PLAY

Riders Republic

Biking our way to the downhill jam

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“THE BIKES FEEL GREAT TO CONTROL AS YOU WHIZZ DOWN DIZZYINGLY DANGEROUS TRACKS.”

This pseudo-sequel might have eschewed the Steep title, but downhill remains the king throughout our hands-on with the game’s opening hours. Skis, snowboards, and wingsuits return, but it’s the various bike styles (the game’s new discipline) that lead the pack, and how your journey in the Republic begins.

Fortunatel­y the bikes feel great to control as you whizz down dizzyingly dangerous tracks (which are dispersed throughout the game world, stitched together from American national parks). Not dissimilar to skiing, it’s all about knowing when to sprint, and when to rein control back again. That means lightly managing your stamina on the pedals, and being ready to slam on the brakes for a hard drift around a bend, lest you go ragdolling off an incline.

The only thing more painful than such mid-trick radical tumbles is the cringewort­hy tone. It’s an awkward approximat­ion of youth culture that feels desperate (all out-of-touch slang and Gangsta’s Paradise covers). It feels like scrolling your uncle’s Facebook page. Don’t get us started on the awful, Family Guy-style cutaway gags. Stick to biking, please.

IMPRESSION­S

Revised handling and trick systems make for an impressive­ly playable variety of extreme sports, but you’ll need to bat away the cringe to get to its fun heart.

 ??  ?? 1 Giraffe outfits, dino suits… you can sport quite the fashion collection. 2 Mass races with 64 players begin chaoticall­y. 3 The skies are less crowded than the slopes. 4 Youth culture or cringe culture? 5 The jet ski gets you quickly from point to point (and isn’t a sport itself).
1 Giraffe outfits, dino suits… you can sport quite the fashion collection. 2 Mass races with 64 players begin chaoticall­y. 3 The skies are less crowded than the slopes. 4 Youth culture or cringe culture? 5 The jet ski gets you quickly from point to point (and isn’t a sport itself).

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