Written by  :  krammer (262)
Written on  :  Apr 08, 2004
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  3.8 Stars3.8 Stars3.8 Stars3.8 Stars3.8 Stars

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A great conversion of a classic board game

The Good

Board game to PC conversions are usually aimed at those who like the game but don't have the time or enough people to play it with. Risk is great in that it allows you to play exactly the classic board game, with almost all the different rules sets available, against AI or human opponents. However, Risk is not just the board game conversion - it's got a lot more to it.

Firstly, there are 4 new (larger) maps, which make for longer and different games. Then there are other variations - all those in the original game rules are just a click away, and features like Blind Risk - where you can't see anything more than 1 territory beyond your own borders - for those who think the game's too easy. With all the different options and customisations available, fans of the original game will be happy for hours. However, the game's greatest asset is Ultimate Risk.

Ultimate Risk is a completely new game - while maintaining the basic idea, it adds much more, such as Generals, Forts and capital cities, realistic terrain types, prisoners of war, rebel forces, and possibilities of alliances. No more relying on lucky dice rolls to win a battle, instead you choose a tactic and depending on generals, army size, terrain and your opponent's choice of tactic, the game determines losses on each side and the victor. This means that while the game is still recognisable, it requires a completely new strategy, so even if you dislike the board game, you may well like this version.

What else? The graphics are simple enough, but do the job, and the interface couldn't be easier to use. There's no music, and the sound is basic, but really you don't want music as it would be too distracting, and the sound can easily be turned off. The animations in the battle scenes are quite good too. And a major advantage - it's a lot quicker than playing the board game, yet the computer still lets you see all it does on its turns and shows you every dice roll or battle sequence.

Oh yeah - and the game comes free with a second CD for multiplayer only, so you can play with a friend over the Net or across a network with only one copy of the game.

The Bad

There are a few minor flaws. Firstly, you can only save the game - or even quit - at the beginning of a game turn, and if you do save, you have to wait for your next turn before you can quit. Quite why the game couldn't be designed to allow mid-turn saving I'm not sure. Also, the cutscene of the guy being guillotined whenever anyone is defeated can't be skipped, neither can the victory cutscene. However these are fairly short and only distract you for a while.

I had a few technical problems when I first got the game, but nothing that a call to Tech Support and downloading the patch didn't fix.

The Bottom Line

The classic world conquest board game converted to PC, with plenty of new features and rules. A must for fans of the Risk board game, and even worth getting if you don't. A worthwhile investment for any strategy gamer.