In: Reviews by Chris "FighterAce100" Salazar2 Aug 2010
I have always been a big fan of board games, especially when you can play with more than just two players, and what better than a long and drawn out game of Risk? You know, the five hour investment it takes to even come close to winning?
Now Hasbro and EA games released a new Risk alternative, one of the many available to buy for either your computer or as a actual board game (Yes, they still make those). What can you expect from spending 400 Microsoft Points?
For starters, this is not your regular game of Risk we’re all so familiar with — now called Risk Classic Edition. Stainless Games decided to add a another new addition to the Risk family called “Command Room,” based off a 2008 rule set. The goal is to complete three “objectives” and remain in control of your capital by the completion of the third objective. This mode also offers more than 10 maps to choose from, and map selection varies based on the amount of players in the game. Now that’s what I like to see from a XBLA game!
When choosing to play a game with just computer-controlled AI, you can choose between “Classic Risk” and “Command Room.” Once again, the “Classic” Risk uses the traditional world map and continents for your fight to complete world domination. Old school right here. In new the Command Room, maps vary in difficulty and size based on the amount of players you want to play. Once you successfully win on a map, a star is placed next to that map so you can keep track of your progress through the game. The computer AI seems to adjust itself based on how you play the game, with it sometimes being flat-out dumb and naive while at other times the AI seems to be aware of what’s going on and determined to invade your empire.
After playing several games, I am still at a loss to figure out how the AI determines what it is trying to do and why it makes some its decisions. If you want a sure-fought battle with the AI, invade its capital within the first few turns, if possible. (This also happens to be a “objective” for most games, and when completed gives you special bonuses you can choose to activate).
As in classic Risk, cards or “stars” are given for invading a territory per turn. You can only receive up to two stars per turn, regardless of how many territories you invade. Once you collect two or more stars, they can be traded in for additional troops at the beginning of your next turn. It progressively doubles as you gain stars, up to a maximum of 10 to trade in. That gives you a instant boost of 30 troops on top of the ones you receive for territories, capitals in your control and completed objectives. Time to take out the trash!
As we all know, Risk can take hours to play, but when deciding to play the type of game you want, you are given the option to choose either a “quick,” “normal,” or “epic” game. Epic games are for those hardcore Risk fanatics out there. Plan on setting aside a good two hours or more to play a five-player game versus the AI, or more if you take on other players on Xbox Live. “Normal” and “quick” games can last anywhere from 10 minutes to a little over a hour if you want to drag it out.
Gameplay during Risk is by all means fun, and the campaign keeps you playing until you beat it. Unfortunately, the campaign mode is very short, with only five scenarios. Each scenario completed unlocks a new faction for you to play with. Each faction sports a different color but has no special ability over the others. The true value of this game comes from the unlimited ability to play the AI on the settings and maps of your choice or over other players on Xbox Live. You can also play with others locally, although you are limited to four players. If you can’t find enough players over Live or at home, the game allows you to sub in AI to fill the last slots and start a game.
During gameplay, you can choose to either roll one, two or three dice (depending on the size of your army in that territory). There is a fun animation to watch as the factions battle it out for a new territory, or if you just want to get on with it and go for a faster game you can take the “fast roll” option and speed up the process. The only draw back with using that feature is the game will not stop attacking until you take that territory or lose all the troops in that area you attacked with. Not cool.
As you play more often, you might find you can’t finish a game and want to save it. This option is only available in single-player campaign mode or in a custom game with computer AI. If you are playing someone, this feature is disabled. I have noticed a bug which causes issues loading a previously saved game with only AI — it freezes the Xbox. I haven’t had any other bugs or issues associated with the game.
All in all, I would recommend this game to anyone who loves to play strategy games, loves Risk, or wants to have a fun game to play with the whole family. Its easy to use, provides endless hours of entertainment and offers unlimited replayability. For $10, you can’t go wrong. Try it for yourself free by downloading the demo over XBLA. See you on the front lines!
Stainless Games/Electronic Arts
Xbox Live Arcade Marketplace
400 Microsoft Points ($10)
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