Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Stainless Games
Review by: Dan Braun
As far as remakes are concerned, classic board game titles like Risk always run the gamble of straying too far from their tried-and-true formulas, or otherwise remaining too similar to the originals to justify new iterations. Risk: Factions does neither, and is a near-perfect update for this popular game.
Just to clarify, the original game can still be played with its normal rules, but sticking solely to this will rob players of the new maps, new special events and new objectives, which all greatly enhance gameplay. At the core of any Risk match is a great multiplayer experience, but anyone who has played knows that some games can run on for hours.
To strip this down, Factions randomly assigns objectives to players, such as obtaining an entire continent on one turn, or holding a particular number of territories or cities that now appear in them. When one player obtains three objectives while holding on to a home capital, that player wins.
Additionally, these objectives provide bonuses, including extra dice or maneuvers. Games average about 30 minutes, and are highly addictive. Battles are accompanied by animated dice rolls and adorable combatants, including a cat army that spits fur balls, and a zombie army that hurls brains at the enemy.
Learning the new maps will require hours of commitment, and developing a strategy to combat both random events and new features will provide a great amount of replay value to justify this purchase. For Risk fans, this is a must have.
The game only has a few shortcomings, the first of which being that it is still reliant upon the randomness of dice rolls, allowing for some frustrating battles. This has always been the base mechanic of any Risk game, so most people won’t have a problem with it; however, newcomers to the game might find this off-putting and annoying. Secondly, online games have a tendency to fall apart quickly, and the campaign is a bit too short to get a feel for the new maps. But overall, this face lift is a great extension of the Risk franchise, and makes Risk: Factions totally worth rolling the dice and playing.
For more info, www.ea.com/games/risk-factions
Pads & Panels received a voucher for the game courtesy of the publisher for review purposes.