Riders Republic was a game that was always on my radar. But going into it, I had my apprehensions. Especially considering that it was an online-only game. But after playing it extensively, I am quite surprised. For starters, the core gameplay loop is quite fun. The player has to partake in extreme sports, which range from bicycling down the steep mountains to performing death-defying stunts in the snow by snowboarding or skiing or taking it to the air with the wingsuit. All of this comes together packaged in a by the numbers open world, which all of us have now come to expect from Ubisoft. But there’s a catch here. Rather than activating the 10th tower in a row or clearing the same enemy outpost camp, which was copied and pasted a dozen times, you actually end up doing the races to progress in the game and unlock worthwhile gear. All of this seamlessly blends together in a world which consists of extremely opposite terrains from snowy mountains to deserts to lush green forests in a single map. I don’t know how they managed to pull it off, but all these locations don’t look out of place for a single map, and that is honestly very impressive.
As far as the technical aptitude of the game is concerned, the environments look quite good, and it ran smoothly on PS5 with nearly non-existent load times when you fast travel, and even during the big mass races where I was racing against 64 other players, I didn’t have any crashes or any noticeable frame drops. This kind of optimization is surprising, considering it is coming from Ubisoft. Now coming to the controls, they are fine. They have 2 kinds of controls – for beginners and for experts and both of them get the job done. Even though Riders Republic is an always-online game, its campaign can be experienced in the single-player mode in all its entirety or with friends. There are also some other incentives like better gear if you replay these races on harder difficulties.
But as fun as Riders Republic is to play, it got old real fast as far as I am concerned. After the first few hours, I felt like I saw everything this game had to offer, and there was nothing here that could drive my momentum of continuing further. Though I still continued to see the campaign all the way through and wished that I didn’t. There is a story here, but it would’ve been better if it was not present at all. The literary effort put into this piece is more than all the writers at Ubisoft came up with. I don’t expect a good or even decent story from what is essentially a racing game. But please, for the love of God, stop wasting my time with unskippable schlock, which even infants would find unbearable. I would also like to point out that from the dozens of licensed tracks, not a single one of them was good. This game has quite possibly the worst radio selection I’ve seen from a game. If someone ends up dropping this game after a few hours, I won’t blame them because your reward for sitting through 10 hours worth of the same races over and over again is some gear with higher numbers or this poorly written sorry excuse of a “Story” which makes Tiktok videos look like The Godfather.
Though Riders Republic’s problems don’t end here, even though I could participate in a few mass races, I couldn’t find any match for racing against other players in other game modes. The player population has dwindled so much from launch, and from the looks of it, this game might end up being soon on Playstation Plus or Xbox Gamepass.
So the final question arises, is Riders Republic worth it? It certainly is a well-made game for the most part. In fact, It’s a rare open-world game where it focuses on the core fun gameplay loop rather than wasting your time with pointless activities to pad up the game length. But that still isn’t enough to save Riders Republic into a vicious cycle of repetition, just like every other Ubisoft open-world game. For that reason alone, I wouldn’t recommend spending full price on it at all.