In “Riot: Civil Unrest“ activists fight against police officers. Unfortunately, the attempt to play real demos and protests realistically fails.

At dawn, the police moves with team car in the Italian Susatal. She wants to clear the campground, which blocks the construction of a high-speed rail line. But the demonstrators have taken precautions: Hidden outposts warn the squatters with fireworks in front of the approaching eviction squad. A few minutes later, both sides hit each other, stones and tear gas grenades fly by. The squatters hold their position, but a police officer dies by a stone.

Riot: Civil Unrest is a kind of riot simulator and is based on real conflicts. The console version has already been released, the PC version will leave Early Access on Steam on February 12 (17 Euro, USK 12). In the role of demonstrators or police players can immerse themselves in the four main campaigns, the so-called no-tav conflict over the construction of the Susatal is one of four. Gamers can also get involved in the clashes surrounding the Keratea landfill in Greece, the Indignados protests in Spain against austerity and unemployment, and the events of the Arab Spring. Riot shows both sides of the conflicts and additionally tries to incorporate media dynamics and public opinion – unfortunately not very successful.

The game is the project of the game designer Leonoardo Menchiari: The idea for Riot came to him when he witnessed the No-Tav-protests of the year 2012 directly. Menchiari uses a pixel graphics in the style of early computer games: this deliberate abstraction gives the game extra power, because it plays out much in the mind of the beholder: the emotions of the opponents, the breaking force and their consequences.

Basically, Riot reminds of real-time strategy games like Age of Empires or Starcraft. At the beginning of each campaign, players choose to prefer demonstrators or police officers. The campaigns consist of several episodes: in the Susatal conflict, for example, it is about the defense or clearance of a campground, then later to the defense or storming of construction sites and police camps. The confrontations are temporary and usually last only a few minutes.

The goal is to maneuver your own followers as skillfully as possible across the field. Here, players control not individual figures, but predefined groups: They order a change of location, defensive positions or the use of weapons such as Molotov cocktails or rubber bullets. The other side is controlled automatically or – in multiplayer mode – by other players.

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