Reviews - Updated on March 30, 2022

“Freedom at its finest” is how Ubisoft describes Riders Republic. The similarities of the game with Steep, released about five years ago, are obvious: a huge open world, a lot of entertainment and a variety of sports. But if then everything was limited to snow-covered locations, then here the territory consists of different biomes, and therefore the gameplay is changing. I spent over five hours in the Riders Republic PS5 beta earlier this week and am ready to share my impressions.

Over mountains and valleys

The locations are really diverse: here is the snow-covered Mount Mammoth, and the bright red rocks in Bryce Canyon, and the picturesque forests in Yosemite Valley. Everywhere has its own entertainment – somewhere you are waiting for races on bicycles, somewhere you have to compete on skis and a snowboard, and somewhere you can fly between the trees on a wingsuit or a jet wing. Everything is unlocked gradually, and the longer you play, the more the map is bombarded with all sorts of activities.

Riders Republic: Beta Preview

When cycling, a sprint bar appears, allowing you to quickly pick up speed.

At any time, the player can press the button and a menu will open with all these sports (as well as with a snowmobile and paraglider), after which they will be able to instantly put on skis or stand on the board. So much freedom was not even in Steep, although even there you could drive on anything. The local snowmobile generally resembles an all-terrain vehicle – it quickly accelerates, even drives over stones and does not roll on the slopes. There is no realism in this, but it is for the best.

And so, having chosen a means of transportation, we move wherever our eyes look. We can go to numerous question marks – sights with descriptions and relics are waiting there. You can try “mega tricks” – difficult tests in which you need to overcome a series of obstacles. And you can participate in regular races, trying to complete additional tasks along the way.

It is unlikely that you will be able to pass this test the first time, especially because of its second half.

The progression system is designed in such a way that new features, including events, sponsored challenges, and equipment items, are unlocked when the player reaches a certain number of stars. And those are earned both for participating in races and exploring the world, and for completing bonus tasks. Some require you to complete the race within a specified time or with a given level of difficulty, while others require you to collect objects scattered around the track or twist certain stunts. So there are reasons to return to the races already completed.

Jack of all trades

Among the sports presented, there was not one that I would not like. The controls are comfortable (and more arcade-ish than in Steep – take some getting used to), and stunts are easier than ever. There are two layouts to choose from: “Racer”, which uses the buttons on the right side of the gamepad, and “Trickster” for those who want to do everything with the right stick. The first option seemed more convenient to me.

Riders Republic: Beta Preview

But you can’t do tricks on a snowmobile.

If in some competitions you just need to get to the finish line, then in others the winner is determined by the number of points received for the tricks performed. The set is familiar: backflips, frontflips and so on. You can find out how and what is done in the training academy, where all classes are divided by topic. To get more points, you need to carefully land after performing the trick – if this is difficult, use the impeccably working auto-landing.

Simple controls and the ability to do anything make Riders Republic an exciting journey into a beautiful region. After a successful race, you do not open the map in search of the next lesson, but continue to drive in an unknown direction. Drive on snowdrifts and stones, performing tricks, or doing crazy things, after which the character will not be able to land successfully. Fortunately, he is immortal – on command he gets back on his feet.

Riders Republic: Beta Preview

In some races, all participants are forced to change into the same costumes.

Sport life

Particularly pleasing is how alive the developers have made the open world. There is something happening on every corner, while you are flying on a jet wing, you see cyclists or skiers below. Coming to the race, you meet the players preparing for the race. The central location of Riders Ridge is many times more lively than its counterparts from looter shooters – crowds of people run back and forth, perform tricks in a special area and try on new costumes bought at a local store.

The scale of online is best seen in mass races – to take part in them, dozens of players gather at one point, crowd and wait for the start of the race. Then 50+ athletes (there are half as many on the previous generation consoles) get on bikes or stand on skis and try to get into the front rows, pushing and kicking each other. These races are divided into three stages, and in each the sports change periodically – you just rolled on a snowboard, drove onto a springboard and at the same second put on a wingsuit. And then they crashed to the ground on a bicycle that appeared out of thin air. Very fun and, most importantly, fast entertainment.

Riders Republic: Beta Preview

“Room” waiting mass race.

Another multiplayer fun is Tricks Battle, a competition between two teams of six players, in which you need to earn points with the help of tricks. The map is divided into areas that are painted in the color of your or the enemy squad when performing any tricks, and teamwork is encouraged here – if you ride next to a friend (this can be understood by the blue “thread” between you), then you both get more points. When the area is completely captured, for a few seconds, the points for tricks performed within it are increased by as much as five times.

From the videos, this mode seemed to me to be a pass-through mode, designed to bring at least some variety to the series of races, but in reality the idea is not bad. Of course, a lot depends on the team – if half of the players are minding their own business, it will be difficult to win. But if you like competitive games, then Tricks Battle will hit the right chords and make you want to start a new match after the end of the previous one. And the presence of divisions in the game indicates that the developers take this mode no less seriously than the others.

Riders Republic: Beta Preview

Even the hole in the wall has a backstory.

So far, it’s hard to find significant flaws in Riders Republic – at the “beta” stage, the game looks like Steep at “maximum speed”. More diverse locations, sports and entertainment with even more freedom of action – about what you would expect from the successor to Steep. And the “beta” succeeds the main thing – it makes you want to try out the full version. Let’s see if it leaves the same positive impression. The game will release on October 28 on PC and home consoles of both generations.

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