The new rules mess with the standard format and are often integral to winning the match. Some maps have interesting features that, when you hold them, can unleash devastating attacks. Controlling both sides of a dam, for example, lets you flood the continent underneath, reducing the garrison in those territories to 1. When you hold three territories which contain a barracks, you control the missile which gives you an extra attack die in territories surrounding the lake. Resources, such as minerals gathered from mines, or energy harvested from a volcano, pile up only when you have more than one army in the corresponding territories. This is balanced by random events, such as the volcano erupting and destroying the extra armies, or the aforementioned dam flooding. These strategic goals give the player something to achieve on the map other than just fully wiping out your enemies, which honestly just ends up being time-consuming.
Risk: Factions also introduces a series of objectives, such as controlling a whole continent, taking over a number of territories in one turn, or collecting a certain amount of resources. Winning the game doesn't depend on taking over the whole map, thankfully; you win by being the first faction to complete 3 objectives. The objectives also give you rewards, some of which are amazingly powerful. For example, collecting twelve minerals might give you an extra die to roll each time that you attack. When you can only roll 3 dice at a time, no matter how many armies you're attacking with, that extra dice is extremely important. If, however, all these new details and rules aren't your bag, Risk: Factions allows you to play the old classic game of Risk on the exact same board you played on as a kid.
You can play the game over Xbox Live and the leaderboards are already populated with strategy nuts. Perhaps the best feature of all, though, is the fact that you can play with someone in the same room. What?! Competitive multiplayer not over the internets? That's unpossible!
Risk: Factions is an extremely well-designed re-imagining of the classic Risk board game. It is a simple but effective strategy game that doesn't take its subject matter very seriously. I think that adding all of the new rules and strategic points makes the game more fun, but if you want, you can always go back to playing the good ol' classic Risk game that we've always loved.
Bottom Line: Solid strategic gameplay, clever, well-written characters and cutscenes, and a loyalty to the board game we played when we were kids all make Risk: Factions a great game.
Recommendation: Risk: Factions is more than worth the 10 bucks (800 MS points). If you like games, it's worth looking at. If you like strategy games and/or Risk, buy it. Right now. Do it.
Game: Risk: Factions
Genre: Turn-Based Strategy
Developer: Stainless Games
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: June 23, 2010
Platform(s): Xbox 360
Available from: Xbox Live Arcade