Review: Monopoly Streets (Wii)

Does it pass Go or should it go directly to jail?

Ah, Monopoly, the classic board game we all know and love, where you attempt to become the dominant force across the market and can become a rich tycoon living the high life in Mayfair or end up in the dumps of Old Kent Road. Starting back in 1903, it has since become one of the most successful board games of all time and remains very popular to this day. We've also seen it in many previous video game adaptations, including one previous attempt on the Wii. This time around, EA has decided to try something a bit different by adapting some Monopoly boards into 3D cities, but not much else has really changed.

There's only one real mode, the main Monopoly game, which can accompany up to four players and computer opponents. There's also a large range of choices to keep things varied, such as three different difficulty settings that alter to a large degree how smart the AI is when it comes to buying properties.

On top of that, there are six different pre-set house rules available with the ability to create your own rule variations. Most importantly, there are nine different boards overall with two utilising the new 3D city design and the other seven sticking to the familiar style, which range from the classic design to jungle and ice themes. While there's definitely some nice variation here, it's disappointing to see only two 3D cities included for the release, particularly since they make a nice addition to the game.

The various player pieces return here, such as the car and the dog, who are also accompanied by a set of generic characters new to the game. Not of all of them are available straight away – you can buy some of them from the shop when you've earned enough virtual Monopoly money during play, including the ability to play as your Mii. You can also unlock a brand new board in this way.

The game recreates the Monopoly board pretty well, with classic properties and colour system well intact alongside main features such as auctioning properties, trading with your opponents, building houses and hotels, mortgaging your properties and, if worse comes to worse, filing for bankruptcy when the money has run out, with the winner simply being who's been able to last long enough.

Not much is new for the 3D boards at heart – they're basically just like normal Monopoly if played across a large city. The only real change is that you now have a “Corporate HQ” that grows and shrinks depending on the total value of your money and properties combined, which is a nice touch but doesn't add much. It's the same old game it ever was, even if nothing has really changed at its core, and EA has done a good job recreating it for the Wii.

Of course, if you're playing on your own, this is really not the right game for you. The fun has always been in multiplayer, which is a blast when played with four people. Matches can drag on for ages sometimes, however, particularly if you're left with a computer opponent, and once you've gone bankrupt, the wait for others to finish can be very boring. This isn't helped by the fact that computer opponents don't always seem to play fair. While in the end it boils down to random chance from the dice roll, it can feel quite frustrating at times when a CPU opponent repeatedly misses particular spaces on the board, such as ones containing a lot of your houses or a hotel.

Graphically, Monopoly Streets utilises a rather colourful design, particularly around the 3D cities. They suffer from a lack of polish, however, looking a bit rough at times, and it's a similar story for the character models. Audio-wise, the game has a rather energetic soundtrack that works rather well. It also features character voices, though some of these can become rather annoying.

Conclusion

Anyone who's a fan of the board game will find enjoyment in Monopoly Streets, and EA has done a good job bringing this version to the Wii. While 3D cities are a nice added feature, though, there's not really enough new brought to the table to make this a standout experience, and if you own one of the other video game versions already, you're better off looking elsewhere.

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