RISK URBAN ASSAULT – Review
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Follow Genre: Strategy, Board game
Developer: Hasbro
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platform: Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3
Tested on: Xbox One

RISK URBAN ASSAULT – Review

Site Score
7.9
Good: New mechanics, Solid gameplay
Bad: True RISK players might not like the changes all that much
User Score
8.3
(4 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 8.3/10 (4 votes cast)

Ubisoft and Hasbro have been cooperating on a fairly big amount of titles, to present console users with a lot of classic board and card games. While RISK was already ported last year, we now get a new iteration of the franchise, albeit with some added quirks and mechanics, to create a brand new domination experience. We were stoked to start conquering portions of the world again, albeit smaller parts this time around seeing it’s all about conquering points and areas in specific capital cities, rather than global domination. That being said, true RISK enthusiasts will either love or hate the added options in this title.

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Story

Time has fast forwarded and in 2080 things aren’t looking all that bright for our blue planet. Climate change and the depletion of our natural resources have unchained many wars that have changed the structure of our entire world. Factions now control the world, and they are even fighting for dominance of certain major cities, hoping to at least get those hotspots under their unified control. Of course, the question remains: which faction will come out on top, and whose military forces will crash and burn?

Overall the story value is quite slim, but in a way it’s very nice that this ported board game with some extra quirks received a bit of a backdrop. The situation is properly sketched and adds a certain direness to everything that is going on.

Graphics

Like RISK we reviewed last year, RISK URBAN ASSAULT uses the same graphical palette, giving the game a futuristic ‘war room’ kind of vibe. You’ll be treated to a digitalized map on which you’ll have to plan out your strategies, all with a certain blue-ish transparent appearance, which will soon be colored in the colors of the different factions. Other than that, the game is pretty much dominated by the combat animations, which offer a bit more variation than its 2015 counterpart, as you’re not limited to the same attacks over and over again. In this title each faction has slightly different vehicles and you’ll also be able to do missile attacks and so on, creating a slightly bigger mix of attacks.

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Something that has been fixed in this iteration, at least for the most part, are the frame drops, which were quite frequent in the previous game. While these still occur from time to time, they only occur a few times during a match, rather than the exact opposite.

Sound

The ominous soundtrack immediately sets the tone for the warfare theme of RISK URBAN ASSAULT, even if it lacks diversity. Overall the music proves to be atmospheric, rather than extremely explosive or ‘in your face’. Some fun touches are added thanks to IRIS, the AI that voices certain tutorials, as well as the actions you perform during your turn. That being said, it would have been nice if IRIS also showed a bit more variation when it comes to her comments. Last but not least, the commanders of the different factions also have a few one-liners during or after combat, which go hand in hand with the explosions and cannon fire during said fighting sequences.

Gameplay

RISK URBAN ASSAULT still clings to its strategy roots and the basic principles of the RISK board game, but the developers tossed in a few options and mechanics, to grant you a new RISK experience. This time you won’t be conquering every land in the world, but small segments of different renowned cities, building town halls for every cluster of areas you have conquered. The latter is already something new, but again it stays within the spirit of the original game.

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After deciding how many players will be playing (or just when playing the single player campaign) and how many town halls have to be built, you’re pretty much good to go. At the beginning of the match you’ll have to choose a commander, who possesses a special ability, like upping his dice throws, calling in a rocket strike which deals damage according to his dice throw, and so on. After that the match follows the same order as it would in a normal RISK match, namely first there’s the deploy phase, in which you can set your awarded troops in your areas or change in your star points for bonuses. Secondly there’s the attack phase, in which you decide which adjacent areas you’re going to attack. Last but not least, you have the chance to fortify one of your zones by redeploying some troops from an area that is connected to said spot and you’ll also be able to choose where to place your commander again, if needed.

Combat still works the same, namely, when invading an area, you’ll get to throw one to three dice, depending on how many forces you amass to invade. The more dice you can throw, the bigger your chance is to top your opponent’s throw, as your highest is matched against his highest, and the second highest against his second dice, seeing a defending player can only throw two dice max. At least for regular combat these are the rules, yet this game adds a few quirks to the mix, where your commander or defensive structure can up your dice throws by one, granting you a bonus defense value. Other new combat options are firing rockets with the rocket facility, which can fire to a segment up to two areas from the structure, destroying more units depending on your throw. That being said, if you throw has a value of one, your building will explode. Last but not least, there are commanders that block incoming damage from time to time, which is interesting if you’re a defensive player.

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Unlike the normal RISK game, where you received star cards at the end of your turn, which you could trade for additional troops, in URBAN ASSAULT, you’ll get a star if you conquer areas during your turn, and you’ll get additional stars if you have a relay structure or complete certain events. The mayor, who holds the most town halls, can either steal stars and give another player a bonus, or can declare a player to be an outlaw, and the player who steals most of the outlaw’s areas gets a three star bonus. Overall the latter is quite crappy if you’re declared outlaw over and over again. The stars you acquire can go to hiring commanders, building structures or calling the help of additional troops.

This title holds less modes than the 2015 game, but the extra mechanics add extra gameplay value, which pretty much balances the scales. Sadly, some in-game balance is sometimes hard to find, as some commanders are clearly better than others, rocket structures can provide for a fairly lame experience if used in a specific way and the luck factor sometimes feels scripted, especially when an AI opponent is nearly dead, he tends to win a ridiculous amount of his throws.

Those who tire of playing locally or have plowed through the single player campaign, can take their warfare skills online trying to climb to rankings. Be warned that playing against slower players can take some time before you reach the finish of a match.

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Conclusion

RISK URBAN ASSAULT is a great sequel to RISK, albeit one with quirks you’ll either love or hate. Those who are looking for a RISK experience without many whistles and bells, and one that doesn’t add anything new compared to the board game, probably better pass up on this one. Those who want to refresh their RISK experience with new mechanics and some fun options to mess around with, will probably be able to sink their teeth into this one for many hours to come.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.3/10 (4 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 2 votes)
RISK URBAN ASSAULT - Review, 8.3 out of 10 based on 4 ratings

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