RISK Factions is available from the Xbox LIVE Marketplace for $10. It’s pretty much a must-download for RISK fans, and other strategy board game fans might find it to be a worthwhile purchase as well.
You can play using standard RISK rules or you can infuse certain objective-based elements into the game. For instance, each player can make a certain territory a capital. If that territory is taken over by another player, the first player can’t win the game unless they get control of the capital back. Or you can have a volcano that borders a few territories and in between rounds it may or may not erupt, wiping out all the surrounding soldiers.
You can also earn bonuses by achieving certain objectives. Capture an entire continent in one round and you can choose to have an extra die added to each of your offensive dice rolls. Stuff like that. It all adds a little extra to the classic idea of RISK and makes for plenty of different game modes.
Single player mode is unbelievably entertaining. It’s a series of cartoon setup scenes introducing you to the various factions. You’ve got the humans, then the cats, then the robots, then the zombies, and finally the… um… sort of like cats but they live in snow capped mountain villages and practice Buddhism.
Each scenario gets progressively more difficult and you play against more and more factions as you go along, assuming the role of each new faction as it’s introduced. So you start as the humans, then you play as the cats against the humans, then you play as the robots against the cats and humans, then as the zombies against the robots, cats, and humans, then finally as the weird Buddhist cat-like whatever group against all the previous factions.
It’s a great way to learn the game and the alternative rule sets, the cut scenes are actually surprisingly funny and entertaining, and the whole thing goes by entirely too quickly. I found myself wanting to keep playing different scenarios all day, but it’s just meant to introduce you to the game.
Online multiplayer features include 2-5 person head-to-head competition or cooperative competition with up to five people on a team. You can play using the standard RISK rules or sprinkle in any of the various additional features to create your own custom game.
The interface is easy to use and well implemented, and the graphics, sound, and animations are done well. All in all, it’s a great purchase for $10.
(More on Techland: Risk: Factions Launches on Xbox Live Arcade)