previews\ Jul 20, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Monopoly Streets Preview


When it was first announced, there was a good amount of confusion surrounding Monopoly Streets. Many websites erroneously said that Electronic Arts was applying the Grand Theft Auto model to the classic Parker Brothers board game. The reason for the confusion is built into the style: from the first screenshots, it certainly looked more like GTA than Monopoly. Instead of taking place on a game board, the action seemed to be on a street level, and it looked like some sort of open-world game. After seeing it in action, however, it is apparent that these early claims were wrong, and the game EA is making is much more traditional than earlier assumed.

While it’s true that Streets does take place literally on the streets, the view is actually just that: a view. Players still choose from a number of game pieces, each of which has been updated into be something more realistic (such as turning the Top Hat into a Magician and the Cannon into a Soldier). After this, the game begins, and plays… just like a normal game of Monopoly. When the player rolls the dice, he moves along the same four sided board the game has used for nearly 80 years. Jail, Marvin Gardens, Free Parking, Boardwalk, they’re all there, and they’re all realized with 3D representations. In between rolls, players will see their worths displayed by skyscrapers, in hopes to add a better sense of the rankings to players without constant money counting.

There are customizable rules that will let players to create their own settings, such as allowing property owners to build on land even if they don’t have the set, which should lead to some interesting games. Beyond that, however, there’s really not all that much to talk about that can't be found inside of a 50 year-old box of Monopoly. The game is mostly unchanged, and all of the upgrades are visual in nature. Beyond the urban city that was shown off, players can also select between a few different templates to give the game whatever cosmetic look they want. Both a futuristic city and traditional game board were mentioned, and more were teased as potential DLC.

On that same note, different pieces will also be available at or near launch as downloadable content, something that seems unnecessary, considering exactly how light the package is already going to be. Either way, it appears to be a strong game for Monopoly fans. It doesn’t attempt to reinvent the game, but, in reality, that might actually be a really good thing.

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