In honor of this week’s sale on select EA digital content, including Risk: Factions, a special edition review! Now with more words and less nudity!
Risk has a bit of notoriety to it. It is best known as the game that can take weeks to play to completion and carries with it the reputation of the type of tabletop gamer willing to play a board game for that length of time. Admit it, in your mind Risk is associated with dorky high school kids sitting in a basement getting Cheato stained fingerprints on their Spider-Man t-shirts. Fair or not, this is the image many conjure when then think of Risk, so it was a complete surprise when EA initially released screen shots of Risk: Factions, full of colorful animated characters; including anthropomorphized cats, zombies, robots and yetis. It was clear that Risk: Factions was a new take on a very old game, but how does it hold up?
First and foremost, playing a game will take a lot less than a week. In fact, the new objective styled game type will make it go even quicker. During the campaign there were several levels that would have been over in less than 30 minutes had I been able to roll more than a one for several attacks. But purists don’t fret! The game was nice enough to include “Classic Risk” as well. The inclusion of both game types allows you to switch from one to the other whenever you find yourself tiring of a game type.
The Campaign however is brutally short and won’t take more than just a couple of hours, even if you roll one’s like they’re jeeps. The difficulty of the campaign is also lackluster to say the least. Whether facing one or several opponents even a marginally skilled player has a strong shot of winning with the computer, ironically, rarely if ever taking any risk. But outside of that the game is incredibly balanced. After having played through the campaign, swearing that I seemed to roll way too many ones statistically speaking, a brief look at the game’s very detailed stats page showed that I had rolled almost equal amounts of every number. Conquering lands and territories will obviously give you a boost in your next draft, but it is very leveled and with the exception of certain perks you can stack or achieve, the numbers won’t be heavily in, or against, your favor with a couple of wins/losses. Meaning of course you’re not out of the game even if you lose a handful of territories.
Replay value is fairly solid, and it will take a lot of time and luck to get much more than 20g in gamer score on this title. Online can be plagued with people who tend to quit at the first sign of losing though, making what would be the game’s highlight sometimes hit-or-miss. Custom games with the computer also seem to drastically change the difficulty level, either that or I just kept getting some really bad rolls of the dice. As a result the custom games have been far more challenging than the campaign. The real gem of Factions though is the, seemingly Penny-Arcade inspired animations and characters. The cinematics are both superbly well done as well as comical and worth watching more than once. The in game animations can also be quite enjoyable (I for one never got tired of watching the always happy Buddhist like yeti’s in combat).
Overall Risk: Factions is a very well put together game and a very fresh take on a classic. While it would be questionably worth full price, the title is certainly worth the time to play when discounted. It’s fun, requires just enough skill to be interesting but not dissuade new users, and the look and feel of the game is superb. Without a doubt, there is little risk that you’ll find Factions a fun way to spend some of your gaming time.
Final Rating: 8/10
CBR Break Down:
Console Played On: Xbox 360
Approximate Time to Completion: ~4 hours
Gamer Score Earned: 15g/200g
Price Bought at: 400 Microsoft points ($5)
Recommend Purchase Price: 400 Microsoft points ($5)