Over the years many developers have tried, and indeed failed, to transport classic board games over to the digital format in an attempt to capture the spirit of the game’s success and capitalise on that with a new generation of players. Will EA manage to triumph were so many others have fallen by the wayside? Join us as we take a look at their latest attempt with the board game powerhouse that is Monopoly.
Let’s get one thing clear from the start here fellow GmP readers shall we? A sporting loser I am most definitely not! So to be perfectly honest with you all my earliest childhood memories of the Charles Darrow’s classic board game Monopoly are not always the most happy ones, by any stretch of the imagination. Maybe it was because I was the youngest of four siblings that I always seemed to bear the brunt of the other three’s attention, and was always first to be bankrupted by the cackling and conniving trio of family members, or maybe it was more to the point that I really did not quite understand the more tactical side of business acumen when I was but a lad of five or six, and as a result was roundly beaten every time the game was brought out for us all to play? Whatever the reason behind my obvious lack of talent it always ended up arriving at the same point in the proceedings, whereby I would stomp off in a sulk to my bedroom to plot my revenge like some pre-pubescent clock tower sniper, or more likely it would see me overturning the board and racing hell for leather for the safety of the lockable bathroom door before my older brothers could pound me into dog meat. Oh how it would have been so much easier for all involved had we all been able to just load up the game on our console and play happily using EA’s new Monopoly Streets game. But alas, it was not to be for poor little me, as I was born into the era of the Binatone and the Atari 2600. So upturned boards, protruding bottom lips and black eyes from heavily built elder brothers was the order of the day. At least until now that is.
In a cracking move EA have again combined with Hasbro to bring us the game we will all be playing whenever those dark rain clouds appear on the horizon, or we are just enjoying some quality time spent together as a family. Monopoly Streets is the latest addition to the ever-growing library of EA/Hasbro titles that are gracing the shelves of your local gaming retailer of late, and we have to say that we thoroughly enjoyed our time spent in the 3D world of the budding property tycoon.
Surprising? Well, to be perfectly honest? No, not really. As we all have some memories from our childhood that revolve around at least one game of Monopoly with our loved ones. Whether it is of the same scenario as my own, or whether it is of an actual sane family just spending time together and enjoying each others company. Whatever it is everyone knows Monopoly, and secretly everyone loves it. So for EA and Hasbro to join forces and bring us this version was an inspired move. Provided the two corporate giants could actually pull it off and make a decent gaming experience out of it all. Well, the two powerhouse players have united and its good news all round as they have done a fantastic job with one of the best-selling family games of all time.
The game is a good-looking rendition of a true gaming classic and its a credit to the developers that they have managed to take all of the more traditional aspects of the original board game, as well as some of the more modern takes, and combine them all in one great package that is bound to be a new-found family favourite for new gamers of all ages.
Graphically it is aesthetically pleasing and very easy on the eye, with a clean and precise interface, as well as the cute and lovable avatar style characters that represent the players all being inoffensive and easy to manage. Nothing too extravagant or tricky here for novice gamers young and old to get unduly worried about, just quick to learn, simplistic gaming that allows the players to have fun.
The format is easy to understand and there is the option to turn on a tutorial mode at the start of every game should you begin a new match with a player unfamiliar to the rules. Then there are the rules themselves which, in a great move, EA has decided to combine the traditional rules as well as taking in even some of the best ‘unofficial rules’ that have spread around the globe through popularity and word of mouth. What do we mean? Let me explain:
Remember the ‘Free Parking Rule’ that a friend introduced you too? The one that allows all of the fines and taxes to placed in a ‘kitty’ so that the first person to land on the Free Parking square would scoop the lot in a sort of Last Chance Saloon for those players close to bankruptcy? Well, EA has even included a mode that allows you to play a variant on that very rule. Genius.
There are a whole host of other modes for you all to enjoy in Monopoly Streets such as the obvious traditional style Monopoly that adheres strictly to the official board game rules. But then there are also the custom modes, as well the excellent ‘Speed Round’ Mode where players are given more money and an additional die with which they can open up some cracking features such as the Monopoly Bus where players can jump on said bus and choose the place that they would prefer to alight within the confines of the moves that the dice gave alloted them for that round. There are more great modes on offer too from the Quick Round Mode to the corking Multiplayer.
Now the online play is one of the things that we really hope does well for EA with Monopoly Streets ,as even though we all love to get our game on and go popping melon’s in the latest FPS title, sometimes it’s not always about that. Sometimes its just about getting together with a few friends to catch up and enjoy each other’s company whilst playing a truly cracking game. Monopoly Streets could be that game. If people just have the foresight to allow it to be? The online itself is you and three other players going through the game together in a far more competitive nature than if it was between you and family members, don’t forget here GmP Readers, there are those all important trophies and achievements to win so make sure that you come out on top!
The main stay of the game, however, has to be the first-rate family fun that is on offer for you and three others from the comfort of your own living room. If you are a parent then this game, in particular, will be a must have during school breaks and the like if your little ones are under age to be blowing heads off in shooters. At least you can be safe in the knowledge that they are not having their minds turned to mush by some of the more mature titles on the market. But that’s Monopoly in a nutshell. It’s just good clean inoffensive entertainment of the highest order, and so if you do have children, then sitting them down on a rainy afternoon in March with a copy of this on their games console will not have you checking in on them every five minutes for fear of what may be popping up and terrifying the life out of them.
Gameplay suffers from no glaring software failures such as glitches or frame rate drop, and the actual visuals are really quite pleasant. The new introductions in the classic Monopoly formula, such as the selection of rules and modes that EA and Hasbro have made available to you, only enhance the way that you will play this game.
If you were thinking of purchasing a new copy of the board game for your family to enjoy then do yourself and the kid’s a favour and go out and purchase the Monopoly Streets version. Available for around about the same price as the official board game, Monopoly Streets will bring you all that the standard game has to offer with the added bonuses of interaction, ease of use and a whole new take on a best-selling classic, as well as some new great gaming modes to boot.
Graphics: Monopoly Streets has managed to succeed where so many previous editions and versions gave failed by listening to the fan’s and giving them exactly what they want. So instead of splashing the latest jaw-dropping graphical content into the title, which would only detract from the games actual play, EA have cleverly opted for the cute and cuddly avatar style character with the bold and bright buildings and attachments so that the focus for the player is still ‘the game’ and not its shiny and sparkly surroundings. A win in our opinion and with no problems in the frames to speak of Monopoly Streets is as much fun to look at as it is to play. 7
Gameplay: Classic Monopoly gets brought bang up to date with this excellent version from EA. Combining traditional with all the latest interpretations and offering online play to boot, Monopoly Streets will allow gamers from all age groups to enjoy this timeless family classic from a whole new perspective. 8
RePlay Value: Considering we are talking about one of the most successful ever board games, if not the most successful, then we think that it is a pretty safe bet to assume that there is replay value in this title. With the excellent graphics making the game very easy on the eyes, and the fact that there is online play and more modes than your Monopoly doggie could shake a stick at, then we think that Monopoly Streets could be the version that finally cracks the trend and brings success for the cross over franchise. 10
Presentation: All in all we think that EA and Hasbro have done a remarkable job with Monopoly Streets. You may be reading other reviews on other sites that try to convince you otherwise, but let us tell you that it’s all well and good giving Monopoly to a FPS player to do the review, but if you want an honest score of what the game is like as a piece of family entertainment then don’t take too much scope from the score that they give it. Monopoly Streets is a cracking game. When you think that just as a board game Monopoly has outsold every other game in its history it should make you think that EA could have just released a basic point and click version and been done with it and it would have still sold. So credit to them for caring about the enjoyment of their customers enough to offer them far more than most when it comes to the content of a videogame based on a board game. They have got the gameplay and the visuals spot on, and in such a way that you could play this with your six year-old child and your maiden aunt at the table and still there would be laughter and smiles. A terrific rendition of a great game made better by EA and Hasbro. 8