Riders Republic review – lumpy and loveable extreme sports playground

Like a lot of Ubisoft games, Riders Republic is a lot. The work of some seven studios led by Ubisoft Annecy, this is a vast open world compendium of extreme sports that can be as lumpy as the terrain you ride rough over, packed with so much stuff you can see and feel it straining at the seams. It is also, perhaps more crucially, an extreme sports game that will fall over itself in order to serve up some fun, and one that ensures that, for all its excess, you’re never more than a few seconds away from the primal thrill of throwing yourself down the side of a mountain. Riders Republic is, more often than not, a brilliant thing.

Some of that brilliance might be familiar from Steep, 2016’s equally open-ended extreme sports outing upon which so much of Riders Republic is built. This is neither as focussed – there’s a broadening out of disciplines to include bikes as well as terrain types that go beyond mere snow here – nor quite so strange, with no spoken word interjections from the mountains themselves (at least none that I’ve come across in over a dozen hours or so of play – this is a vast, vast game after all). It is deeply, gloriously silly, though, a playground told with an exuberance that’s infectious as you pedal down perilous courses in matching giraffe outfits.

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