reviews\ Jun 27, 2010 at 8:00 pm

RISK: Factions review


As an Xbox 360 exclusive (at the time of this writing), RISK: Factions is a fantastic addition to the small library of board games found on Xbox Live Arcade. While not as thorough as Catan or as casual as Hasbro Family Game Night, RISK: Factions offers heaps of replay value bottled up with several ounces of humor.

The comedic moments of RISK: Factions play out through the original storyline, so forget about the cannons and soldiers of classic RISK. Involving dictator cats, zombie generals, self-aware robots, and even yetis, RISK: Factions’ single-player campaign is tongue-in-cheek from beginning to end. The single-player campaign teaches the basics of the new gameplay elements, but without a closing video to wrap up the storyline, the campaign only has a few high points through its 2-3 hour run.

RISK: Factions doesn’t deviate too far away from the board game. Players are tasked to claim territories and overcome their opponents via the rolling of virtual dice. Along the way, they’ll learn to control volcanoes, freeze rays, and open up dams to rid the area of pesky foes. The five campaign missions are fairly breezy since finishing the three assigned objectives isn’t too time-consuming. Objectives often include: claiming an enemy capital, controlling multiple territories, harvesting or mining a particular number of resources, controlling a certain amount of barracks, and a handful of others. Nothing too complicated that purists won’t figure out before too long.

The Classic mode is provided for players who want to skip the zombies puking on enemies and robots using deathrays. Whether they prefer to fortify Australia or go big and conquer all of Europe, players are able to use their normal tactics they have grown to love over the years with the standard world map.

Whichever way the player decides to play won’t matter too much since, at the core, RISK: Factions is the game players have come to expect. Sure, there is slapstick and humor thrown in with death animations of zombies and feral cats, but that doesn’t hold back RISK: Factions from being an entertaining board game.

While many fans will rush to the online multiplayer component, I found it exciting that offline multiplayer was included. Playing with a second player straight from the comfort of my couch as we took on the computer AI enticed me to keep trudging along. Beyond that, the online multiplayer was functional, even with the occasional lag that never hindered the match from advancing.

All things considered, RISK: Factions is a Xbox Live Arcade board game worthy of any strategy fan's attention. It doesn't break the standard formula nor does it take any risks to become anything more than an adaptation.


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