Riot: Civil Unrest
Switch version tested
Review code provided
I’m not adverse to the odd real-time simulator, in fact I have spent many hours playing games like Command & Conquer or Age of Empires. Time which would have been better spent working harder on my degree, but not as fun. In Riot: Civil Unrest we have a real-time riot sim, something different and something that got me quite excited. This excitement was very short lived as I proceeded to be bored and frustrated, in what was ultimately a great idea poorly executed and with no real element of fun. Ok, ok it’s hard to have fun when we are talking about real world riot events, but hey, this is a game isn’t it? Games are supposed to be fun yeah?
There’s a lot of great ideas in this game. Notably the option to play as the rioters or the police, an interesting dynamic. Also the slightly educational backdrop, using real-world events like the Arab Spring riots brought a realistic element to the game and an interesting one. Unfortunately, I don’t feel these elements transferred into enhanced gameplay. You never really get a sense of what’s going on or the tension involved, so the backdrop is rendered fairly inconsequential.
The gameplay is quite confusing to begin with but you soon bumble your way through the controls on your own, just. Where the controls of this game really let down is the fact it’s on console. This game would be highly suited for the PC with a mouse or touchpad. Getting the various groups of people to do what you want can be quite frustrating. You can control people in sections and switch between the sections relaying various commands. However, a mouse dragging and clicking on who you want to command would be much better. The clock is counting down to the end of the objective so you have to be quick. Scrolling to the right group and then commanding it to do what you want is not as fluid as I’d like. It’s all a bit clunky.
As you complete missions you unlock more characters with special abilities, plus the additions of things like Molotov cocktails. Finally I thought, some action! No, not really. It didn’t do a lot and I’m not sure what I was expecting. I just wanted to kick the shit out of the police but the game was kind of holding me back. It seems the game wanted a peaceful outcome, whereas I wanted some kick-ass guerilla warfare! A lot of the controls were pacifying measures and to be honest didn’t seem too different which was a shame.
In the unlikely event you know who I am or have read any of my poorly scripted words before you will know I’m a fan of retro graphics and for me, better graphics does not mean a better game. The environmental graphics of this game are top notch, really great. Great choice of colour to suit the overall mood and realism of the game. Detailed backdrops which I really enjoyed. The animations however looked like a rudimentary sick man off their nut on crack. The animations really fought against the background and the two did not merge well. When there were large groups of people together the graphics mounded together, much like the crowds in early 90’s football games such as Sensible Soccer. Yes, I said soccer.
It’s unfortunate when you get excited by a game, only to be let down in its execution. It just wasn’t for me and I feel it won’t be for many others either. It’s a shame but that’s where we are. Some of the ideas of the game were great and I do hope the developers come up with something again in the future with a big injection of fun. It has the brains of a good game, but the gameplay of the depressing priest from Father Ted, ‘Father Fitzgerald’.
TBG Score: 4/10
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 07/02/2019
No. of Players: 1-4
Category: Simulation, Strategy
Publisher: Merge Games
Download link: eShop