The verdict? It's classic Risk, albeit with a couple of key tweaks. Most game-changing is a bonus star feature, which randomly awards players 1-2 "stars" at the end of a turn. Stars can be used to make additional troop movements. Additionally, Classic Mode abandons the card system of the original game. Getting rid of the cards streamlines the game a bit, and so does the option to skip the dice-rolling attacks (and just view the results), but the random star bonuses can lead to one player steamrolling the opponents rather quickly -- as happens to me and another human player in the video above.
Just like in the original game, once a player builds up a powerful army, there's nothing to stop total domination of the game board. But that's always been a part of the game of Risk, and now, through Xbox Live, diehard tabletoppers can test their riskiest maneuvers on a truly worldwide battlefield, say, against an opponent from the Ukraine.
One thing Risk: Factions is sorely lacking, however? Little wooden cubes. Toss in some DLC wooden cubes, and I'll be happy.