hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Review: RISK: Factions

6:00 PM on 06.30.2010 // Jordan Devore

To many, Risk is a classic, beloved board game. To me, it's kind of those things. I can see the appeal -- and recognize its greatness, even -- but I'm pretty open about my inability to sit down and play the game for any extended period of time.

With that said, hopefully you can use my opinions of the now week-old RISK: Factions accordingly. EA and Stainless are targeting both long-time fans and casual observers like myself with this Xbox LIVE Arcade game, so I'll do my best here.

Read on for the full review, and please, don't set fire to my house.

RISK: Factions (Xbox LIVE Arcade)
Developer: Stainless Games
Publisher: EA
Released: June 23, 2010
MSRP: $10

What caught my interest immediately was RISK: Factions' distinct personality. There are five factions, each more ridiculous than the last: humans, cats, robots, zombies, and yeti. The mere inclusion of vastly different characters versus simply having each player be a unique color was a good start. Making the single-player campaign a giggle-worthy, story-heavy tutorial? Genius.

Powerhouse Animation Studios was brought on to craft the cinematics, which are gorgeous. For the sake of reference, these are the same people who worked on the Penny Arcade games. Beyond these cut scenes, you can also watch the cartoon armies fight each other in battle, and it's as rad as you would expect. Of course, once the sight of zombies taking down cats gets old, you can skip the animations by opting for fast attacks instead.

EA could have easily gotten some little-known developer to make Factions into a bland, uninspired digital recreation of the board game. It would have sold fine, I imagine, but instead they took a gamble (I almost said "risk") and went in a better direction. This decision paid off.

Factions is based upon the 2008 Risk ruleset, which is basically meant to speed up the game. Rather than having to capture every last territory, you can go after three objectives -- while still holding your capital, naturally -- instead. There's obviously way more to it than that, but I'm not even going to attempt to discuss its nuances out of fear that I'll butcher something.

Volcanoes, dams, and unholy temples are perhaps the coolest additions. The latter is my favorite, so let's discuss it. On every map it appears on, there are three territories surrounding the temple. Capture them, and more importantly hold them until your next turn, and you get a truly evil ability. You can select any one area on the map. It's now yours. That includes all troops on said area, too; they are also now yours.

The other elements -- including crypts that allow you to freeze cities and a huge missile launcher thing -- work in a similar fashion, although using them won't make you nearly as much of a dick in comparison.

Of course, if you are a fan of the slower, more traditional approach to Risk, Factions also has a Classic mode where you straight up need to control the entire map. Additionally, there's a fusion of this mode and the aforementioned objective-based stuff too.

While we're on the subject of choice, I should mention that if you aren't a fan of the new art style, you can completely skip it. Factions also contains original Risk for those who don't want the extra frills. And yes, all of the rulesets, options -- and everything I talked about, really -- apply to this normal version.

In fact, when you go to set up a local (up to four players) or online (up to five) multiplayer match, the first thing you're forced to do is pick classic Risk or the wacky new one.

Speaking of online play, it works ... for the most part. When playing with Xbox LIVE randoms, I encountered no technical issues whatsoever. When playing with Jonathan Ross in a private match, however -- our game randomly got stuck on the inbetween-turns screen. We went into a new room, and didn't run into this problem again. Weird.

One of my only complaints with Factions has to do with setting up the board with territories and troops when playing with non-AI characters. It takes forever. There's the option to completely randomize this initial placement of resources, sure, but the rest of Factions is so tremendously seamless that this annoyance sticks out.

Similarly, the other issue I had -- the luck-based aspect of rolling dice, and how crazy unlucky attacks can be -- also stems from how Risk was designed. If this concept turns you off in real-life Risk, it's going to bother you here, too. Lastly, I would have liked there to be more packed into the single-player campaign, as it's pretty brief. Still, when these are your only real issues with a game, you know you're onto something good.

Much to my delight, Stainless didn't do just a one-to-one translation of the board game to your television. Clearly a lot of time was put into making sure Factions not only overflowed with personality, but was also able to capture the interest of new players. I can't recommend this game enough, especially at such an affordable price. Buy it.

Score: 9 -- Superb (9s are a hallmark of excellence. There may be flaws, but they are negligible and won't cause massive damage to what is a supreme title.)

Jordan Devore, Managing Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure DtoidJordan Tips
Jordan is a founding member of Destructoid and poster of seemingly random pictures. They are anything but random. Disclosure: I backed Double Fine Adventure and Awesomenauts: Starstorm on Kickst... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
My hair's done did and my Teddie cosplay is officially ready for next weekend's Comic-Con! Do I impress you, Sensei? [img][/img]
ShadeOfLight avatarShadeOfLight
Replaying Tales of Symphonia for the first time in years, I only just now realized how random the plot is. Our goals are decided at Lloyd's whimsy, while we get major revelations just 'whenever'. Still a good game, but I'm proud to be #TeamBatenKaitos.
Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
Question Time! What's YOUR MGSV Helicopter music?
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
Today at work, I made a reference to the DK Rap in one of my news pieces. Any day that I get to do that is a good day.
gajknight avatargajknight
Everyone's playing MGSV...and I've just arrived in Skellige in The Witcher 3. At this rate, I'll get 'round to MGSV when the PS7 arrives.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Currently learning Little Trinketry from Valiant Hearts: The Great War on piano. [youtube][/youtube]
Retrofraction avatarRetrofraction
MGSV is literally the Skyrim of stealth. 15 hours 3%... #Sneaker'sdelight
ThinMatrix avatarThinMatrix
The Kickstarter campaign is now live for Socuwan – the quirky indie MMORPG created by the community, for the community!
ScreamAid avatarScreamAid
Excellent video game OST's for the week (no particular order): 1) Super Stickman Golf 2 2) Lethal League 3) Crypt of the Necrodancer
DanteKinkade avatarDanteKinkade
Final season of Continuum is on tonight, featuring time traveling solders in power armor. I can't wait!
Kallo avatarKallo
That moment when you look at your backlog of games...and it looks back and you and says "What the hell man? you have over 100 games on this list!". I feel guilty...
Steven Hansen avatarSteven Hansen
Idris Elba needs to be James Bond & heck to anyone who thinks otherwise
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
We need a Dtoid RPG that stars Mr Destructoid, Gardevoir, Macho Man Randy Savage, and MATT DAMON. The hub zone will be Nekro's dungeon.
Cynic without a Cause avatarCynic without a Cause
In the middle of discovering a bunch of Hirasawa Susumu's non-film related work. Currently listening to Planet Roll Call. Fantastic album!
Mike Wallace avatarMike Wallace
*Looks at* League of Storm Heroes. Magic: The Hearthstone. Diablo. Starcraft. World of Warcraft. Oh, pay $10 to unlock Tychus. ...Guys, is Blizzard evil? I mean really, despicably, EA-level evil?
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Do you enjoy MOBA games such as LoL, Dota 2, or HOTS? Why or why not? Leave your thoughts in the comments!
James Internet Ego avatarJames Internet Ego
The Witcher 3 is 30% off on, if you thought it was a bit expensive at launch. You get store credit too.
Flegma avatarFlegma
Realized I've turned on my PS3 in the past month or two only to watch Mario cartoon DVDs. I really need to get around to playing something - anything - on it.
Perro avatarPerro
Listening to Studio Ghibli Collection at work Reminds me that my dad really liked Howl's Moving Castle. He's retired military and serious most of the time but rather enjoyed its fanciful world.
Terry 309 avatarTerry 309
Sorry for my inactivity... I've been lacking motivation and have nothing on my mind right now so i haven't blogged in a while. Still playing Grandia 2 anniversarry, getting annoyed by mount and blade warband's phantasy calradia mod and other shit...
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -