Owning a modern video-game console offers a rare kind of irony. To me at least, classic board-games sound about as exciting as doing laundry during a hailstorm. Strangely though, adding in the conveniences, graphics and fluidity of a video-game makes a board-game a great experience. Risk Factions takes everything we all love about Risk, and makes it more enjoyable in just about every aspect. For 800MSP ($10) you get a nice campaign, Online Multiplayer or local bouts, Achievements and Awards.
Since the only version of Risk I've played prior was the original, the 'Factions' title threw me off. Don't be afraid though, as you do not take part in a guerrilla effort to reclaim Mars from tyranny; this is good old Risk with some twists! Nothing too crazy has been added, so learning the ropes is a simple action. You still begin a match by selecting territory, placing troops, and eventually invading foreigner's land. The twist is that 'objectives' have been added to offset the balance during a match. Capturing an entire continent, or an enemy's headquarters for example reward the player with set bonuses. Extra troops, super powers, airfields and so on are some of the powerups you can acquire. Truth be told, the rule set of 'Factions' feels very natural: without it Risk may feel a tad boring in comparison. Though for that classic experience, you are given the choice to play original Risk.
The previously mentioned campaign mode is a worthwhile mode. Only 5 levels are available, each focusing on one of the 5 'Factions' (get it yet?) in the game. Humans, Cats, Zombies, Robots and...Yetis being the nations. Levels begin with nice looking cartoons detailing the war at hand, it's not serious whatsoever as you might have already figured out. Still, the comical nature within Risk Factions is exceptionally well-done. Voiced dialogue is well written and the art style is of good quality and easily appreciated. If you treat the single player portion as a tutorial, you can accept it for what it is. Honestly though, you are going to have the most fun with Risk online! To not play via Xbox Live would be wasteful; granted local 4-player support is always an option.