Some games just look better on paper than they end up in execution, and Monaco: What’s Mine is Yours is an excellent example. A top-down view heist simulator with an emphasis on stealth and use of individual characters’ different skills has all the makings of an instant classic, but when you’re also saddled with questionable enemy AI, unnecessarily vague mission objectives, and illogical level layouts you start digging deeper and deeper to find genuine enjoyment. Missions often devolve into mucking around until you find the specific path the game is railroading you into, a far cry from the organic exploration and manipulation of surroundings that could and should have risen from the formula. Monaco does manage to make good use of its minimalistic aesthetic, and while not terribly memorable the soundtrack makes a more successful effort to set the mood for a grand caper than many of the game’s other elements. It would be unfair and inaccurate to call Monaco outright bad; It’s much more just forgettable, positive and negative elements blending together into an inoffensive but not terribly desirable beige. It’s no doubt gathered its fans, but I am not one of them.
December 7, 2013