Riders Republic Review – National Lark

Variety is Riders Republic’s strength, not just in terms of the multitude of extreme sports on offer, but also in the sheer breadth and diversity of its environments. One minute you might be shredding down the treacherous slopes near Grand Teton national park’s highest peak, while in the next you’re paragliding above a 1,000ft tall rock formation as Les Ukuleles Girls’ horrid cover of “Gangsta’s Paradise” provides the soundtrack. There’s so much to see and do, and no one would blame you for recoiling at the sight of another massive open-world Ubisoft game featuring a sprawling map littered with dozens and dozens of icons. Yet Riders Republic never feels as overwhelming as other open-world games. It’s not quite as chill as Steep–developer Ubisoft Annecy’s previous game–but it has a similarly hands-off style that rewards you for playing how you want to.

Whether that means challenging yourself, only partaking in certain events, or anything else in between–the choice is entirely up to you. Riders Republic consists of five careers: bike races, bike tricks, snow races, snow tricks, and air races. If you don’t like any of these activities, you don’t have to do them, and the game doesn’t punish you for skipping them. You might not fancy strapping a rocket-powered wingsuit to your back and using it to skim cliff faces in the name of winning a race, and it doesn’t matter; if you’re only interested in hurtling through a verdant forest on a mountain bike, narrowly avoiding trees as you go, Riders Republic will still keep rewarding you with new events and unlocks in that specific corner of the game. This freedom permeates throughout every inch of the rest of the game, too, from each snow-covered slope to every oily gear chain.

In order to progress, you need to earn stars, with each event rewarding a single star just for completion, whether you finish in first or last place. This feels like a strange decision at first since it seemingly robs the game of any stakes or sense of competition. This casual approach might suit you, and that’s fine, but for anyone who’s after a challenge or an incentive to outperform the rest of the field, each event’s optional objectives provide one, giving you another way to earn additional stars in the process. These objectives might ask you to win a race on the highest difficulty level, rack up a specific score during a trick event, or collect balloons scattered along the course. Some of these are relatively easy to achieve, while others are significantly harder and challenge your skill level. Whether you engage with them or not is, once again, up to you. There are enough events and stars to go around that you’re going to progress and unlock more either way, so it all comes down to how you want to approach the moment-to-moment gameplay.

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