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Ubisoft’s ‘Riders Republic' is an extreme sports exploration of liberty and creativity

Ever thought of pursuing a career in extreme outdoor sports but just didn’t know how? Perhaps you enjoy your day job a little too much and can’t find the time to get to the great outdoors and ride down hilly or snow-caked mountains. Ubisoft has you covered with their new original title, “Riders Republic,” where your desire for extreme trails and tricks is fulfilled with a variety of sports and careers to play.

As an up-and-coming athlete, you gotta prove yourself to get to the big leagues, which means racing and trick shows need to be your bread and butter. The game’s opening races guide you through best practices and useful tips to make sure that first place is not just the goal but the expectation. Controls felt simple and could be tweaked to design the experience you want. For me, biking over canyons on automatic mode felt fun and fulfilling where one button was a front flip, but snowboarding down winter ramps on manual mode gave the extra challenge I wanted with landing perfectly while also reaping bonus points during events.

Customization is at the forefront of “Riders Republic” with an array of gear earned after competing in events on the map and outfits that play to the game’s commitment toward styles for any occasion. Playing in intensive snow gear and bike helmets were practical approaches to extreme sports but dressing up as a giraffe or an astronaut felt like the right thing to do more often than not.

As someone with many interests, you don’t have to feel limited to just one type of sporting career. Riders Republic allows you to explore and thrive in different outdoor sports like mountain biking and snowboarding that play with different ground terrain. If you’re feeling even more daring, you can also take to the skies and compete in air sports donning a stylish and aerodynamic wingsuit. The entire map of “Riders Republic” is designed to capture unique biomes perfect for the multitude of sports you’re sure to partake in. Also, with other players online and AI riders, the world always feels populated, which is especially exciting for the competitive athletes out there.

Though there is no need to worry for the riders looking to just explore and casually land a flip or two with Zen Mode. This mode turns down the extreme pressure of being a superstar sports rider and allows you to journey freely without need for any races, career experience points or other people. I found this mode particularly enjoyable because of the game’s photo feature that allowed me to capture my most daring – though still casual – stunts with all the fine-tuning I desired.

When I was calm and prepared for some competitive action, mass races were a big highlight. A 64-player free-for-all stunt race is the perfect adrenaline-inducing absurdity that makes Riders Republic a cut above other extreme sports video games. Jumping from 20th to 45th to 17th in a matter of seconds demonstrates how close a race of this magnitude can be, and I always felt ready to take on the next mass race regardless of how poorly I finished in the last one.

Very few games can capture the experience of one sport, let alone multiple. “Riders Republic'' is an exploration of liberty and creativity in the way the game world is what you make of it. You can work toward being the best at whichever sport you prefer, or you can let the sounds and sights take you while finding your inner Zen. This game offers a ton of options to craft a personalized outdoor sports experience, and there are so many more trails I want to bike over, mountains I want to stumble down on and skies I want to jetpack across. As a cheer for all riders out there: here’s to catching the right wind and feeling free to get very, very extreme.

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