So we all know how the story goes; Mouse runs from cat, who in turn runs from the dog, but all that is about to change with Risk Factions for the X-Box 360 Arcade. In the campaign mode for this game, you take control of an army for one of five different factions and try to take over the world! The story starts when General William P. “Fatty” Mc. Gutterpants, the leader of the Human faction, accidentally attacks Generalissimo Meow, the leader of the Cat faction. From there things spiral out of control and a world war breaks out between the Humans, Cats, Robots, Zombies, and Yeti’s.
For anyone who has played Risk the bored game, the game play will be very familiar, but some of the rules might seem different. The reason for many of these changes is the 2008 alteration to the rulebook, which included a smaller world and more time friendly rules. Some of the new features include the addition of cities and capitals, which help add extra units to your army at the start of your turn. The Arcade game also adds hilarious animation battles and rewards for completing designated tasks. There is also a “Star” system that replaced the old card system, but works very similar. At the beginning of your turn, if you have at least 2 stars (gained 1 or 2 a round by taking over a territory) you can exchange them for armies. It can get pretty substantial, netting you 30 armies for 10 stars, which can really save you when you’re in a bind. All in all, the campaign feels a lot like classic risk, but shortens game play to as little as 15 minutes (with only two armies).
There are other modes included in this game, which is a very nice addition for a $9.99 game. Not only can you play 4 players at once on a single console, but you can play up to 5 across X-box live! The game modes for multilayer range from the new rules (including the rewards and updated 2008 edition rules) to the classic risk from over fifty years ago. It feels very refined and balanced, making this an ideal party game.
Playing a five player match can get a bit hectic (and time consuming), but it sure beats having to keep count of how many armies you have, especially when 30+ was not unheard of with the board game. Playing through the campaign unlocks new maps and it seems that additional maps are very possible via DLC. It would be interesting to see themed maps, maybe even so far as to say game themes, such as a Gears of War or Mass Effect map, but I’m not counting on it.
Although the game is great all around, two things got to me. The first is just a small gripe I have with many Arcade games. They went through all the trouble to make a Campaign mode, make a storyline, and make it all fit together, but there was no ending video, or even short 1 liner, to complete the campaign.
The other issue, a much bigger issue to some, is that you can’t play online with more than one person on a console. What I mean is if two people are at one house, one person is at another house, they all three can’t play at the same time. There is no “Guest”. I can understand this being implemented when trying to do Ranked matches, but it would have been nice to be able to play with my friends, even if I wasn’t hanging out with them.
This game is a great example of what X-box 360’s Arcade should be. It shows that a high quality game does not have to be expensive! It was very nice to receive some avatar awards for beating the campaign mode. I will defiantly recommend this game as a BUY to anyone who loved Risk as a kid! At the very least, for those who either are not fans of Risk or have never heard about it, it’s worth a rent.
Edited: I finished the campaign and added a few additional things to my review. However, the results is the same.