Every once in a while, gamers will take a break from a genre they know inside and out in order to either try something new or something that's just a bit different. For me personally, I’m usually in the horror, sporting, and action-adventure realms of gaming. But, from time to time, I do enjoy trying my hand at a real-time strategy game, whether it be Stormrise or Halo Wars. With that in mind, though, I recently took a look at a rather interesting RTS titled, Riot: Civil Unrest. The reason why I would consider it interesting is because that, despite the gameplay being entertaining, the game itself is hard to play.
Now, I understand that doesn’t sound very interesting in of itself, but Riot: Civil Unrest isn’t hard to play because it’s badly designed, or because the A.I. craps out every other level. It’s hard to play because the events you, the player, are going through are actual events/riots that have taken place in history. Usually, this would be a interesting premise, but the way that this concept is presented is pretty morbid all in all. Honestly, this might be the worst thing I’ve given credit to a game for, but whoever worked on sound/audio design for this game did too good of a job. Why? Well, because the screams from the rioters were a little too believable, if you catch my drift.
Terrifying realism aside, what about the gameplay itself? Well, as I mentioned in the intro, the gameplay is entertaining, but it’s for all the wrong reasons. There are two different factions you can play as, either protesters/rioters or as the authority. I opted to play as the authority for my first run and… well, it was a bit difficult to get through the game as them. Not because the protesters were much of a challenge, as terrible as that sounds, but more so due to the authority figures in Riot: Civil Unrest being decked out with a variety of suppressive gear that made going through the sections easier than it should have been. Before the start of the level, you have the option to pick your loadouts (to a degree), and the amount of tear gas, rubber rounds, and riot shields I loaded up my crew with was absolutely nuts. So, take that kind of gear and put it against people with bricks… doesn’t sound like much of a challenge, does it?
I will say though, if you want to feel like less of a garbage person, then play as the protesters/rioters. Despite not having the same gear as the authority, there are still ways to achieve success from section to section. Mostly what you’ll be doing as protesters will be to not get pushed out of the place that you’re occupying, which can be done with different rally cries, as well as forming and holding a line peacefully. I would highly recommend that you try and never resort to violence when you’re playing as the protester, as bad things will happen, trust me. There are violence related options that you can use such as Molotovs if you’re desperate, but in the end, the name of the game is peace.
Speaking of peace, one of my favourite features in Riot: Civil Unrest is the ‘political versus war’ score that you receive at the end. Depending on how peaceful or violent you are, depends on the score you receive at the end of the section. The reason I really appreciate this feature is because it doesn’t allow you to go off the rails. For example, if you were playing as the authority figures in-game, then you wouldn’t be able to just start firing tear gas into the crowd. You would plan out how to deal with the riot at hand, and approach it in as diplomatic a manner as possible before you started popping shit off.
Moving away from that, once you’ve played the sections on your own, you then unlock them for the multiplayer mode that the game offers. Multiplayer is, once again, one of those things that’s fun when you’re playing as protesters, but feels dirty when you play as the auhtority figures. Still entertaining gameplay, mind you, but knowing that you and your buddy are dispersing a crowd of people violently with an assortment of dangerous suppressive materials just makes you feel a bit iffy inside.
So, with everything taken into account, is Riot: Civil Unrest worth picking up? Well, if you can make it past the bleak and morbid feel that the game presents itself with a bit too well, then yes. Riot: Civil Unrest has the look and feel a good RTS with entertaining yet challenging gameplay sections, but it all feels a bit weird when considering a) these sections are based on real events, and b) that the gameplay is fun and entertaining, but really only when you play as the protesters.
Game is enjoyable, outweighing the issues there may be.
Riot: Civil Unrest has the look and feel a good RTS with entertaining yet challenging gameplay sections, but it all feels a bit weird when considering a) these sections are based on real events, and b) that the gameplay is fun and entertaining, but really only when you play as the protesters.