Riot: Civil Unrest – PS4 Review

I predict a riot…

Ever wanted to stick it to the man, but also enjoy not breathing in tear gas? Riot: Civil Unrest could be for you…

Riot: Civil Unrest

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PC, Xbox One
Release Date: 5/2/2019 (Steam/PS4 NA), 6/2/2019 (PS4 EU, XB1) 7/2/19 Switch
Players: 4 (local)
Age Rating: 16+
Genres: Indie, Strategy, Simulation
Developer: IV Productions
Price: £14.99

A strategy game with a difference choose your side as protesters or police and become involved in real world events that saw mass rioting and protests from various different scenarios the world over.

What do you do?

Right from the very start, What do you do is a question that you will repeat quite frequently though-out the game. The premise is very black or white. Choose to be a protester or as the police force from real world events and proceed to either riot or push the protesters back. What harms the somewhat simple point of the game is the lack of instructions or tutorial. I appreciate that some games can be too hand holdy, but this is the perfect description for “thrown in at the deep end”.

There are three modes in the game. Global, Story and versus mode. I initially dived straight into Story mode with some expectation of being given a brief tutorial. But this was not the case. The first riot you partake is in in Italy. Choose your side, for this I picked the protesters. A cut-scene plays explaining the situation and points to the riots. It’s played out in a unique pixelated visual that remains throughout the game. You are then thrust into the event. In this case, protesting about a train line being built. As the protesters you have to repel the police back and stop them crushing tents that are up outside what I assume is the train station.

From here it’s anyone’s guess what you have to do. I shifted 4 different units of protesters to the front-line of the map in front of the tents. I wasn’t sure what I was doing and if this was actually doing anything. I then noticed you can turn the protest into an aggressive one, so I did this. I then found that the units would retreat back a little their-selves, so I was flicking between the units and made them remain at front. The top left of the screen presented you with options that were assigned to a button on the controller (was playing PS4 version for this review) so I pressed what I assumed was aggressive attacking moves. Something happened and the clashes became more apparent and the volume of the shouts and roars increased. The Police pushed forwards. I was just constantly hammering this attack button and flicking between all the units unsure if I was winning. The suddenly, I’ve won.

Look and feel

Visually the game is actually really cool. I really enjoyed the unique visual styling of this game. The pixelated look for the mass crowds of rioters looked right. The grey and miserable colours for the majority of the riots and worlds also seemed fitting with the style.

Controlling the groups is rather awkward to adjust to. While you may side as the protesters, you take control of multiple smaller groups rather than one large one. This in turn makes it tricky for all of your protesters to be doing the same thing. I found while pushing one group forward aggressively, another group had disperse and fallen back, thus resulting in having to flick through to them and get them back into an aggressive formation. It never felt like having complete control over all of either side.

Big content

One thing that favours this game is that there are a large number of scenarios and modes that do make this game quite chocked full of content. The issue I had is that despite playing on the easiest level and the lack of direction from the start the riots difficulty seems to increase really rather rapidly. There is a catch though that the riots that you complete, how you complete them impacts the way the public perceives you. If you are too violent the public opinion of you changes and the riots become more difficult based on this.

Pros and Cons

+ Unique look visually, but fitting with the game type
+ Very interesting concept, A unique history lesson if you will

+ Lots of content, plenty of scenarios and modes

– Some sort of tutorial is essential
– Maybe I’m rubbish, but difficulty spikes are kind of mad

The Verdict

It’s certainly a unique concept and in fact it’s rather intriguing as it opens up a part of history that can sometimes be neglected in the world of events as other key things hit news headlines.

Fans of strategy games could find some enjoyment from this as there is no right or wrong way to protest. There’s a large element of exploration as each level is like a sandbox in which you can try to overcome the police or protesters as you see fit. Again some introduction tutorial would certainly have helped.

The most interesting part of this game for me was it’s the first time I’d heard of some of the riots in the game. If they are all based on real world events, it’s given me an itch to look more into them (time for some Wikipedia diving). Visually I think it looks great and its a fitting style for the concept of the game. The pixelated mobs works well. And yep, plenty of game there to play. But I’ll sound like a broken record, some form of introduction and tutorial is deeply missed.

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