Starting on October 21st, Ubisoft opened the doors to it’s brand new, open world extreme sports game Riders Republic. The free trial offers up to four hours of time to spend biking, skiing, snowboarding and even flying around a mashed up version of the US’ most iconic national parks. After doing as much as we could in that time frame, here’s our hands-on impressions of the trial.
I Want to Ride my Bicycle The trial begins as you tear down a mountain on a bike and it’s easily what I loved doing most. I spent a large portion of my trial, just doing things on my bike. One of the areas where the bike truly shines, are the stunts. These are little courses in the game where players have to reach the finish line before the time runs out. The bike’s stunt courses are easily the best as they feel extremely imaginative. Even the bike races feel top tier as some of them even had me donning goofy outfits like T-Rex costumes as I plummeted downhill.
Flying is Unexpectedly Boring If you played Steep, you have probably already been introduced to the rocket suit. It’s a suit with a small jetpack strapped to your back. Sounds awesome, right? Well, it’s just okay. The races are simple and the one stunt course I found didn’t differentiate much from the races. I’d say the rocket suit is great for getting around but the world is covered in fast travel points. You can also fast travel to most events and races as well so it doesn’t have much purpose. Unless you’re dodging rocks and tree branches, flying through rings in the sky is only so fun.
Alternative Means of Travel One thing Riders Republic offers is alternative means of travel. I’ve already mentioned fast travel but you’ll occasionally need to cover some distances. One of the first things the game offers players is a snowmobile for getting around quickly in snowy areas. I realize I dismissed the rocket suit but the snowmobile is much less cumbersome to use when traveling smaller distances. There was another means of travel, something that involved a parachute but I honestly did not use it. You’ll unfortunately have to read about it in our review when it comes out.
No Freedom in the Customization Unfortunately, Riders Republic seems to carry on the Ubisoft tradition of incorporating an incredibly lackluster character creator. It feels a lot like Breakpoint in the way that there’s just very little to choose from. There’s maybe four or five face types, skin colors from light to dark then randomly green and basically no hairstyles. You also can’t choose your clothing so everyone starts off with the same outfit for every sport. You can earn currency buy new clothes but they’re ridiculously expensive to encourage the game’s monetization. I find it strange that a game touting a sense of freedom feels so restricting in this regard. Then again, I’m also not surprised. If you want to create a skinny, hipster Hulk though, you’re good to go.
The Big, Beautiful World The world is massive and fun to play around in. If you want a break, there are many hidden rewards to seek out and landmarks to discover. At one point in the trial, one of the courses I unlocked was in the bottom corner of the map. While I could have fast traveled, I saw it as an opportunity to bike my way down there. I rode down snow covered mountain slopes, through grassy plains and eventually off a cliff into a deep, dark canyon. On the way, I picked up a few collectibles and even met a guy who gave me a funky bike or two!
Overall, I had a good time with the Riders Republic trial. I wasn’t able to unlock every sport during the trial so I look forward to seeing what else there is. If you plan on buying the game, I strongly recommend playing the trial. The introduction is a bit long winded and it takes some time before you gain full control. Progression also carries over and the trial is completely free. There really isn’t a reason to not play it and experience it for yourself before it ends on October 27th.