Let the digital domination commence!
These days, you can't swing a stick without hitting something the burgeoning video game industry is "killing off". Movies, TV, and even Lazer Tag all claim video games to be the reason for their dropping revenues. And now it seems video games have take another victim, sucking the life force out of it and mercilessly hacking off the bits that work to leave behind the remains: board games.
[image1]RISK: Factions is a testament to this phenomenon, just as Greed Corp before it. It's hard to remember the last time I played RISK, probably because it gets so goddamn boring after hour four. Still, anyone who dreams of world conquest like I do (as most interns do) enjoys a game of RISK any time. Just name a place.
If you didn't already know, RISK is a turn-based strategy game that gives players units to build up defenses or attack with during each turn. RISK: Factions includes two sets of rules for play - people willing to dedicate time towards a round of total conquest can play the older rules, while those players hungering for slightly quicker play can play the Command Room rule set. The latter option set challenges players to race to three completed objectives. These can range from holding a select number of cities, capturing a set number of territories in one turn, or just annihilating an opponent from the board.
Not much is different from the board game, but RISK: Factions does add a handful of original maps, power up territories, and a cartoony aesthetic. This is all without even mentioning online play. I don't know about you, but it's hard to find enough people who have the time to gather together and play a good game of RISK. With online matchmaking, that point becomes suddenly moot.
[image2]Matches over the Internet allow the player to fully customize the rules, the board, and the number of players in both Ranked and Player matches. This is what the digitization of more traditional gaming really offers. While, online creates a faceless environment and dominating anonymous players will never be as entertaining as crushing your pathetic friends and family, the online environment opens the door to all of the spicy sailor trash talking you always wanted to shout in their faces.
As mentioned, RISK: Factions sports a cartoony (you might even say looney) aesthetic that actually has a fair bit of nostalgic charm, even though the minimal cutscenes in the minimal campaign mode are as far as those feelings go. Everything stays balanced and the five factions - human, cat, robot, zombie, and yeti - serve as mere gloss to differentiate players. The cartoons are neat and well-done, despite their meager use.
Video games are not killing off board games. RISK: Factions only makes it easier to experience the fun of a fully manned game. As long as the online community holds up, this downloadable title will certainly be worth picking up for anyone looking for a little conquest and domination on the side.