The Redhead avoids the guard's gaze just barely thanks to that pillar. Oh, and that cat? That cat will ruin your day
While Monaco is not the usual stealth game, it still relies upon some of the same tropes that define that genre. The key one being enemies will only be interested in you and pursue you as long as they can see you and know where you are. Monaco uses what can best be described as a “radial” line of sight effect. Essentially, if you’re walking down a corridor to a large room, you’ll only be able to see the part of the room that’s directly in front of you in a small cone. As you walk down the hall and get closer to the room, this view expands out and you’re able to see more. This reveal switches the formerly gray/black outline of the room into a full color depiction complete with the room’s occupants and furnishings.
It's a very slick and artistic effect (in one level I found myself running past a line of windows over and over again just to watch the slivers of room appear and disappear) but it isn’t always practical. While the color versus grayscale contrast can make it clear what you can see, it can be tough to tell exactly what the guards can see. You may be hiding behind a pillar or around a corner, unable to see a guard, but suddenly they’re shouting “alarm!” and coming after you. Once the panic sets in and you’re running around looking for a place to lie low, the shifting colors once more can make it difficult to find the nearest hiding spot in order to escape your pursuers. While this particular problem doesn’t get any better with co-op, everything else does.
Monaco was meant to be played cooperatively. The situations that are equal parts challenging and frustrating when playing solo become far easier (and more fun) when playing with a friend, or two, or three. That’s mainly due to the expanded array of abilities you have at your disposal when you add more thieves to the mix, but also because the very core of the game is about a group of thieves making it out of Monaco, not just one. This isn’t a one-man mission, it’s a team operation. Simply put: if you’re not playing Monaco with someone else, you’re missing out on the vast majority of what this game has to offer.
Whereas solo play is more focused on being able to get through a level with what limited resources you have at your disposal, cooperative play is all about executing a skillful heist while getting the most out of each thief’s ability. Whatever group of thieves you and your friends decide to go with, there will most assuredly be a use for them. If it’s your first time playing the level, you’ll likely spend some time “casing the joint;” planning out the best routes for your group to take, learning the routes of the guards, and figuring out how to steal everything that’s not nailed down. You may even decide to restart the level and restructure your crew. That is, of course, one method.
Whenever you bring the Mole with you, walls are merely doors that have yet to be opened
The other approach resembles Vinnie and Sol’s attempt to knock over the bookies in “Snatch” rather than the professional maneuvering of Danny Ocean and his crew. Everything starts off calm and controlled: telling the Locksmith to come over to your location to open a door, or asking the Cleaner to knock out that guard. Eventually, though, someone’s going to set off an alarm or cause a guard to get too curious, and that’s when the fun begins. The chaos that can ensue from being discovered by the guards while playing Monaco cooperatively is, quite frankly, highly entertaining. The calm and moody piano music suddenly changes to a more frantic and hurried pace. Shouts of “what are you doing?! Don’t go over there!” are quickly followed by a stream of expletives and laughter. If any sort of gun is added to this mix, then your group will likely go on a killing spree that would put 1920s gangsters to shame.
The best advice I have for situations like these: embrace it. Have fun with it. Quote all your favorite heist movies all at the same time. Don’t worry about a teammate dying (you can always revive them), or trying to make it a perfect crime. Just enjoy the moment for what it is and be prepared for the next one. I honestly have never enjoyed things going so horribly wrong as much as I have when playing Monaco with a group of friends.
Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine is one of the finest executions of cooperative gameplay I’ve seen this year, and perhaps even within the past year of co-op games. The lack of combo co-op is a slight damper on the fun, but that does not stop it from being a complete and utter fantastic co-op experience. Each level will provide you and your teammates with new and creative ways to appropriate, burglarize, lift, loot, make off with, misappropriate, and otherwise ransack the country of Monaco in whatever way you see fit. Whether it’s cool and calculated, or an all-out free-for-all of pillaging, the world of Monaco is yours to do with as you see fit. There is no greater treasure in a game than to simply have the freedom to play and have fun with your friends.
The Co-Optimus review of Monaco is based on the PC version of the game. A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
The Co-Op Experience: Team up with up to four people on the same screen or online to steal everything that isn't nailed down
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.