The game where the player must send their opponents into bankruptcy. Nice.
Monopoly Streets is the latest incarnation of the famous board game, this time from EA. Offering a more modern take on the classic money-grabbing action, can it hold a candle to dusting off the original and setting up on the kitchen table?
As one of the most popular board games in the world, there are likely not many households that don’t have a Monopoly box gathering dust somewhere. As such, most people should already know how to play the game, and thus Monopoly Streets on Xbox360 and PS3. The basics are the same, the players take it in turns to roll the dice and then move around the board, buying up plots of land as they go and then building on that land in an attempt to raise the value. As other players move around and land on your properties, they have to pay the rental fee depending on the value. Play carries on in this manner as players gradually build a monopoly and force the other players into bankruptcy. It’s quite a ruthless game really.
The problem that I have with the board game is that it takes such a long time to play. Maybe it is my short attention span, but I know that others feel the same.
Monopoly Streets takes the basic game and then adds more bells and whistles than you can shake a dead rat at. Firstly the board is given a complete make over, goingÂ all 3D and animated, like a living city of sorts. No one can deny that this new look for Monopoly is impressive. There seems to be constantly something interesting and impressive to look at. As the game progresses, the city itself evolves around the players. Even the classic playing pieces have become animated and burst into life, interacting with their environment and random passers-by. That being said, the classic board is still there should the player prefer to play the game without all of these new fangled distractions.
Aside from the impressive new look, the most interesting addition to the game are the house rules options. Players can choose for a selection of preset modes or mix it up completely and create their own versions of the rules. This allows the player to make and save their own rule sets exactly to their liking. This certainly makes keeps the game fresh whilst maintaining the core Monopoly game at it’s heart. The preset modes offer the player a quick way to enjoy a game of Monopoly with a difference, such as putting a limit on the number of rounds (which makes the game shorter) or adding an extra die to the game.
Part of the fun of playing the Monopoly board game was always the chance to completely and utterly thrash your friends and family. Monopoly Streets first of all offers a rather good AI to play against, for those long, lonely nights. The AI comes in three different flavours; easy, medium and hard, that offer a differing challenge depending on the players’ level of skill. None of the AIs are particularly ruthless, which is always a bonus.
Players do not have to play alone though, as multiplayer is offered both online and locally. The AI players can even be included in a multiplayer game to build the numbers, should that be required. But it is playing with other real-life players that most of the fun can be found. There is nothing quite like forcing bankruptcy on a real person.
The main problem that I have with this game is the same problem that I had with the board game. It just seems to drag on so much, especially with the new look enabled. With all of the new animations and cool things to look at, there is a lot of time spent waiting around. Even when playing by yourself, the AI seems to take far too long to finish their turn.
Another problem is that, even with all of the bells and whistles making the game look gorgeous, it is still Monopoly. There must be very few gamers that have never played a game of Monopoly and if they were not keen, this game will do nothing to change their mind. Don’t get me wrong, fans of the game will be happy as Larry with this incarnation, especially the chance to twist the rules around to their vision of the game. But there really is nothing here that will entice those who just don’t like the board game.
There is nothing really wrong with Monopoly Streets. It does what it says on the tin, and does it whilst looking damn good. But Monopoly is just Monopoly at the end of the day. It is nice that fans of the game will have a new way to play and they will likely be impressed with EA’s offering. But there really is nothing here that actually entices the non-fans to play.