I approached my play-through of Risk: Urban Assault with an air of trepidation. I’m a huge fan of its table-top ancestor, and turn based strategy games, but was wary that nothing would be a favourable comparison to playing the game around a table. I was surprised to learn that this version of the game gets the familiar dice-play right. It also adds the right level of complication available to a videogame, with build-able structures, and faction specific abilities and alliances. It even provides all of the core ways-to-play that similar games have been guilty of leaving out in recent years.
The game offers up online and offline multiplayer game modes, league play, and an objective driven campaign mode against AI. Campaign objectives differ in each of the five locations, unlocked by beating each one in turn. The maps are major cities (rather than the whole world in the original) and use real place names, which adds to the sense of fun. Placing a London town hall in Battersea because that’s where you live is particularly pleasing.
Multiplayer against real people is always where this game was meant to be played, and it doesn’t disappoint. Both offline and online it’s a real treat to know you’re sticking it to a frustrated commander on the other side of the room/internet. It also had the fantastic feature of replacing players that drop out with AI seamlessly – a lesson for many online multiplayer games to take on board (pun intended).
The animations are fun and keep the play interesting, but there’s also auto-attacking for when you want to speed things up. The audio is strong on the whole, the only element that got repetitive was the one-liners uttered by the commanders – one spouting “I love war” so often that it became comical. There may be balance issues based on the 5 factions available to each player, but these are very minimal.
Risk: Urban Assault is a strong interpretation of one of the best and most entertaining friendship-ruiners that has graced tabletop gaming. Part of a collaboration between Ubisoft South Africa and Hasbro, it does a fantastic job of maintaining the straightforward strategy play of the original, whilst adding a few tweaks to keep things fresh for long-time players. I heartily recommend this title to any fans of turn-based strategy games, but especially to big fans of the board game who want to roll the dice with friends. I won’t be held accountable for any fall-outs though!
Midlife Gamer Rating: 8/10 Format: PlayStation 4 / Xbox One / Playstation 3 / Xbox 360 Release Date: Out Now
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a copy of Risk: Urban Assault by the publisher for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of 5 days. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.