I spent much of my time with the game on PlayStation 5 enjoying the scenery or admiring my character form on a snowboard or in a wingsuit.

It’s one of those games that’s thankfully easy to get into. There’s not much of a story, the controls are easy to grasp, and the game pretty much gives you the most toys and challenges from the start (almost – we’ll get to that). It’s just a fun game that offers exactly what you think it offers.

Roll, slide and slide

The game offers players the ability to ski/snowboard, bike, and wingsuit in races, trick challenges, and just general exploration. Each movement mechanism is well designed and easy to grip. The resistance and speed system is not too restrictive, nor 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 races, you can join the multiplayer challenges. These are many and varied, and they’ll keep the game from feeling outdated. There can be a bit of trouble getting one in, but I noticed it wasn’t too bad the longer I played and the further we got from launch.

It’s not an adrenaline rush either. There’s something peaceful about taking a bike ride or strolling through 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 gaming” (I’m a casual fan at best), it’s still a nice way to spend a few hours.

Speaking of hours, this is one of those games that feels best played for a few hours at a stretch. It’s outstanding in short bursts, but I’ve noticed that the action can become the same when played for too long (although I’m sure you could say the same of any game — I certainly did about Far Cry 6). But if you want to spend some time and want to play something low stakes, colorful and airy, this is your game.

What language do they speak?

If the game’s strong points are the action and quiet beauty, then the weak points arise when literally any human character opens their mouths. The character dialogue is a soup of outdated slang and pseudo-memetic drivel that looks like it was squeezed out of some boomer-programmed zoom language AI. It would be laughable if it weren’t so painful in the ear.

The tutorial is also a bit of a pain. It’s not optional, and it’s a multi-step process that will penalize you if you try to deviate. At one point, the other characters give you a snowmobile and tell you to have fun exploring. This means going 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, it’s just for cosmetics and in-game currency. But the menus are cluttered and make the process of purchasing items unappealing.

It is complicated

What you see from Riders Republic is what you get: it’s a well-made and fun sports game where you bike, ski and fly over beautiful landscapes, perform tricks and race against others players in short and enjoyable competitions. It doesn’t need to be more than that. It’s not the kind of game that will absorb you for days, nor the kind of game that benefits from trying to do too many things at once.

It has a few flaws: namely its dialogue and slightly self-aware microtransaction system. But when it’s in shape, it’s a lot of fun. If you like these kinds of extreme sports titles, you’ll probably enjoy Riders Republic.

Riders Republic is available now 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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Earnest L. Veasey