I don’t think there is a single person on the planet that doesn’t have some sort of love for Monopoly. The game is nearly timeless and has had more iterations than just about any other board game ever conceived. As for videogames though there are not quite as many versions as one might think. EA’s latest outing takes everything you know and love about the popular board game and squeezes it into one package that is definitely a must-own for fans of the game. While it may still be cheaper to run out and pick up the original, this version gives you the same experience and so much more without having to clean up all that fake money and plastic house afterwards.
Monopoly Streets’ biggest selling point is just how many options are offered here. You can customize the rule set of any game to your liking and even save them for future use. There are also some nice pre-set game types such as adding extra dice for speed playing and limiting the number of turns per game. Personally I like being able to customize the rules; I mean who doesn’t play with the stash of money in Free Parking nowadays? With so many ways to customize your experience you can literally play how you choose, which makes this the most attractive interactive version of the game to date.
Streets does bring a new visual aesthetic to the game by recreating all of your favorite landmarks in polygonal glory. Properties appear rundown until purchased and built on, the railroads are more than a flat plain, and the entire board feels like one massive city block. Avatars will walk around the board in the background and each of the game pieces are represented by a unique character and animation. It isn’t much but it does do a nice job of spicing up the normal flat perspective the game conveys. You can even play as your own Avatar on Xbox 360 which is always a nice touch.
My main problem with how the game flows is the pacing. Monopoly is already known as a time hog and this iteration does little to speed things up. Turns take entirely too long and even when playing against the CPU hitting the skip button becomes a chore far too quickly. Still there is an upside. Whether you are playing online or locally you can walk away from the game or do something else during other people’s turns and your controller will vibrate when it is time to make your move. Be warned though auctions and other activities can be sporadic so you will want to be paying attention at least a little bit.
This is truly the one spot the game drags. You have the option to turn off some of the annoyances but you still have to watch dice rolls and some animations before moving on. You can switch back to the classic board if you want to, and it helps speed some things up, but it still takes entirely too long to progress in some games, which is bad for a generation that wants in and out in a hurry.
With that said the rest of what is here is incredibly fun. Like I said you can opt to play a variety of ways including multiplayer both online and off. You can also substitute AI players for any missing opponents. The AI difficulties are fairly balanced even if they have some exploits. Online play is especially cool as long as you are playing with people willing to move the game along at a decent pace. Streets thrives on its options and it certainly has plenty. If you want the definitive videogame version of the classic board game you truly don’t need to look any further.
Visually I enjoyed the new take on the game with animated pieces and changing properties. Sure some of the animations and clicks can slow down the game, but overall it breathes new life into the series. The music is dismissible, but the sound effects are downright annoying. You will definitely want to be shutting these off the first chance you get. If I had to complain about the presentation it would be that at times, there is simply too much of it. Menus can get cluttered and keeping track of yourself on this vibrant game board can be challenging at times.
Monopoly Streets is a fantastic rendition of the classic board game that offers up just about any combination of play styles you can imagine. It is great for people who love the game and can’t always find friends willing to commit the time to play. Sure there are some hang-ups but they are easily remedied when playing with the right people or simply setting the right options. It is amazing that as old as this game is that it still holds up so well today. I imagine my kids and my grandkids will still be enjoying the world of Mr. Moneybags far into the future, and as far as interactive versions go, this is now the standard.
Review copy provided by publisher.