Risk: Factions review
Would chess be a better game if bishops were replaced with randomly moving Inquisitors? Would Cluedo be improved by the addition of a demon-spewing Hellmouth? After spending a few days with Risk: Factions, I’m tempted to say ‘Yes’.
Although RF does include the classic game, its meat is a twisted re-interpretation in which moggies, zombs, robots, men and yetis battle for continental control. The new factions actually add little beyond some pleasing combat animations – what refreshes is the introduction of a range of new maps dotted with enticing buff structures.
Now you aren’t just invading in order to boost your ‘draft’ (reinforcements received at the beginning of a turn). Snatching and holding a dam gives you the ability to flood downstream lands. Taking a temple lets you convert territories without bloodshed. Securing barracks provides missile support during nearby combats.
Behind the extra tactics, Risk’s dice-driven unpredictability remains. It’s still possible for a hefty eight-strong army to be repelled by a lone garrison, and freak occurrences like this do, sometimes, cause MP opponents to disconnect in disgust. That’s a shame because otherwise the pacey, not-too-cerebral RF is a near-perfect lunch-hour distraction.
As a singleplayer game, the slim six-mission campaign means you get precious few of the amusing cartoon cutscenes. Sub-par threat assessment and less-than-optimal use of structures by the AI, means you’re likely to be the trouncer more often than the trouncee in custom skirmish games.
Builds on the classic rules while keeping their timeless charm.