Xbox 360 Monopoly
by Amanda Nettgen
Monopoly for the Xbox 360
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As Mr. Monopoly will tell you in the game, “Forget what you know about Monopoly. This is something completely new!” – and he’s right. This version includes gameplay that is so much more than your traditional marathon game of Monopoly.
The game and gameplay
Something you may find interesting is that I don’t even own the board game of Monopoly, yet I love this game. While I won’t deny that the board game is a classic, let’s face it: it’s not the type of game you can just pull out, play in 30 minutes, and have everyone be entertained. The opposite is true for the Xbox 360 edition.
From the main menu, you have three choices for play: Monopoly Edition, Richest Edition, and Minigames. I’ll say right off the bat, don’t worry about playing the minigames by themselves; you won’t want to! (You’ll get your fill of them in Richest Edition, anyway).
Now I played Richest Edition innumerably more times than I did the Monopoly Edition, but it’s still necessary to play if you seek certain achievements, like rolling a double six (10G), building your first set of hotels (50G), and being responsible for the bankruptcy of another player (20G). It’s also worthy of play if you desire a faster (because there’s no set-up) but still completely traditional game of Monopoly. You can customize House Rules and play on any of the twelve boards you have unlocked: Classic, Future, Sweet, Cheese, Jungle, Ice, Deco, Cardboard, or World theme.
Monopoly Edition will play pretty much exactly like the board game take, with the option to buy or auction as you land on each space. Before the end of each turn you’re presented with the opportunity to manage your properties, where you can buy houses, pay off mortgages, and trade with the other players (useful for some achievements, including the “have the same amount of money as the release year” one).
Richest Edition is what made Monopoly for the 360 appeal to me in the first place. I was intrigued by how one could play Monopoly in the quoted 30 minutes and was attracted to all of the funky new boards.
Richest Edition is crazy and chaotic, but not as complicated as it first appears. You can play either a Developer game (6 turns), Industrialist game (9 turns), or Tycoon game (12 turns), but you’ll have to try all three lengths at some point for the achievements, of course!
Next, select which board you want to use. Yes, you’ll have to play through the boring-in-comparison Classic Board in order to unlock more exciting themes (the World Board is the other one that is immediately available). As you land on and acquire a property, you’ll get a Passport stamp for that space. After you reach a certain amount of stamps, another board is unlocked. Get all of the stamps for all boards for a brag-worthy 100G achievement.
Each unique board has its own set of tokens, property names, colors, and sounds based on the theme at hand. If you’re playing using computer players, know that even the Easy Skill ones often kicked my butt when it game to the minigames (and I’m no 360 novice). It seemed like there was always just one stupid AI, and the other two made no mistakes. That’s okay, though, because thankfully, Richest Edition involves more strategy than you might think (even if you sometimes do horribly in the minigame).
Each of the six to twelve rounds begins with a dice roll, but it’s not to dictate how many spaces you will move or anything like that. Each of the four dice instead represents the number of Monopoly space cards that will be drawn in a player’s name. Everyone goes on to play one of twelve minigames, and the winner of the particular minigame gets first choice of the dice that were rolled.
Monopoly spot cards are drawn randomly, landing you on previously played spaces in later rounds. Any property space you are dealt that is unowned becomes yours – for the time being, anyway. You will probably be forced to give it up as “rent” later to another player, if a subsequent card draw landed you on one of their property spaces. If you’re fortunate enough to own a Monopoly and you land on one of your own spaces, this is how houses and then hotels are built (I guess by Habitat for Humanity, because they’re free!).
Having Mr. Monopoly walk around the board to figure out fates is what takes the bulk of the game time. It involves constant swapping and even stealing of properties until the very end. And if you’re on top, you may not be on top for long thanks to the Richest version of the Community Chest card: the poorest player gets to take any three properties from any of the other players.
It all sounds totally crazy and random, huh? But one way strategy comes into play is to take properties that Mr. Monopoly hasn’t gotten to yet that other players have landed on so that they will owe you rent then as well (if you get Community Chest or something). You also need to be wary when it comes to rent of not giving another player one of your cards that could then grant them a Monopoly (three properties of a color set).
When the final sweep of the board is complete during your last round, it is the player who is – you got it – the richest who wins.
Pros and cons
Monopoly for the 360 has near-perfect entertainment value. It exceeded my expectations with its beautiful boards and interesting, alternative gameplay. It’s also very generous with its achievements; I got *eight* the first day I played it, which also happened to be my birthday. What lovely presents for a gamer who appreciates their meaning.
Monopoly does lose some points in a few areas, though. On the minor end is stuff like not being able to skip the old man’s lengthy explanation of the Community Chest card each time you play. As for the major side, that would definitely have to be the minigames. Most are Left Stick-based, proving to be difficult for those of us who don’t have lightning fast reflexes, and playing these sort of aggressive games may scratch up your controller to boot.
They also don’t appear to be fair in that the richest player will have more money bags to throw into his safe and such.
Monopoly is a “must” for any Monopoly lover who also happens to have an Xbox 360. Even if you’re not a total Monopoly nut like me, if you’re open to the game idea and live for achievements, you’re likely to enjoy and even become addicted to this pick as well.