Monopoly Streets Xbox 360
Published by: Electronic Arts
Developed by: EA Salt Lake
There have been numerous videogame versions of Monopoly and not all of them have been great. The last Monopoly videogame, which appeared back in 2008, pretty much got it right. It offered a solid game of Monopoly with decent AI opponents and nine themed Monopoly boards and customisable game rules. Sure it had a mode called the Richest Edition, which included some unnecessary mini-games but, ignoring this mode, it was a great game for Monopoly enthusiasts. Probably the biggest disappointments with the game was that it only allowed up to four players to take part and there was no option to play online. Can Monopoly Streets address these two issues?
So what does Monopoly Streets do different then? Well you can play a game online this time around and there are a collection of game varieties you can choose when creating a game. New boards have been added but some have been taken away. One of the new boards is called Monopoly City board which has a 3D city placed onto the board. The game features crazy avatars accompanying each playing token and you’ll see them move around the board with the playing token. You can opt to use your own avatar instead if you wish. The basic Monopoly game is unaltered however aside from the ability to lower as well as raise your auction bids. You’re still limited to four player games (which I still think is a silly limitation given that one controller can easily be passed around) but you do have the ability to play online games this year for two to four players. If you’re playing solo you can have up to three AI opponents. The AI is available with three difficulty levels: Easy, Normal and Hard and for the most part plays a decent game.
In total there are six game variations. Naturally you have the option of playing the Official Monopoly. Speed Die gives you a third die with the third die having numbers one to three and various icons that allow you to perform various actions. Short Game gives you 3 random properties at the start of a game and only 3 houses are needed for a hotel. Bull Market sees all of the properties auctioned off at the start and the game only lasts for 20 turns, Jackpot allows you to improve properties without having a full set of a particular colour and properties can be traded with improvements in place. The first to double their total worth wins the game. Finally, in Fast Deal all of the properties must go up for auction and the first to collect two full colour groups wins the game. Passing Go will earn you more money and landing on Free Parking will earn you cash too. You can choose to configure any of these game types to your liking which is certainly welcome.
In the Monopoly Game Store you can purchase additional playing tokens/pieces and themed Monopoly boards. You’ll begin with the Monopoly City and default Monopoly board and you can unlock a Cheese, Cardboard, Landmark City, Jungle, Sweet, Plaza and Ice board. What I found a source of annoyance is that I’d previously unlocked the Cheese, Cardboard, Jungle, Sweet and Ice boards in the previous Monopoly videogame and it would have been great for the game to have acknowledged my save file and unlocked these boards in Monopoly Streets. It’s also a disappointment that Monopoly City, Landmark City and Plaza boards have been added whilst the Deco, Future and World Edition boards have been removed. Of course being able to unlock additional tokens means you’ll have further annoying characters to accompany them and I’m not sure if that’s something to be pleased about.
Monopoly Streets doesn’t really offer any graphical upgrades from the Monopoly game that appeared two years ago. Quite a few of the boards have been recycled for use here and of the few new ones none of them look particularly impressive. I found the wait for the characters’ animations rather tedious and having to wait for them to move around the board feels like a real chore. You can opt to skip the movement animations or permanently disable them in the game options and this is something you’ll probably choose to do as the animations really slow the pace of the game down.
The previous Monopoly game we reviewed was subtitled but for some reason there are no subtitles included in Monopoly Streets. None of the comments by Mr Monopoly, and he speaks quite a lot during the course of a game, are subtitled. To make matters worse the optional tutorials aren’t subtitled. The various characters’ comments aren’t subtitled but they are so repetitive and irritating that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It is a shame that this is a poorer experience for deaf gamers than the previous Monopoly game.
Unless you’re specifically looking to play Monopoly online, I can’t help feel that Monopoly Streets doesn’t do anything to make this a better game than the Monopoly game that was released two years ago. It made sense to ditch the mini-games and the assortment of game variants is welcome. However, a lot of the themed boards remain the same and some of the better boards from the previous version have been cut. The characters that accompany the game tokens are pointless and it’s a shame you can’t disable them. It’s disappointing that Monopoly Streets has not been subtitled given that the previous Monopoly game was. If you have yet to purchase a Monopoly game for your Xbox 360 and are not fussed about online play, you’re certainly going to be better off opting for the previous version. If online play is what you’re after however, Monopoly Streets is certainly the preferred option but in no other respect is it a better game.