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Review

Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine Review

  • First Released
  • Reviewed:
  • X360
Aaron Sampson on Google+

The uneven Monaco: What Yours Is Mine showcases the highs and lows of being a professional thief.

Thieves are an indefatigable lot. Even the best surveillance equipment can only temporarily slow down a resourceful robber, and protecting treasure only gets harder as its value rises. So when a talented burglar lives in the affluent city-state of Monaco, the lure of priceless goods is impossible to resist. After all, just one late-night outing to an inviting bank could yield enough fortune to retire to an even more beautiful place than this quiet French Riviera locale. In Monaco: What's Yours is Mine, you fill your bulging pockets with every coin and gold nugget you can get your hands on, and though the bumbling guards have little chance of thwarting your hijinks, the rush of a successful heist makes you eager to dig deeper into the world of villainy.

Navigating the decadent buildings that populate Monaco is akin to reading a blueprint. Viewed from a top-down perspective, the floor plan is not immediately discernible. Room names are etched in bold font, clearly labeling where the vault or dressing room is located, but the details aren't apparent until your sight lines give substance to the rough sketch. There's a disorienting transition at first as a basic outline becomes a fully realized room when you enter it, and then transforms back to a lifeless map when you leave. Lights and colors seemingly flash at random, so getting your bearings can be troublesome because of the unique way things are communicated. But once you understand how to read the blocky shapes, there's a beautiful elegance to the abstract visual design.

You start by selecting one specialist from a group of skilled thieves and try to ransack Monaco, either by your lonesome or with up to three friends. Each character is well schooled in the art of stealing, which makes it possible to slink through darkened halls no matter whom you select or how many people are in your party. Everyone can pick locks, hack computers, open safes, and bamboozle guards, but each character has his or her own expertise as well. The lookout, for instance, identifies obstacles and valuables outside of your normal field of view, while the cleaner can knock guards unconscious with a whack to the back of the head. All of the characters have a role that makes completing levels easier, except for the pickpocket. Although his monkey pal can collect stray gold coins, he's not thorough enough to make him a worthwhile choice.

Being surrounded can lead to a quick end.

Objectives remain the same regardless of which character you choose. Infiltrate a building, steal a specific treasure, and then flee faster than you've ever fled before. Guards shine their flashlights down blackened hallways, marching in unpredictable patterns that keep you guessing which path you should take to avoid them. Locked doors and security lasers abound, and though it takes no more than a few seconds to disable most obstacles, there's an undeniable feeling of dread as you frantically try to pick a lock while a guard hovers dangerously nearby. When your trackers sense that something is amiss, they mutter French phrases that make you hold your breath. Quoi? Qui va la?? It's a tense ordeal, and your heart flutters all the more thanks to the excellent musical score. A simple piano melody accompanies your voyage through the shadows, but once you're spotted, the tempo quickens, making you feel the stress of imminent capture.

Trying to glide unseen through formidable compounds is nerve-racking, but Monaco stumbles when you're sighted. Guards yell frantically to their colleagues, and sirens issue a piercing blare, but you can escape from the chaos in a pinch. Memory issues plague every guard, so even if they watch you crawl into an air duct, they soon forget about your existence. Air ducts are not present in every level, but staircases are. When you move to a new landing, the guards have no idea there was a disturbance down below, and if you want to go back to where you started the ruckus, it takes only a few seconds for everything to go back to normal.

Still, you do have to worry about dying if you become sloppy. Armed guards can deplete your health in a hurry, and setting off certain traps means you're going to get a tranquilizer dart right in your keister. But as long as you're vigilant, you can avoid an untimely demise. There are health bandages and hidey-holes aplenty to keep you breathing, so staying alive is mostly a matter of not becoming overconfident. Because of the poor implementation of difficulty, you can often run through levels like a thieving chicken with its head cut off, scooping up treasure and scurrying to safety before you can be captured. Even the most well-intentioned thieves will grow tired of their pursuit of fortune when so little stands between them and vast riches.

Even though there's not much in the way of punishment, unlocking later levels is a tedious affair. In addition to the specific treasures you have to abscond with, there are hundreds of golden coins sprinkled in every hallway and room. When you nab every one and escape from the premises, you've "cleaned out" a stage, and that completionist mindset is necessary to gain access to the second half of this adventure. Slowly combing through every square inch of a building is a tiresome endeavor, and this roadblock to progress saps away much of the appeal of your looting antics.

Despite these foibles, Monaco manages to be an engaging experience. Being able to exploit the meager intelligence of the roaming guards doesn't squash the thrill of the heist. Sneaking past cutting-edge security systems and ducking into unoccupied bathroom stalls makes you feel like an expert jewel thief, and there are a bevy of gadgets to give some diversity to the action. Fancy slaughtering guards? Grab the shotgun. Or you can vanish into the darkness by throwing a smoke bomb. The devices let you play to your strengths, so if you're the pacifist type, you can trigger a roaming blackout or carry bandages. But if pain is your game, there are crossbows and C4 to make guards feel your wrath. Character selection ties in to this variety. The costumed gentleman can hide in plain sight, whereas the Hacker easily taps into security systems.

The docks always seem to be the most seedy of places.

Playing with friends adds another twist to your looting ways. Organizing a team of thieves makes it possible to move through stages with smooth precision. Quickly jimmy doors with the lockpick character, knock down a wall with the mole, and then distract the angry guards with the fetching redhead. Working in harmony unleashes the enjoyment of a band of odd characters robbing a bank, though there's a certain appeal to the unruly collaboration of four stubborn robbers. The best-laid plans can go up in smoke if the cleaner decides to go on a knockout binge, and trying to figure out if you should revive the sloppy hacker or leave his body to rot depends on how much help he was while alive.

Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine has noticeable problems that keep it from reaching its potential. The appeal of stealth ties in largely to how scared you are of being caught, and because it's so easy to escape in this downloadable game, the tension slowly evaporates. Even with the soft-headed guards, it's still a lot of fun to roam through this novel adventure. The sheer diversity of tactics and the lure of silly cooperative fun make you happy to put on the gloves of a thief in training.

The Good
Strong diversity of gadgets and character abilities
Dynamic cooperative heists
Amazing musical score
Novel artistic design
The Bad
Too easy to evade guards
Unlocking later levels is a grind
7
Good
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76 comments
baconnnnn
baconnnnn

gamespot hates all video games 

RussellGorall
RussellGorall

Two dollar Android games should cost two dollars.

aiat_gamer
aiat_gamer

I really like to give this game a try but I have no friends to play it online with, is it easy to find others who are willing to play co-op?

punksterdaddy
punksterdaddy

I am searching for this game on xbox live but it is not there?

Why is that..?

Anyone?

edpeterson
edpeterson

OK, I'm going to say it. Tom McShea is the Greg Miller of GS...

hojonny
hojonny

No one wants to get Mc Shea'd.

Stillwind04
Stillwind04

I guess it doesn't matter anyway. This isn't a commercial game. And it only costs $15. Chances are, if you know about this game, you already got it. And if you don't, your friend will talk you into it anyway because it's only $15. The score doesn't matter...people will still buy it. And according to Andy on his livestream earlier...he's doing very well sales wise!

franzito
franzito

It sparks little interest being a "professional thief" for me. I prefer being a thief in FF!

brok
brok

I've never really understood people's problem with short term memory guards. Would you rather be chased everywhere relentlessly the moment you're spotted, forcing you to NEVER be seen if you want to ever beat a level?

SystemOnline
SystemOnline

Personally thinks that it's absolutely right that game scores should be re-normalised, it seems that the word "good" simply doesn't mean good any more and actually means "bad" or "unplayable" to many people. It seems that during the last few years scores were constantly inflated by good console exclusives trying to outscore each other and games that were innovative but actually weren't well refined (I'm looking at you Assassin's Creed 1)

binderdundat
binderdundat

awesome game, awesome review. Could have gotten a bit better score but i can see some people hating a game like this.

SKaREO
SKaREO

Your score contradicts your review. This seems to be a common trend at GameSpot. It would help if you could break down how you distribute each point in your score. At the moment I'm left with all the questions. Does an average AI really deserve a 2 point loss? You didn't really mention anything that couldn't be improved with a bit of tweaks, but to give the game a permanent scar on their scorecard for these trivial quirks is not extremely well thought out.

Ailurusf
Ailurusf

Looks lovely. Indie games are definitely my favorites.

JustPlainLucas
JustPlainLucas

Ugh.. I hate it when games require a certain number of stars, medals, coins, etc., to  unlock.  And, haha! "I'm getting McShea'd!"

pal_080
pal_080

Love the artistic style of this game, definitely going to check it out.  Though I wish more friends had PC's  :(

sinofsinners
sinofsinners

Can we add like a "I agree that numbers do not really matter and the actual body of the review does" clause to the GameSpot terms and agreements?

BKO3000
BKO3000

GameSpot readers are the stupidest people in the galaxy. Every review's comments section is chock full of mouthbreathing goofs freaking out over a number that would mean so much less if they weren't too lazy to read the words above. Bravo, everybody. 

tim1935
tim1935

My nerd rage detector is going off the charts with these comments.

LpcWarrior
LpcWarrior

Bummer its xbla launch was delayed. Anyone know for how long?

k9bdog
k9bdog

Tommy boy, i don't think people are pissed on the low score as much as they are pissed at the fact that this very website accorded games like cod over 8.5 for being the same recycled game every year, while you rate an indie game which won the 2010 IGF award with 7.0 for not being sufficiently challenging as in guards AI while, in the same review you say the game is rewarding, unique and sneaking past guards is exhilarating and fun. I won't even touch the "you must grind in order to progress to later levels" which is not true. Do you even know the meaning of the word "grind". Collecting every piece of gold coin isn't grinding, collecting the same gold coins repeatedly is grinding. I get the fact that you came here and explained to people that "7 isn't a low score" and such but i doubt how many people will get that, nor how many people will understand the game is definitely worth getting judging by the fact that mediocre games got bigger scores than this. The thing i'm most sorry about is that a truly great developer might "lose" money he would otherwise earn for his hard and brilliant work due to the fact that people will interpret that 7 as a not so great game.

nickterry420
nickterry420

@punksterdaddy its there, it was free from the 1st to 16th of this month. free and i feel it wasn't worth it. thats sad.

peanut-butter
peanut-butter

@brok No. But there needs to be a middle ground so that they actually present a challenge. 

misterBullseye
misterBullseye

@SKaREO 7/10 is way above average. Even bordering on very good. I don't get what so hard to understand about this.

kagento
kagento

@k9bdog I'll just say that people who judge a 7 to be a low score would probably never have been interested in the game to begin with...

TomMcShea
TomMcShea

@k9bdog Why do people continually bring up Call of Duty in the comments of my reviews and editorials? I have nothing but bad things to say about that franchise. 

Also, unlocking later levels is a grind. In other words, tedious or boring.

k9bdog
k9bdog

ps, i'm not concerned about the money that the developer is making as i would have any personal gain, but because good money would translate in his confidence as a developer and in future great releases signed by this guy.

k9bdog
k9bdog

Not to mention that you didn't even touch the modding tools, which i am not sure now that they did or did not come with the game.

punksterdaddy
punksterdaddy

@nickterry420

Errm thanks... This message of mine is dated from 26th April 2013.

When it was launched on all systems on that date, for some reason it was delayed on Xbox Live, I can't remember why that was now, but that is the reason for my old comment.

brok
brok

@peanut-butter Oh absolutely- there has to be a reason to strive not to be seen in the first place, definitely.

Stillwind04
Stillwind04

@misterBullseye People keep saying that. And it's probably true for people like us. But for the average consumer, a 7/10 is a C grade game. And I don't know about you, but when I grew up a "C" meant "you better try harder". This game deserves more than a "C" in my opinion. And I feel indie games shouldn't be judged as harshly in the first place. They are the ones that push the artistic and design boundaries. They aren't hashed out every year or expect a high revenue..they are designed purely with love and absolute devotion to the media. That alone should warrant at least another point.

k9bdog
k9bdog

@TomMcShea   i feel like you completely missed my point. It doesn't matter what YOU have to say about the cod franchise, it's about what the common folk would expect from this website, which is some sort of consistency. I find it odd that the games in that franchise get such high scores while this one, doesn't, and i repeat, for incoherent reasons. If the AI is bad, as in the lack of challenge in getting passed them i don't think the game would be"rewarding, unique" and "sneaking past guards - would be - exhilarating and fun". This website is lacking consistency. One more example would be the case of Dark Souls' PC Review which was completely identical to the console one and completely oblivious of the port issues it had and in a later response Caroline said that those issues weren't a problem for her while dozens of people were complaining exactly about that. As for your response related to grinding i have this to say, grinding is a term which is used usually in mmo games to point at the tedious act of doing the exact same thing over and over again, and in my humble opinion this is not the case. Collecting all gold coins isn't "grinding".

t3hninj4
t3hninj4

@brok @peanut-butter @brok @peanut-butter The guards get way more dangerous later on in the game, when they start to use machine guns and shotguns that can kill you very quickly. But you can breeze through much of the first half of the game by just ignoring the slow-moving, unarmed guards. Run past the guards, grab the loot, and make a bee-line to the nearest airduct is a good strategy for the first part of the game. But trying to beat the later missions that way will get you destroyed.

Ledah
Ledah

@Stillwind04 Well they gave Surgeon Simulator 2013 an 8, and I don't think they aren't being judged harshly if anything some reviewers here like to hype them up and give them more praise than they deserve.

TomMcShea
TomMcShea

@k9bdog @TomMcShea I guess we disagree. I was regularly able to exploit the AI yet still found it fun to sneak around. I'm not sure how that isn't consistent. Games with problems can still be fun. Also, Caro (and all of us) only write about our experiences with a game. If Caro didn't have problems in Dark Souls, what do you want her to do?

Finally, saying something is a grind is different than saying it's grinding. Different meanings.

pal_080
pal_080

@k9bdog  Oh, sorry, I didn't realize your comments were absolutely constructive.  It wasn't a rant at all...

k9bdog
k9bdog

@pal_080 not once have i said that "i hate this site so much". I am engaged in what i'm hoping to be a constructive argument that would benefit Gamespot's readers, myself included. I do not know why you bother to reply in such a useless manner.

pal_080
pal_080

@k9bdog  uhhh... grow up and do your own writing?  For crying out loud, if you hate this site so much then don't bother visiting and commenting.  Of course there will be some "inconsistency" as you put it, when reviews are carried out by multiple staff members with differing tastes and values.  The body of the review usually explains things well enough for someone to get an idea of the game... that's all that needs to be done.

Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine More Info

  • First Released
    • Macintosh
    • PC
    • + 2 more
    • Unix/Linux
    • Xbox 360
    MONACO is a single player or co-op heist game, in which players assemble a crack team of thieves to infiltrate and loot the ridiculously wealthy denizens of Monaco.
    7.8
    Average User RatingOut of 58 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine
    Developed by:
    Pocketwatch Games
    Published by:
    Pocketwatch Games, Merge Games, Majesco Games
    Genres:
    Adventure
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    All Platforms
    Blood, Crude Humor, Mild Language, Suggestive Themes, Use of Tobacco, Violence