Video Game Review: Risk
Incredibly, there’s rarely more than three people in the western U.S.
While sitting around trying to figure out new ways for friends to hate each other for the evening, the folks at Ubisoft and Hasbro went back to the well of the most infuriating of games. Risk has brought global warfare to our home consoles and, if you’re not careful, it can destroy entire evenings.
If anything is simple to translate onto a console, it’s a board game. When navigating the global map you may use the left stick or directional pad to select territories and assign troops to said territories by pressing “X.” “L1,” depending on what phase your turn is in, will give you a tactical advise overlay, and “R1” will end your current phase. Pretty uniform, but intuitive, from the get-go.
Although the holographic units and fancy neon circuitry of the battle table is fun to look at, the game suffers from inexplicable frame loss. Sometimes the game will lag when loading in a small jet fighter, or even stutter severely while a territory is being filled in by another faction’s colour. Aside from the frame rate problems, the holographic tanks and gunships look right at home on the battle table. Explosions and gunfire effects are pretty punchy both aurally and graphically, too, so there’s another merit for the game.
The sounds of battle are mostly just explosions and varieties of fanfares following victories or defeats, and the tactical assistant sounds extremely robotic (as intended). Her emotionless advice fits the tone of battle well, but being robotic in nature did indeed get bland sounding and easy to overlook after only a few matches.
Well, it sure is Risk. Best advice we can start you off with here is do not play against computer opponents. The “Balanced A.I.” selection waits until maybe turn two before it starts to steamroll across the world, and the “Defensive A.I.” pretty much seems to do the same. Suffice to say, it is much more fun with another person to play with.
In Risk, you are a general seeking world peace through the might of your faction, which pretty much only boils down to what colour you are. After being assigned (or choosing) starting territories, you begin your draft phase in which you get to assign new troops to occupied areas. After the draft has been completed, you may move on to the attack phase.
If you move your troops into an enemy territory, you are allowed to press square to do an “Auto-Attack” on the area or you may choose to roll the dice in proper Risk fashion. If available, three units from the attackers and defenders line up and are assigned one of three dice that are rolled. As expected, the higher rolls win by default, unless the roll is tied by the defending player.
For example, if you choose to roll just one die and end up dropping a three, while my defending opponent also rolls a three, his tank will win over mine simply because he’s got a home field advantage so that’s definitely something to keep in mind. In your third and final phase, you will fortify countries that may not have as many troops as you’d like them to have, but you must have the troops already available somewhere in the world.
If you’ve got a friend that’s in for an intense 20-to-30 minutes, you can play World Domination mode (eliminate your opponent completely) or you can play Capitols mode in which you are to defend your assigned capital city at all costs.
Had there not been such frequent and severe graphical hitches that slowed the otherwise speedy gameplay, Risk would be a hard title not to recommend. Until a much needed patch fixes up the visuals, however, consider waiting — though if you really need to invade Australia while your buddy fortifies Egypt, there’s considerable fun to be had here.