Well I feel like I’m late to the party… or heist to be more precise. I remember seeing game footage for this game around the time of its release and while I did think it looked like an interesting idea I didn’t think that it was a game suited for me. How wrong I was. Playing Monaco has been the most refreshing game I’ve played in a while. Just watching videos or looking at images really does not do this game justice. You have to play it to appreciate all the little things it does right. It’s not without its faults but in the grand scheme of things they really get buried by everything that Monaco does so well.
So what exactly is Monaco? At its core, Monaco is a game about a group of thieves, each with their own perks. It is up to you to decide which of the thieves is the best for the job at hand. The premise is usually very simple. Get into the building, find what you’re looking for (This could be a captured thief or whatever loot applies to the mission) and finally escape. All sounds very simple doesn’t it? Also sounds like it’s been done before; but what if I told you that Monaco has more in common with Pac-Man than Pay Day?
Monaco is played from a top down perspective. This doesn’t mean that you can see everything though. You can only see what is in your characters general line of sight. The rest of the map is presented as a blueprint. I really liked this design choice as it made me think that these guys really did some research before coming to the building. But that kind of preparation can only get you so far. Just because you know where all the rooms are doesn’t mean you know what is lurking within them. More often than not there is something lurking within them; whether it is guards, dogs or traps it is your job to find the best route to avoid all of them.
What I love about this game is that replaying levels doesn’t always yield better results. Yes you gain knowledge of how to play better but objectives change location each time you play which helps keep the game very fresh and stops you from just running through the motions just to get a better time.
Yes this game is all about time but not just about time, it is also about how thoroughly you scour each level for its treasure. In each stage as well as the main objective there is also lots of gold scattered throughout the level. It is in your best interest to collect as many of these as you can as any missed will incur a time penalty which could drastically ruin what you thought was a good run. Finished the heist in two minutes but avoided most of the gold? That could leave you with a 10 minute plus completion time.
My favourite part about this game is the music. I don’t like to think of it as soundtrack as to me that implies that it is fixed and never changes. This is music that changes depending on the state of the heist. The ragtime piano really captures perfectly when things go from smooth operation to holy crap there’s a dog chasing me.
This game is great to play in single player but where it really shines is in four player co-op. When each of you selects a different thief you can really see how their skills complement each other. While this feels great to coordinate the perfect heist together it is also the sight of perfect anarchy when things go wrong. As well as being co-op it also has a competitive element as you are all scored individually. So while you are working together to finish the level you are also trying to be the one to pick up the most gold or be the first to reach the escape vehicle.
My only real gripe about the game is that when you manage to elude some guards they just seem to go back to their routines a little bit too quickly. I’ve seen this in a lot of games so it’s not just Monaco at fault here. Maybe if they made the guards be playable it would make the game even more frantic as a real player wouldn’t forget that they had just seen someone go out that door few seconds ago.
Overall I had a great time with Monaco and would love to play it again but with some friends rather than the randoms I got teamed up with (I’m playing on PC, gamer tag: tnjrox hint hint!). This game really took me by surprise and I’m kicking myself that I didn’t get in on the action sooner. So if you’re like me and have overlooked this game up to now then I say go and pick it up. Hands down by biggest surprise of the year.
MLG Rating: 9/10 Format: Xbox 360 /PC Release Date: 10/5/2013
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a copy of Monaco What’s Yours Is Mine for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of 7 days on a PC. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.