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Riders Republic - Beta Review

cameltosiscameltosis Member EpicPosts: 3,377
I've managed to sink about 15 hours into the beta of Riders Republic over the last 3 nights so thought I'd write a review and see what others think so far.

Game Overview

Riders Republic is an extreme sports game and is the follow up to their winter sports game Steep. The game is set in a massive open world, about 20km by 15km, and is very detailed with some great spots to ride. You can explore at your leisure, with plenty of Ubisoft's usual points of interest and collectables everywhere.

Players working through their career will be directed towards specific events, like races or trick competitions. Completing an event in one discipline only advances that specific career, e.g. completing a bike race will advance your bike race career, but not your bike tricks career. Ranking up your careers unlocks better equipment.

Players also earn "stars" for completing stuff. For example, you might earn a star for finishing a race, but you might earn an additional 3 stars for doing a 720 superman during the race. Each event seems to have 3 optional objectives.

The big push for the game has been the "mass start" races. These are multiplayer races and over the beta they have been mostly 64 player events, but on Tuesday they were restricted to 32 player. These mass start races have been split into 3 races, each race being multi-discipline - you start out racing on skiis, then switch to bike, then to rocketwing, then back to bike etc.

The sports included in the game:
  • Bikes - downhill mountain bikes, road bikes, trick bikes and "funkies" (pizza delivery bike, a folding bike, rocket bike etc).
  • Skiis - both racing and tricks, as well as funkies
  • Snowboard - both racing and tricks, not seen any funkies.
  • Wingsuit
  • Rocketwing

There is also a snowmobile and paraglider, but they are purely there to help you navigate the map, I haven't seen any events that use them.

When you take part in an event, you have a choice to do it solo - in which case you race against the ghosts of other players - or multiplayer.

What is in the Beta?

The content has been heavily restricted in the beta, but there is still enough to get a good impression of what the game is about.

The whole map is open to explore, along with all points of interest, collectables, stunt challenges and quick travel.

Career progression is restricted to 55 stars. This means only some disciplines are open - bike races, snow tricks and air sports.

There are only about 20 events to play, restricted to the disciplines mentioned, plus a single mass-start event.

Due to the restrictions, this means we can't test out any of the snow races or bike trick events, and very few of the air sports events.

There are also some other multiplayer events that you can do. There is a trick-battle mode and a vs mode for races. The trick battle is supposed to be 6v6, and the player that scores the highest score off an obstacle tags it for their team. However, neither of these modes have popped for me yet, so cant tell you how they work. You can also create you own events and share them with the community. Whilst I haven't created anything yet, I have played a bunch of other peoples stuff and there's some good stuff in there.

The Good Stuff

I'll start with the good stuff that the game has to offer, and it has a lot to offer!

First off, the world building is just amazing. If you have played Steep before, then you know what you're getting, its just a bigger map and more detailed in its execution! Also, where Steep was 100% snow and therefore a bit samey, RR has snow, redwood forests, normal forests, huge mountains, rivers, glaciers, cliffs, sandstone, deserts and more. It's a really diverse landscape and the devs have done a good job of taking many famous landmarks from America and putting them into the map. You can jump off El Capitan, or ride through Yosemite. There are 45 points of interest that have all been taken from the real world. And all throughout the map there are lines to follow, obstacles to trick off and just a lot of fun to be had.

Next up is simply the variety of sports. The addition of mountain bikes (compared to Steep) is a huge win and I've had a hell of a lot of fun riding around, blasting off big jumps and bombing down the side of mountains! If you want to spend all your time racing bikes, you can. If you want to spend all your time in a half pipe on a snowboard, you can. If you just want to wonder around the map exploring, you can do that too. And you'll probably earn enough stars doing so to unlock every event.

The game has also had a big upgrade when it comes to doing tricks. Steep was more about the environment and the feeling of movement and carving down a slope, RR has switched its focus towards more arcadey tricks. So, tricks work better, and they finally introduced grinding (a big omission from steep...). This is most evident in some of the snowparks, where despite being on flat ground, you can still accelerate on a snowboard. Necessary for tricks, but not exactly realistic.

Controller options are also great. No matter which era you grew up with, there's a controller scheme for you! Grew up with Tony Hawks? Great, you can press the buttons to do jumps. Grew up with SKATE? Use the right thumbstick to jump and rotate. Prefer Steep? No problem, use right trigger to jump. If none are suitable, you can remap everything for each sport.

The mass start events are also a lot of fun. They've been running roughly once every 30 minutes, you travel to the right spot, go through matchmaking and then off you go. 64 racers is chaos! 64 racers all bombing down a hill on mountain bikes on a path only 2m wide?! The races have been very intense, and I haven't felt my heart going so fast when playing a game in a while! You basically have to have a perfect race (~3mins) to win, so when you find yourself out front then the pressure really mounts!

Finally, one of the things I really liked was the fact that you race against other players ghosts when solo. No more AI cheating or predictable lines, player ghosts do whatever the real player did! Makes the races feel better as other players crash in much more spectacular fashion than AI! You can still collide with these ghosts too.


  • cameltosiscameltosis Member EpicPosts: 3,377

    The Bad Stuff

    There are only really two things that stand out as particularly bad or annoying.

    The first is the theme / presentation of the career. It feels like some middle-aged geek has tried to imagine what a "cool" extreme sportman might look and sound like, and then tried to enhance it to appeal to a 10 year old. I wanted to punch every single character I got introduced to! Soooo annoying! None of it worked for me, it all just sounded so cheesy and artificial. Now, that may be because im now 35 and am turning into a grumpy old man, but I used to skateboard, inline, trials bike and tried my hand at surfing for a while and I never met anyone who sounded as obnoxious as these characters. Luckily (in beta anyways), after about 5 hours I didn't have to hear them any more. But the opening introduction and subsequent events sucked.

    The second is to do with precision control. Snowboarding, skiiing, wingsuit flying and rocketwing flying are all worse than in Steep, because they have removed the ability to do precision steering.

    For example, when wingsuit flying, you use the left thumbstick to steer left, right, up and down. But, in Steep, you could also use the right thumbstick to do quick strafes, allowing you to quickly dodge a tree without needing to change your steering. That capability has been removed from RR and makes some stuff feel clunky, so wingsuit flying feels much worse whilst the snowsports just feel less engaging - you can't really carve with the same level of satisfaction as Steep.

    What Needs Improving

    The game is being released pretty soon, so what we got in the beta is pretty much the final product. But, there are a bunch of smaller issues that could probably be changed in time and would make some good improvements.

    First up is toggleable names. During a mass start event, if I have 30+ riders ahead of me then all I end up seeing is their positions and their gamertags floating in front of me, obscuring the track. Very annoying.

    Second is collision detection. Player vs World is fine, but player vs player collisions is very inconsistent. Most players, you just don't collide at all. When you do collide, mostly its just a small bump. However, occasionally you'll collide and go flying. It is very inconsistent. I've spent a fair amount of time swearing at the game because I got an unlucky bouncing collision just before a checkpoint, despite me not actually hitting anyone or not getting big hits on the 15 collisions i had in the previous 5 seconds.

    Third is an option for point of view. RR puts your character front and centre, which often means you are blocking your own view of the course. Tends not to be a problem for snow events as you rarely go in a straight line. Bigger problem for biking as your character is higher off the ground. Very big problem for wingsuit flying, so I have to do that in first person mode.

    Fourth, I really need a quick-spawn system. If you find a nice spot in the world, you probably want to hit it repeatedly for the next 5 minutes, but without a quick-spawn ability you can't really do it. You have to hit the spot, then get off your bike, walk/run/snowmobile back up and then try again.

    Finally, the creation club needs better tools. The creation club is where you create your own events. It does this by looking at your travel history and then allowing you to choose an end point and checkpoints from your line. Its easy to use, but it means you need to hit your line perfectly before you can actually create your own event. If you crash, you need to start again.....but without quickspawn, starting again is time consuming. If you are trying to do something like create a 5 minute race, or 3 minute trick line, its extremely difficult to do so. Most of the time I attempted to create my own lines, it would either end too early (where I crashed), not start at the right point (because you don't decide when ur line starts) or is otherwise borked in some odd way (line ending mid-air despite no crash)

    Final Thoughts

    Riders Republic has been a really fun game to try out over the last couple of days. I particularly enjoyed the mountain biking, the steering might have been a bit off but the general feeling of bombing down a racecourse or getting some big air was awesome!

    Overall, I feel like the game is basically just a more arcade-style of Steep, with less focus on the feeling of doing an extreme sport and more focus on the game-systems like tricks, stats and unlocks. So, its definitely not an upgrade compared to Steep, more like a side-step aimed at a younger crowd. I found myself enjoying most of it, and some of the challenges are really difficult, but I also found myself constantly missing the more precise feelings of Steep.

    Compared to other extreme sports games, Riders Republic stands up well. The movement may not be as good as Steep, and the tricks system isn't as capable and engaging as the Skate series, but it makes up for those things in bredth!

  • cameltosiscameltosis Member EpicPosts: 3,377
    Should also mention that this is the first game where I've been genuinely confused as to whether it is massively multiplayer or not.

    The largest multiplayer feature is the 64 person mass start events. So, not massively multiplayer.

    However, you can see 1000s of other players on the map and you can see them riding around. Some are just floating gamer tags. Some seem to be ghosts that you can't hit. Others seem to be real people you can collide with.

    So, on the surface, it gives the same sort of experience as an MMORPG - mostly small scale features but with 100s of people in teh background.

    But, given that you can't interact (i.e. play) with all those players in the background makes it a different prospect from a massively multiplayer game.
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