Everyone remembers their first game of Risk. Just like the first brush of a kiss or the initial fumblings at the back of the cinema, once invited to join the fun, you know you're no longer one of the little people. You only have to go to a car boot sale to realise how popular Risk is because, no matter how hard you look, you'll never find one for sale (at least not the classic 70s version with the 'oil drum' and 'Toblerone' pieces).
Even the windswept balding husband selling such classics as Hungry Hippos, Mike Reid's Pop Quiz and Mastermind- at 50p each - will shrug at the mention of Risk. "Me and me boys, we decided to keep that one," the father will say. He could have charged at least a pound. On PC, Risk has never been in quite the same league as its board game counterpart. In this day and age of real-time strategy and Internet gaming, the humble 'game of world domination' has been fighting a losing battle and nowhere better was this highlighted than with Hasbro's previous PC rendition of Risk, where, along with the vanilla version, was something called 'Ultimate Risk' - which although fun, just wasn't... Risk.
Dicing With Death
Risk 2on the other hand is more like it. As well as your 'Classic' Risk where the computer and human players take it in turns to take over the world, there is a new mode called 'Same Time Risk'. Developed primarily for the impatient multiplayer, the 'Same Time' game is something of a minor masterpiece and, although it changes a few rules and requires a slightly different way of thinking, it still feels remarkably familiar.
How it works is, all players plan their attacks simultaneously. Then, once done, the computer resolves each conflict in turn; armies going for each other's territories fight first, followed by invasions on more than one front etc, etc. For the battles themselves, virtual 12-sided dice are used, which may sound a bit too Dungeons & Dragons, but actually works surprisingly well.
A third type of game on offer for those who prefer playing on their own is the Tournament game. Offering a set of 16 scenarios based on both sets of rules (some taking advantage of extra countries and new rule variations), it allows players to take on each of the 16 computer-controlled generals, with each general displaying a range of traits that can adjust to your style of play over time.
Where perhaps Risk 2 is a little disappointing is that it is actually quite tricky to tell the AI players apart, but as a whole the AI is very good once you've had a chance to test each general out. Elsewhere the interface is a breeze and the graphics manage to be both attractive and functional. The way the camera sweeps in to show the battle sequences soon becomes repetitive, but thankfully it can be switched off.
Best of all, however, is that for once, someone - in this case developer Deep Red - has recreated a classic board game successfully to PC and done it well. Risk 2 manages to be both true to its roots and innovative at the same time.
Download Risk II
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP