Riders Republic just entered its closed beta phase and while there was an NDA surrounding the test, that has now ended and I can finally talk about this insane new open-world racer. I don’t use the word “insane” here lightly because the game is absolutely crazy and off its wagon. Think Fall Guys meets Steep meets The Crew with a bucket load of neon paint. Thankfully, Riders Republic is fun and actually a lot more enjoyable than I thought it would be. This is mainly thanks to the incredible gameplay the beta managed to deliver. Be it soaring through the air with a jetpack or snowboarding down a mountain alongside sixty other players.
Ubisoft has done a great job making Riders Republic feel amazing to play. The movement systems are smooth and polished, the world is filled with that typical “Ubisoft” flair and the entire experience feels alive thanks to the thousands of players running about doing their own thing. It really is something amazing to see in action. The world of Riders Republic is bustling with players and the combination of bots and real players populating the server adds to this “world that never sleeps” experience.
Watch some Riders Republic gameplay down below
It was something awesome to see. I would just be riding my bike across a wooden bridge trying to complete a Stunt and a player would fly into the tree in the distance. I would be minding my own business doing tricks on a snowy hill and watch as jetskis came flying from the cliff above landing face-first into the rocks.
If anything, Ubisoft really managed to capture this feeling of a world designed and created for sportsmen. Where anything is possible, there’s no pain from smashing your face into a rock, the hills and roads belong to you and no one is there to judge you.
Riders Republic is an MMO so this bustling world is important to get that feeling of a massive community. This theme of “mass people” feeds into the game’s entire experience and shines during some of the craziest races like the Mass Races. Here 64 players go head to head in a series of over-the-top events to rack up points and be number one. This mode is absolutely the pinnacle of the Riders Republic experience and the moment the start horn blew, the world around me disappeared for 15 minutes as I focused on dodging trees, soaring through rings, cycling over obstacles and rocket-powering a go-kart through tires to get the best possible position I could.
Ubisoft also designed Riders Republic to feel like you’re always contributing to your level in some way or another. No matter how bad you are, you will still earn stars even if you’re last in a 64-player race. Even if my team was horrible at the Trick Battle, I still earned something and felt good. But this theme of accessibility feeds into the gameplay too as the game’s controls vary depending on your playstyle. You can choose an automatic trick system that is as easy as pressing one button. You can also have this on manual so you need to control the landing of your bike and board in order to earn your score. Of course, these more challenging modes offer more XP too so it is worthwhile to try and test them out.
Riders Republic isn’t perfect though. I often hated the camera that automatically tilted back down so my character blocked the road ahead and I couldn’t see the obstacles in front of me. So much so that I mastered racing through some areas with my thumb applying the slightest pressure to the right analogue to keep the camera in the air. I also had issues where my camera would just flip behind me after hitting a wall. During the Mass Races, this could be a problem. Not only did I have to now readjust my camera but I had to position myself back on the road. I know Ubisoft will fix these issues though.
If you’re into lifestyle games then Riders Republic might just scratch that itch you have for something new. Everything about the game not only enables it to be expanded with new content and events but the weekly challenges will make sure you return as often as possible. Each week, the Shackdaddy Bandit Challenges offer new rewards and a fantastic cool-looking item for completing five of these. These are also based on just playing the game and having fun so you will earn these challenges as you go.
Manfred Neber, Lead Game Designer on Riders Republic says the game is going to see constant new features added to the mix. They have plans for a BMX bike, new tracks, cosmetic items and more. Even the base game content like the bicycle and snowboard will see some love with new exotic kits that completely change the dynamic of the game. One of these is a rocket-powered snowboard.
If you’re worried about Riders Republic being too online-focused then Ubisoft also has something for you. Not only does the game feature a wide range of solo activities and races, but the featured playlist is a quick way to jump into the game alone. This playlist is created by Ubisoft and will run over a certain duration and include special events themed around a specific feature. Activities will rotate and come and go as the game progresses.
Ubisoft also says that there are systems in place in Riders Republic to help new players and gamers who just can’t master the gameplay in the game. Matchmaking fits you with a specific group of players with similar ranking and the Division Ranking is also a big factor that determines your multiplayer experience. So if you’re new to the game, you will be eased into the online modes with players who are also new.
As for the world itself, there is a lot to do. Ubisoft has created a fantastic open world filled with things to see, collectables to find and tracks to race on. Every mountain can be claimed and every hill is an opportunity to jump off and spin around to earn some XP. The social hub connects this all and offers easy ways to matchmake for Trick Battles, solo events and more.
Trick Battles are fun PvP events where players have to earn tricks for their team in an arena. They can also lock down sections of the stage by earning score and the highest score at the end wins. There’s also Stunts which are my favourite by far. Here I had to go through an obstacle course within a certain amount of time and get to each checkpoint. The course is filled with tight bridges, jumps, falls and more. Sort of like the Trials Rising but in an open-world setting.
Of course, you can also spend time exploring the map in any one of the many tools you earn in the game. This can be an ice cream bike, jetpack, flying suit or even a snowboard. There was nothing better than launching into the air with my jetpack and flying through the trees towards the balloon collectable in the distance.
Riders Republic is just in beta but it is shaping up to be something rather fantastic. I have to emphasise how great the game feels to play and every vehicle and mode of transport adds this incredible “arcade” experience to the game. Add in friends and you have a good time. Add in 64-player events and it is complete madness but in all the right ways. It is just a good old fun open-world racer with a lot of style and personality. A game designed to get lost in for hours on end as you mess about and earn some loot. It sounds like it will fit perfectly into my life.
Riders Republic is set to release on 28 October 2021 for PS4, PS5, Xbox and PC. The beta is currently open for all players across all participating platforms.