Xbox 360/Wii Review: Monopoly

Everyone’s favourite board game hits the next-gen consoles, will it make you rich with joy or bankrupt with disappointment?

The MONOPOLY video games promise a fresh take on the timeless classic with accessible gameplay for players of all ages and skill levels. The all-new digital gaming edition brings a party twist and features 4-player simultaneous play, ensuring that everyone is engaged and allowing the whole family to get involved in the fun and play together. Faster gameplay eliminates downtime freeing up players to wheel and deal their way through some of the most recognizable cities and landmarks from around the world. Families can fill up their passports as they try to unlock new and never-before-seen game boards or challenge each other to fun interactive mini-games like breaking out of the jail cell and running away with all the loot. Play in offline single or multi-player mode and compete to own it all and win!

In this all-new, super-fast version, trade properties and compete in exciting mini-games to see who makes the top of the rich list!

Over the years there have been many Monopoly videogames and for the most part, most of them have been pretty bad. With EA taking the license, you would expect it to either be really good or really bad. It actually falls in the middle as it retains the classic board formula while being easy to play, customisable with its rules but lacks online on any version.

I’m reviewing both the Wii and 360 versions of Monopoly in the same review, it seems an odd thing to do but the game looked so identical between versions, even the 360 version has cursors that you move around with the analog stick, which is instead handled with the remote on the Wii. The only real difference between the two is that the Xbox 360 version runs in a slightly higher resolution and has really easy achievements to get.

The object of Monopoly is simple: Buy properties, place houses and hotels on them and bankrupt your opponents. The rules of Monopoly seem to change between households, so the game lets you customise them. For example, not everyone believes that if you land on GO that you get double earnings. You can also change the amount of money that everyone gets to start with and how much they get for landing on Free Parking.etc, it helps to defuse any arguments on that front.

Rolling the dice is a simple case of tapping A or in the Wii’s case, shaking the remote and then pressing A. It’s random as it would be in real life, so you can’t really complain about that. The gameplay can be a little different in the form of auctions, which happen when a player decides to go that way instead of buying a property. It’s a chance for someone else to win it without it being their turn. You can do the standard trading, although convincing an AI to give over a property will take a good offer. Finally, you can mortgage your property to get some needed funds to pay an outstanding debt.

There are a lot of boards for you to play, not just the classic UK one. You unlock them as you progress, adding stamps to your passport for buying each property and so on. If there’s one problem with Monopoly, its that it feels like it should have been an arcade title instead of a full retailed game, it seems a bit of a rip-off and the lack of online hurts the game huge. What bugs me is that the box of the 360 actually has LIVE written on it, yet it has no online features of any kind. Maybe they are thinking of adding them later down the line or add some downloadable content like new boards? Who knows?

There are also mini-games and a Richest mode that adds some extra replay value to the game. But purists will want to stick with the classic mode as I did. Visually, the game looks okay but the 360 version just looks like a higher resolution game than the Wii version, which is a shame. The music can be a bit annoying as can the repetitive talking from the Monopoly guy with the beard.

The Verdict

Monopoly had the potential to be a must-have title and it might have done it if it had online play and was made available over Xbox Live Arcade, Playstation Network and WiiWare. Instead the hefty price tag might put people off from delving into this classic board game.