My opinion of video game versions of board games and card games is usually very poor. I wholeheartedly believe there is little to no reason for them, as they already exist without the need to involve electricity. There really is only one rationale for their existence, and that would be multiplayer options, preferably online, to play a quick game or two when there is little to no chance of getting a game going round a table. The likes of UNO and Texas Hold ‘em on XBLA are great examples of developers getting it spot on in my opinion.
This version of Monopoly however is not off to a good start, as it fervently pokes fun at enternet cables due to there being no online options available whatsoever. If that isn’t bad enough, then the game is limited to just 4 players, which is a step down from 6 players of the real version of the game. However, that’s just the tip of the really nasty “Leonardo DeCaprio is dying, I need you to swim Rose” type iceberg in terms of problems for this game, as there are a collection of gameplay missteps too.
Time for a third paragraph revelation! Before I go any further, I will admit I am not a huge fan of the board game, but nonetheless I still know a portion of the rules. Even with this limited knowledge, I can see many problems right from the get go. Firstly, there seems to be too many instances where the game places its own spin on rules, particularly in the instances when money is placed centre-board.
Likewise, there are many of the other alternate rules, rules which many adopt to shorten play time, that have not been included or included in limited form only. This means you probably won’t play the version of the game you want if you wish to deviate in any way from the official rules of the game. This seems to have been done to keep things simple for everyone involved, but limiting or changing rules, no matter how slightly, is not going to please the main audience the game is aimed at.
Another particularly nasty annoyance is that dice rolls in the game don’t seem to be completely random. If you think of it like a racing game where the AI will speed up to catch you, or slow down a bit to let you get back into contention, then this is pretty much the same thing, with lucky rolls seemingly happening just when each player needs them the most. Also, even though 10+ different versions of the game are boasted there are only two real Monopoly boards on show – World Edition and Regular Edition. The others are all joke boards, with just small visual changes to differentiate them. This honestly seems like a cop out.
Yet another nuisance, which is also connected to the AI, is that the game puts forth a rather mediocre challenge when played in single player, and constantly makes moves that do not make any sense. If online options were available then this could be overlooked, but as a result you’re left with a game that can only be played in multiplayer, and can only be enjoyed if you decide to adapt to the way it wants to be played.
As a virtual game of Monopoly the game does have some merit, and it manages to competently make the iconic features of the board game come to life. However, because of these added scenes you are stuck with many unskippable animations that happen multiple times throughout rounds. On a similar note, unskippable text updates pop up on varying occasions as well to tell you something you already know. In essence, this means every time you want to do something in the game you are forced to do, watch, or read something else that makes the process well over twice as long as it should be – which in the long run is abut as welcome as a dead pigeon on your doorstep.
Even if this was a PSN/XBLA release, with a retail price of £10, it would be nowhere near good enough to keep the real version of the game locked up in the cupboard. So, as a boxed retail release, boasting a RRP of £30, with significantly less features than other games of similar ilk that are available for download, it’s hard to find any reason to recommend picking it up.
The game is not criminally poor, and nowhere near as painful as having red hot needles shoved into your eyes, but at times you get an insidious feeling that those involved put as little effort as possible into delivering the final product.