EA claimed recently that videogames could never replace board games, and they%26rsquo;ve successfully proven this point by releasing Monopoly: so inferior to its cardboardy cousin it could well be a practical joke. The game consists largely of pressing a single button, once every five minutes, and then making a cup of tea while you wait for your turn. As if to taunt you, or perhaps as a sarcastic acknowledgement of the game%26rsquo;s dullness, Hasbro mascot Mr. Monopoly will randomly dance onto the screen and declare how %26lsquo;exciting%26rsquo; everything is. It really, really isn%26rsquo;t.
The standard mode is exactly like Monopoly of yore, except the system handles die rolls and movement automatically, leaving players the fun %26lsquo;choice%26rsquo; of confirming decisions that have no other options. The real fun of Monopoly lies in the relationships between players; in little Jimmy getting one-up on Dad by putting him out of business; in Uncle Eric making desperate, pleading deals, before stomping off to find the gin. A family crowding around a console and pressing a button every once in a while isn%26rsquo;t the same.
To compensate, EA have included a host of console-only extras. Chief among them is Richest Edition, a mode that strips the classic board game, and injects a series of tedious minigames in their place. A number of seemingly random factors determine the eventual winner, ensuring plenty of arguments, but also a definite detriment to fun. One feature absent, however, is online play. The only justifiable reason for the game%26rsquo;s existence %26ndash; the only benefit it would have had over the board game %26ndash; and it%26rsquo;s nowhere to be found. A decision astonishing in its stupidity. There%26rsquo;s nothing here to suggest the game needed a boxed release: it%26rsquo;s the kind of title that Xbox Live Arcade, PS3 Network, and WiiWare was built for. At five or ten bucks, it would have been a fun novelty. At full price, however, it%26rsquo;s practically theft. Still, you%26rsquo;ve got to admire their tycoon spirit.
Nov 13, 2008