by Chris Brown
Since 1935, Monopoly has entertained millions and over 250 million of the board game has been sold since its debut. The classic board game now makes its way to the three consoles, passing go and collecting $200. Monopoly is the first video game of the EA/Hasbro partnership to launch on the Nintendo Wii, Playstation 3, and the Xbox 360.
Monopoly as a video game will appeal to both the players seeking the classic feel of the board game and to those that have neither the time nor attention-span of the marathon game sessions of the Monopoly of old. The video game offers a classic “Monopoly edition” and a re-tooled, much faster “Richest Edition” which clearly is aimed at the younger audience.
Both editions can be played by up to four players, however there is no online multi-player available on any of the three console versions. Every game is a four player game with the NPCs playing any open player slots. Also, both editions of the game can be played using nine different special theme boards. At the initial start of the game two of the theme boards are available for use. To unlock other themed boards, players must fill a passport that is stamped when they acquire properties. Acquire a certain number properties will make other theme boards available. The theme boards include: Classic, Future, Sweets, Cheese, Jungle, Ice, Deco, Cardboard, and World boards. The properties on these themed boards are in keeping with the theme.
In the Monopoly, or classic edition, game play and rules are in keeping with the board game rules. The object still remains to send the other players into bankruptcy and be the richest player by the end of the game. A typical game in the Monopoly edition lasts any where from 45 minute to 90 minutes, but your mileage may last. You can also change the game’s NPC players’ skill levels from Easy to Hard for further challenge.
The Richest edition of Monopoly is a much faster version of Monopoly that should appeal to Wii owners. In the Richest edition there is a set limit of nine rounds in the game and players can typically wrap up a game in roughly 30 minutes or less. At the start of each round four dice are rolled, and then the players compete in a mini-game to determine what die out of the four that can lay claim to. The mini-games are named after the Chance and Community Chest cards. Depending on where players place in the mini-games they take their turn choosing a die. The number on the die determines how many properties they land on for that round. Players are randomly placed on the board which can either lead to newly acquired properties or having to pay rent. At the end of each round players can see where they are in the match. After several rounds the player left with the most money is declared the winner.
Monopoly is a game that feels like it was created with the Nintendo Wii clearly in its sights. The Richest edition takes advantage of the abilities of the Wiimote in the different mini-games. The mini-games also feel more natural on the Wii console. The video game also offers a Mini-Game section in which players can just play the mini-games, but like the Monopoly themed boards, the mini-games must be unlocked to be available for playing. To unlock all twelve mini-games, players must land on Chance or Community Chest to receive a card which will also unlock the appropriately themed mini-game.
The graphics are serviceable in Monopoly, with the gaming environment being quite nice and intriguing, particularly with the various themed boards. However we did find that it was sometimes hard to see who owned what properties. The game camera is pretty much fixed to a top down view but does chance to a “street level” view when Mr. Moneybags escorts the player’s tokens around the board. We felt our selves wishing for the ability to move the board around or to zoom in or out.
There are achievements on the Xbox 360, which we found quite easy to unlock. Playing just one full game should unlock hundreds of gamerscore. The achievements do inspire the replay ability of the game to land on different properties or other requirements.
Besides the camera view, the major downfall of the game is the lack of online multi-player. Adding the ability to play with Wii Friends or Xbox Live Live friends would give this game greater longevity. However this can be a game that is perfectly suited for a fun family gaming experience and perfect for when players have company over. We do think that the game can be picked up and enjoyed by kids as well.
Monopoly is rated E for Everyone and is available now for the Nintendo Wii, Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.
Married Gamers Report Card: B