Review: Monopoly Family Fun Pack (PS4)

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Title: Monopoly Family Fun Pack
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PlayStation Network Download (976 MB)
Release Date: November 18, 2014
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Asobo Studio
Original MSRP: $29.99 (US), €29.99 (EU), £24.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: E
PEGI: 3
Monopoly Family Fun Pack is also available on Xbox One.
The PlayStation 4 download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was purchased by the reviewer.
PS Nation Review Policy

DLC Review(s) For This Game:
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I’ve longed for a great video game version of one of my favorite board games. Partly due to the amount of time it takes to set-up and put away when finished. However the main reason is the convenience of it being ready to play whenever I want.

Monopoly has been played by over one billion people since its release in 1935. So has Asobo Studio and Ubisoft done a decent conversion of one of the most popular board games in history?

Gameplay:
I’ve played many iterations of Monopoly on various gaming platforms over the years, each one promising so much and never quite delivering. One of the biggest issues I’ve had with many versions is not being able to change the rules. Another annoyance was normally the slow pace a large majority of the versions forced you to play at – an issue that was probably due to the processing power of the system it was being played on.

Ubisoft never got back to me on the review copy request which worried me slightly but I had to grab this game regardless and bought it as soon as I had a break in reviews and some free time. I got the Monopoly Family Fun Pack which offered the best value as it includes Monopoly Plus, My Monopoly and Monopoly Deal. You also get the Rabbids game board and player piece for free.

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Monopoly Plus is the main game which includes the new Living Board and the classic flat version that we are all used to. My Monopoly allows you to create your own boards, change the names of each property, and add a picture. If you have a PS4 camera you can also add some of your own photos to the various locations and even in the center, sadly you cannot edit or crop any pictures. Monopoly Deal is a card building game, more on this later.

Before you start a game there is the small matter of board selection. Your choices are the Living board, Classic board, one that you created earlier, or additional content. The contains three downloadable boards, one of which is the Rabbids while the other two are My Little Pony and Just Dance game boards that should be available to purchase in the near future. These boards are just variations of the classic flat game with different property names and pictures. So no getting your hopes up of a living board based on these intellectual properties, which would have been awesome.

… everyone has their own rules and additions to the game …

In Monopoly Plus you can choose to play an offline or online game and have up to six players. My wife and I decided to have a quick go on the Living Board whilst the kids watched and cheered for whoever was winning. The usual player pieces are available like the Dog, Race Car, and Battleship and they are all animated very well. My favorite quickly became the Rabbid and my wife prefers the Cat. After a roll of the dice to see who goes first we began the game. We were impressed at how well it plays as everything is clear and easy to understand. Each player has their icon and information at the bottom of the screen and at a glance you can easily see who has what and their all important cash reserve.

Check out my review of the Rabbids, Just Dance, and My Little Pony DLC packs here.
Chazz H.

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Trading also makes sense once you get used to the controls and screen layout. The potential trade can be countered, declined, or accepted with the simple press of a button. A feature unknown to my family is that you have to land on one of your own properties to initiate the trade option or build on a property. This brings me to one of the biggest annoyances about this version of Monopoly because everyone has their own rules and additions to the game. For example some people collect double the amount of cash if they land on GO instead of passing it. Other people have all the money obtained from tax collection put into the middle of the board and if someone lands on Free Parking, they get it all. These little nuances and variants are just a few of the many ways people play this classic board game.

Now it’s understandable that the developers couldn’t put every game variant into this title and so picked some of the most popular. Before starting the game you can pick one of these options, but let me stress the ONE in that sentence because for some bizarre reason that’s all you can pick. It’s a ridiculous decision and really bugs me. I cannot fathom why your are unable to check which ones you want to enable before starting a game. It really seems like laziness on the part of the developers.

… a graphical style very reminiscent of the latest SimCity game …

There is also the My Monopoly game mode that allows you create your own boards, be it a living or classic flat board. With the living boards you can arrange the center of the board with unlocked skyscrapers, tenement buildings, parks, stadiums, and more. I also encountered a few bugs here, the worst being a stadium appearing across the edge of the GO square and not moving for love nor money, I had to delete the board and start again.

Another rule selection choice is the speed dice that makes for a vastly quicker game if you haven’t got the time. You can also take advantage of the auto-save option for up to three different game save slots.

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Monopoly Deal is an online only card game for up to five players and I’ve only seen it whilst browsing my local toy shop. I was happy to see it has a tutorial that consists of a quick game with a vague explanation of most of the rules and different cards in the game. However it doesn’t do enough to explain every aspect of the game and the only way to find out is by trial and error in a real match. My first try was embarrassingly bad and I still had little clue as to how to properly play this strange card game. I strongly suggest checking online for how to play this and not to feel bad about losing the first few games.

Visuals:
The living game boards are excellent. Each property color has its own building type that fits well with their monetary value. The jail has fences and guard towers surrounding it and a large metal cage drops in from the sky if a player is sent there. The inner part of the board is filled with an active city that looks alive. Monopoly Plus has a graphical style very reminiscent of the latest SimCity game, complete with its depth of field effect and style of buildings and tiny people. Look closely and you’ll see citizens mowing their lawns or driving around, some are even scaling a building probably up to no good.

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This living three-dimensional city looks great as it bursts from the board but also interferes with the dice that roll around the open space. They’ll bounce off the buildings and knock over the player pieces and properties. The worst occasion is trying to roll a double when your piece is banged up for their nefarious deeds. The dice continually get caught on the jail and guard tower. It isn’t a major problem, I just feel like I’m being cheated out of a fair roll.

The standard My Monopoly boards also look great and the dice are free to roll across the entire board with the only obstruction being the small houses, hotels, player pieces and the Community Chest and Chance Cards near the centre of the board. The background has some translucent dice and player pieces floating aimlessly around, it looks good and is much better than an empty space.

… online or offline games, but strangely not a mixture of the two …

Audio:
Light and easy-going music is the order of the day with charming tunes throughout and fun audio effects this game is pleasant to the ears. There is even a commentator that remarks on the actions of the players, though sadly the various comments are often repeated during the game and sometimes don’t even relate to the action on-screen. At least you can alter the volume levels and mute that annoying voice.

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Online/Multiplayer:
While you can play this game on your own with A.I. opponents it really excels with several people. You can opt to have online or offline games, but strangely not a mixture of the two. Unless I’m doing something wrong, no matter what I did I couldn’t add other offline players when playing online. Playing online is smooth and worked well every time I played. You can set up exactly the same style of game from the single player and choose a private or open game.

I ended up spending the majority of time in multiplayer matches with my family since using one controller and passing it to the next player works very well. Sadly using that option you cannot alter the names so are stuck with Player Two, Three, etc. The controller’s light bar doesn’t even change to corresponding players color when it’s their turn. These are minor gripes in one of the best Monopoly games I’ve ever played, I guess I’m just being picky.

Conclusion:
Monopoly Family Fun Pack is an expensive but enjoyable game. I would probably just be happy with just Monopoly Plus as the rest of the content isn’t as good as I’d have liked. The Rabbids table and player piece are okay and I do like being able to create my own boards but doubt I’ll ever go near Monopoly Deal again, it just isn’t my kind of game.

If you like the game of Monopoly then this is a great console version. Monopoly Plus with the living board is great and with a few minor niggles and strange omissions my family loves playing it. I would like to see more player pieces and boards based around Ubisoft properties in the future but for now I must go and work out how to pay off the massive rent I owe to the wife and her evil hotel.

Score:
8.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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  • sophie canning

    do you use one controller and take turns using it or do i have to buy 4 controllers just to be able to play?

    • ChazzH69

      It was either one controller for all or one controller each, you can pick.

  • Pingback: Review: Monopoly Plus: Rabbids, Just Dance, My Little Pony (DLC) | PlayStation Nation()

  • Krystine Eckerman

    We are not able to get a second controller to log into the online mode. We have tried sending invitations to one and another, but can’t not seem to find a solution. Any advice?

    • ChazzH69

      I have checked again and sadly it remains the same:

      Asobo Studio and Ubisoft never added the ability to have more than one local player during an online game, it baffles my mind that this option still isn’t available.

      • ATC84

        I signed up and still can’t log on the online play. Please help.

    • ATC84

      How do i login online. Please help

  • Bongani Marufu

    It’s a shame you register but never able to sign in. The dice seem rigged as well because you can go a few rounds avoiding buildings even if board is full of buildings. The odds seem to set to favour that to prolong gameplay which sucks fun out of game

  • akedo1

    Can you play the custom “my monopoly” boards online? i would love to customize a board with pics, names and humor and invite my monopoly plus pals to join… it says you can share and play with others.. but does not not state specifically.. so i am a little iffy to buy it.. (have plus just not the “my monopoly” .. Would be extremely helpful since there is really no information about this game almost ANYwhere..

  • melissa

    I am new to this game and need a little help trading the properties. Any tips on how to do it?