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.
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.
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.