Monopoly Streets Review
Written : Wednesday, November 17, 2010
By: Lee Abrahams (GT: jackanape)
If ever a game needed no introduction then this was it, as pretty much everyone has a battered copy of Monopoly hidden somewhere around the house. It’s fair to say that the mixture of strategy, luck and dodgy dealing doesn’t seem to have gotten old, and there is nothing more satisfying than bankrupting your nearest and dearest; especially when you get your hands on all of that lovely paper cash of theirs. However, the translation of a traditional board game to our consoles has never really come off and it remains to be seen whether this will be the defining version of the old favourite or nothing more than a pale comparison.
"The Monopoly guy moonlights as a parking attendant."
For those who may have been out of the loop for a good few decades, Monopoly – the board game and Monopoly Streets – is all about being the last player standing in monetary terms. Players accomplish this by purchasing various properties around the board, which can then garner rent fees when opposing players land on them. You earn more rent by owning all of the same colour coded streets, and can boost this further if you can afford to plonk houses or hotels onto them as well. Players can trade properties amongst each other, or even mortgage them to get out of trouble, but the overall goal remains one of crushing your foes rather than helping them out. The sad thing with Monopoly Streets is that you cannot crush the annoying Monopoly guy as his voice grates every time he pops on screen.
So far, so straightforward. The twist for Monopoly Streets though is that you can actually drive around the board as if it was an actual city, with the traditional streets all present and correct. You can even unlock various other boards if you want to try something a little bit fresher, but the old faithful is still the way forward if you ask us. Build a house on a property and it sprouts from beneath the board as you would expect, so it adds a nice interactive feel to the proceedings. That being said, beyond the superficial nature of the graphics, it doesn’t do anything at all for the gameplay. You can play with up to four players at once, and with a mix of human and AI opponents if you like. The problem here though is that, for all of the bells and whistles, this is still the same board game that you can pick up for less than ten pounds from your local thrifty saver should you so desire.
"High speed to Pall Mall, assuming you have the rent."
You can mix things up by playing one of the variant modes or creating your own custom rules though. So ‘Bull Market’ sees all properties auctioned off before the game starts and the wealthiest person after twenty turns is declared the winner; ‘Speed Die’ adds a third die that also can offer a variety of movement alternatives; while ‘Fast Deal’ sees all properties selling through auctions and players are required to collect colour groups to win. Unlike the last console Monopoly outing, Monopoly Streets allows you to head online and take on the world, which is a fun way to take on friends and is pretty much the main selling point of the game. Regardless of all of the options though, it’s still the same trading game at the core and playing solo becomes a rapidly dull affair. Even when playing against a friend, the excitement is somehow absent, perhaps because there is no “physical” aspect to when properties and cash change hands.
The achievement list isn’t exactly terrible, but does have a few similarities to the previous Monopoly title – which isn’t a good thing. You’ll be rewarded for winning games - both on and offline - and snagging certain properties, building hotels and being sent to jail too much. Pretty much all of the activities you would expect in Monopoly are rewarded, although playing certain modes is more helpful to snagging certain achievements than others. The full thousand should be fairly straightforward to be honest, as long as you can find a friend to play online with – as otherwise you could be tied up in a single game for hours on end.
The truth is, that Monopoly is at its best when you are sat around with family and friends playing the game as raucously as possible, and making up the rules as you go along. Selling properties for £1 to stop your mate winning, swiping £100 from the bank when no-one is looking and groaning every time your dad wins a beauty contest – those are the things that make the board game great, and this virtual representation can never convey those feelings. Monopoly remains the perfect board game, as the 360 equivalent can never match the social aspect of the experience, which ultimately is a pretty lonely experience when you don’t have any chums to join in.
The Monopoly guy quickly becomes the most annoying commentator ever and the rest of the effects and music is pretty much at the same level. Hit the mute button.
The 3D city is a nice idea, but is hardly going to set the world alight and just serves to complicate things. It doesn’t look awful, but there is only so much you can do with a colour co-ordinated board.
Terrible if you’re playing alone, as where is the fun in bankrupting the AI? Better online or with friends, but it can never compete with the traditional board game.
It’s as good as Monopoly can get I suppose, but there isn’t much you can do to drag out the experience when the various modes are just variations on the same theme.
A fairly easy list and one that encourages you to try out all of the modes, as well as hopping online. Pretty similar to the last Monopoly game though, which wasn’t great.
The only benefit of owning Monopoly Streets is the ability to play with friends online, as otherwise you could just stick to the regular board version. This is essentially just Monopoly with a few rule variations and a swanky 3D board, and is hardly worth shelling out for if you already own the original version. Plus, what’s better than bankrupting friends and family in the comfort of your own home, replete with wonderful paper money? This game is simply not meant for consoles.