The World Is Your Oyster in Riders Republic
National parks become your playground
In the early 2000s, the extreme sports movement began, and a flurry of products and entertainment pushed us to unleash our inner adrenaline nut. But, of course, no one product — like soda, is above saying their product helps you terrain through steep mountains or hang glide in the Arctic.
Video games were available for those who didn’t want to risk their lives. There was SSX, where you could snowboard through snowy mountains, or if that wasn’t your style, Arctic Thunder’s races through icy tundras released any adrenaline fatigued. Those two games and a slew of others entertained kids in the 2000s for many years.
Like all trends, the extreme movement died, and so did the video games. Yet, while we may never see another SSX or Arctic Thunder, game studios that grew up with these titles want to bring back the joy of trailing over a cliff.
In comes Riders Republic: a title that wants to recapture early 2000s extreme sports.
Hop along. You’re about to enter the Republic.
Welcome to the republic
Released on October 28, 2021, Riders Republic is an extreme sports game developed by Ubisoft Annecy and published by Ubisoft. The second game in Annecy’s budding extreme sports franchise, it follows 2016's snowboarding title Steep.
In Riders Republic, your customized character can traverse the national parks in the Western part of the United States, such as Bryce Canyon, Yosemite Valley, Sequoia National Park, Zion, Canyonlands, Mammoth Mountain, and Grand Teton. Annecy didn’t shy away from adding every minute detail from each park. So, for example, General Sherman's massive sequoia tree in Sequoia National Park has a proper treatment.
In each section of the park, you can participate in these extreme sports: bike races and tricks, snow races and tricks, rocket wingsuit races, and wingsuit tricks. Each discipline in the game has challenges, so you may accumulate stars to unlock items and progress to Riders Republic’s finale.
You can unlock the stars in the game by competing in the races and tricks, but you won’t get many stars if you don’t win a challenge. Riders Republic requires you to get 750 stars to reach the endgame. Luckily, the Republic has plenty to offer.
When you pass every race and trick mission, there are the collectibles and stunt challenges; the collectibles come as points of interest or treasure containing gear. Yet, collectibles earn you one star. If you want more stars, aim for the stunts challenges, which give you five stars.
Most of the tricks are simple, but there are a few where you may need multiple attempts. One example is the elongated steel bar you have to trapeze a bike over. It might take a couple of tries until you can cross with a bike, or you can attempt it by walking, as Riders Republic gives you the option. Yet, if you finish the stunt on your first try, more power to you.
Another complex challenge is the snowboard stunt, where you must leap from a cliff. Similar to the trapeze, you can walk through it. So what else can you do if you finished the stunts and sacked every collectible and haven’t achieved 750 stars?
Well, there are multiplayer mass races, sponsorships, and shackdaddy events. In mass races, you and 20–50 other racers compete for first place. It’s a challenging race, but trying it out is worth it. Like collectibles, sponsorships don’t award you with many stars, but you unlock gear if you finish three challenges in a row. Then we have the shackdaddy events, which are more intense and insane versions of the main courses. Their challenges are fun and rack up as many points as the stunt challenges.
Once you reach the 750-mark, Riders Republic invites you to the invitational: a stunt course comprising every sport. Unfortunately, through every effort collecting those stars, the invitational doesn’t deliver; the finale is a letdown to an enthralling game. Annecy could’ve gone all out and ended the game on a high note. Perhaps with DLC, they'll give the players a proper ending?
Join the Republic anytime
Overall, Riders Republic is an exciting game. Everything gamers loved about the early 2000s extreme sports games is here. The enjoyment of leaping over a massive cliff as you crash and burn remains and can keep you playing for hours. The game has a lackluster ending but isn’t anything future DLC can fix.
No matter what comes next for Riders Republic, I hope it has a long lifespan; the video game hemisphere needs more extreme sports titles. The game's longevity will prove that extreme sports weren’t a trend, but a way of life.
I’ll catch you in the Republic, friend.
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