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The latest version of the traditional and well-loved board game comes across as a tired rehash. With the basic gameplay lacking in depth and personality we were all bored before our first session was over. The Richest Edition rule-set turns Monopoly into an entertaining mini-game collection and helps to give this title some interest. But when there are better and cheaper versions available, this full price game was something I or the family couldn't bear to stomach for more than half an hour.
Making a Monopoly game for the consoles should really be something difficult to get wrong. After all there aren't many chaotic variables to worry about. All you need are virtual dice, plastic houses and a few wads of paper money. But this Monopoly seems to make everything about my favourite board a dull and frustrating experience.
The first disappointment for me and the family came with the stingy selection of boards. For a full priced game I was hoping for a bit more variety. Starting off with the Classic board is fair enough and the inclusion of the World Edition flavour of Monopoly is good as well. But when the only other unlockable boards are based on cheese or sweets, there's hardly an incentive to keep playing.
The first disappointment for me and the family came with the stingy selection of boards. For a full priced game I was hoping for a bit more variety.
At the very least I was hoping for some regional boards or even a licensed option such as Star Wars. The shallow variety became a major stumbling block for many of the family game nights I had planned. When I know I can bring out a better version for the PS2 or even one for a mobile phone then I know something's not right.
After struggling through a few games of the normal Monopoly rule-set we decided to try out ‘The Richest Edition'. This promised a streamlined experience with the added hook of playing and finishing a game in 30 minutes. Sounded odd but intriguing to us. After all, Monopoly was never designed to be reduced to a set of minigames for a party. As bizarre as it sounds, doing away with money and concentrating on acquiring property in a barter-based system worked a treat.
Landing on vacant property means that it's bought automatically. Paying rent now means handing over properties to your opponents. The Community Chest and Chance cards now add a bit more chaotic balance by allowing losing players to steal properties from the winners. Going to jail now means a harsher penalty by surrendering several assets to get out.
Although the mini-games became tedious and fiddly, we ended up having great fun with ‘The Richest Edition'. The three modes change the number of rounds and how active the Community Chest cards are. It certainly wasn't what the family was looking for when we started the game but this mode became the highlight of the package.
Despite this bright spark to the game I couldn't help but feel short-changed by the end of it. What seemed a glaring miss to all of us was the lack of any online multiplayer. Pitting one family against another across Xbox Live or the Playstation Network would have been a wonderful addition. What would have been even better is making a slimmed down version available for download.
TThis isn't a terrible conversion of the classic board game but it feels like a very mediocre effort. The Richest Edition provided a lot of fun for the family. But when we were looking to play a traditional Monopoly game we ended up dusting off the old physical board and playing that instead.
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