Risk Updated Impressions

We take a look at a near-final version of Atari's take on the classic board game.

Atari had a new and nearly complete build of Risk for the PS2 at its recent press event, and we spent a little time checking out what the developer is adding to the classic strategy game. With a game like Risk, you've already got an established, proven gameplay model, so mucking around with the core game mechanics would be folly. Instead, you've got to add lots of supplemental features to enhance the experience for diehard fans, and that seems exactly like what Atari's done to make Risk on the PS2 a big value.

Of course, the most prominent feature in Risk for the PlayStation 2 is six-player online support. Using the PS2's network adapter, you'll be able to use a matchmaking service to find other players with whom to engage in global warfare when you've tired of playing against the game's AI opponents. Speaking of the AI, Risk features 11 historical figures, such as George Washington and Catherine the Great, that you can choose to play as during your struggles. These characters will have distinct personalities and full voice acting, which should give the gameplay a little bit of extra liveliness. Risk will feature a ton of unlockable content, like new kinds of dice, more leaders, new uniforms for your troops (which are shown in quick battle animations), and more. There will even be new accents to unlock for the game's announcer, so you can turn him into an ornery New Yorker if you want.

For real fans of the board game, Risk has a lot of options for gameplay variation. There are two new gameplay modes: Capital Risk, which gives you capital cities in your territories, and Secret Mission Risk, which gives you specific hidden objectives. You can also tweak card values, have the computer randomly distribute your armies, or go through a full tutorial if you need to brush up on rules. Interestingly, you can even rotate your dice around before a throw if you wish--this won't necessarily change the odds in your favor, but it does give the randomizer a new seed to work with. Atari's PS2 version of Risk has definitely been designed with the hardcore player in mind.

The version of Risk we saw was pretty much complete and is expected to be in stores at the end of September at a modest price of around $30. We'll bring you more on the game then.

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