Video Game Review
Sony PSP (Mini)
Developed by: EA
Published by: EA
Monopoly has to be my favourite traditional board game. Playing Monopoly through digital means has been touch-and-go. While there was a really good Monopoly game made for DOS back in the 80s, there haven’t been all that many good digital versions since then. Other than the most recent home console version for the Wii, Xbox 360, and PS2 which were made by EA, most versions tend to be on the atrocious side. The PSP Mini version is one that falls into the downright horrible category. It’s slow, boring, and essentially no fun.
All the elements of Monopoly has been shrunk down for the PSP. All the rules run perfectly on the system and there are options to turn on popular house rules like a bonus if you land on Free Parking. There are also extra boards that can be unlocked by playing the game repeatedly. While these extra boards are neat to see once, they really don’t add much to the game.
Everything looks like it should with the board being replicated well. There are plenty of animations to give the game a graphical polish. The sound isn’t great though and it’s one of those games that make people lash out with anger against Sony for not having the option to play MP3s while playing the game.
There is little good to say about this version of Monopoly. The display looks fine which is relieving. Granted, it’s on the PSP which has an incredible amount of horsepower but it’s easy to screw up board games on the smaller screen so it’s nice to see everything translated well. The other really good thing about the game is that you don’t need two PSPs to play the thing (although it would have been nicer if that option was included too). You only need to pass the PSP to the friend (real or imaginary) that you’re playing against when it’s their turn. The game is also really cheap. In fact, this is the most inexpensive game of Monopoly you’ll ever purchase with the exception of one you might find at a yard sale that’s missing the ever-so-important car token.
However, there’s plenty of bad. The game is slow and clunky. Sometimes it takes around 15 seconds for the dice roll animation to stop. Even with this, it still feels like playing the PSP Mini version takes more time than an actual game of Monopoly. It’s ok if you’re playing the game with another person but if you’re playing the single player game, it’s beyond awful. The biggest issue is that the computer will offer you horrible trades every single turn soon after half the properties in the game are bought. It wouldn’t be so bad if the trades are different but the computer keeps offering the same stupid trade each time. It’s almost as if the computer is hoping that in your frustrated attempts to speed up the game, you’ll hit the wrong button and accept the one-sided trade. Another problem is that the extra boards are locked at the start and only after each victory you unlock one board. I don’t know if I’d rather spend an extra dollar on the game to have all the boards unlocked from the start because I don’t if I actually care that the boards are locked in the first place. If the main game with the original board feels lame and boring, a futuristic board isn’t going to change anything.
EA’s Monopoly for the PSP Mini service is a giant bust. You’ll have way more fun playing the actual board game than playing this digital piece of garbage. In fact, even if you’re playing in a car, you’ll enjoy playing the game with either the pieces going flying with every turn and stop or taped to the board with duct tape rather than the PSP Mini version on a long trip.