GWJ Plays Monaco

Join Cory Banks and Shawn Andrich as they try their level best to figure out (and enjoy) Monaco!

Comments

Cory and Shawn -- playing co-op top down games together since two-thousand-and-something ... so I don't have to.

Wow, that was negative. You criticize it for not making you be stealthy enough on the tutorial missions and then when the game punishes you for not being stealthy on the more challenging missions you blame the game for not being fun. Even though the game seems simplistic at first it does have a learning curve to get all the nuances of the stealth mechanics.

The game does allow you to play it fast and loose but in the later levels when the guards have even deadlier guns that will cost you, so you can't just time attack levels in a totally crazy way.

A pure stealth approach is possible but difficult, especially if you're trying to get all the coins and do it in single player. Although adding multiple players tends to make people play more loose, if everyone is being patient and utilizing their unique abilities then I feel that's where the game really shines. Once you learn how to reset the situation then the game is pretty forgiving of mistakes and you can continue your stealth run.

Here's some tips:
- Vents and staircases are always safe spots if you can get into them. Then you simply have to wait for the guards to lose interest and go away.
- Bushes are safe if alert guards don't see you go into them. So if you round a corner and jump into a bush then you're probably safe.
- When someone sees you a white question mark slowly fills up until they are alerted. It fills up faster the closer you are.
- An exclamation mark will be at the place someone last saw you or where a civilian who saw you is going to send a guard. You know you're getting away if the exclamation mark stops following you.
- The Lookout makes the positions of all enemies visible when sneaking, this makes stealth faster and easier when you're starting out.
- Don't always hold down the sneak button, it only helps if you're really close to something or you want to avoid bumping into something. Often you'll have to move fast to get through obstacles and out of sight.
- For sneaking around doors and corners you can "listen" for footsteps and see them on the map. If an enemy isn't close enough to make footsteps then you can probably take a quick peek without alerting anyone.
- Disguises wear off as people look at you. It's basically like having an extra buffer before the white question marks start filling up.
- While shameful for the stealth grognard, if all else fails then start using your items. You're a filthy criminal and filthy criminals don't get rich by being honorable. But you don't want to die guns blazing, so see the earlier tips about losing the heat.

You can totally play this as a stealth game, but it requires that you understand how stealth works. Monaco does not hold your hand when it comes to being sneaky.

There are a lot of subtle nuances in the game, and the game does a poor job of explaining them. Latrine's tips are helpful, and they'll help you understand the core game mechanics that make stealth work. For example, until you understand the question marks and exclamation points, you won't be able to evade detection properly. Note that the question marks appear more quickly if you're closer and when you're running. Disguises will also last a lot longer if you make an effort to blend in by walking instead of running, but of course, the tradeoff is that NPCs have longer to examine you.

The disguises are worth a special mention because it isn't obvious how they work; they start with 24 tick marks in a ring around your character. When you're visible, the ticks will turn white and slowly disappear. If you continue to play stealthily, the disguise will last a long time (possibly the entire mission).

As a general rule, unplanned alarms mean you are making errors. Lesser stealth games would simply cause you to instantly fail the mission. Monaco tries to let you recover, but you'll want to have an escape plan prepared in advance. Yes, the game can feel arcadey, and there are times when you'll abandon stealth to make a quick getaway. However, careful players are rewarded in a way that reckless player are not. If you want Monaco to be a stealth game, you'll have to work for it.

Excellent tips! I've discovered some of that since I put some time in the single player and can vouch for their effectiveness.

The thing about "putting in the work" for me is that I need to find the basic gameplay mechanics relatively fun before I'm willing to knuckle down. Demon's Souls is a good example of a game that's obtuse and difficult (I played the Korean version long before it got wide distribution) but the basic gameplay (exploration, combat) kept me engaged long enough to learn the rest.

I'm struggling with Monaco because I just don't find moving around that world to be super fun. So even if I learn every level and every game mechanic, it won't change the fact that you're limited by what you can actually do in each level. The stuff I've been doing just hasn't been incredibly rewarding so far.

I'm going to keep plugging away for a bit, though. Maybe we'll do another video when I'm further along.

Latrine wrote:

A pure stealth approach is possible but difficult, especially if you're trying to get all the coins and do it in single player. Although adding multiple players tends to make people play more loose, if everyone is being patient and utilizing their unique abilities then I feel that's where the game really shines. Once you learn how to reset the situation then the game is pretty forgiving of mistakes and you can continue your stealth run.

There's also no shame in having one person kite the guards while everyone else beats feet.

Agreed this game is really forgiving (at least early on, not sure about later) with the stealth. I'm terrible at stealth games/sections and I'm loving this game so far. At the core it's like a crazy multiplayer version of Pac-Man.

Let me blow your minds and get a lot of hate here:

Monaco is a better game than Bioshock Infinite.

If you find Monaco chaotic, that's GOOD, because it's a heist game. Have you ever watched a good heist movie? It's all ABOUT managing chaos.

Edit: The lookout's ability is that you can see where all the enemies are (with red icons indicating what they have for weapons even) as long as you are sneaking or not moving.

Valmorian wrote:

Monaco is a better game than Bioshock Infinite.

And chess pie is totally better than the 1972 Denver Bronco's starting center.

Mmmmmm chess pie.

trichy wrote:
Valmorian wrote:

Monaco is a better game than Bioshock Infinite.

And chess pie is totally better than the 1972 Denver Bronco's starting center.

Let me be more precise: The parts of Bioshock Infinite that are a "Game" aren't nearly as good as the parts of Monaco that are a "Game".

I loved Bioshock Infinite, but as a game, it can't hold a candle to what Monaco offers.

You know, I've toyed with using the GWJ front page to weigh in on the "what is a game" debate that was raging across Tweets and blogs last month. It'd be a pretty meta-level discussion, though.

wordsmythe wrote:

You know, I've toyed with using the GWJ front page to weigh in on the "what is a game" debate that was raging across Tweets and blogs last month. It'd be a pretty meta-level discussion, though.

I've always thought the debate about whether something is or isn't a game is misguided. Instead, I look at what I find enjoyable about everything that calls itself a game and use that to judge. I love everything from FPS games to Point and Click Adventures, but for me it usually comes down to one thing: "How many interesting decisions can I make, and do those decisions actually affect the systems in play?"

wordsmythe wrote:

You know, I've toyed with using the GWJ front page to weigh in on the "what is a game" debate that was raging across Tweets and blogs last month. It'd be a pretty meta-level discussion, though.

I don't want to derail the discussion too much, but I think we've already kind of gone off of the rails already. Comparing chess pie (mmm!) to the 1972 Denver Bronco's starting center (GOAL!!!) is not the same as comparing two narrative-driven videogames with stealth elements.

The "what is a game?" question is interesting, but I don't think anyone is claiming that the games mentioned here somehow don't qualify. Maybe a more relevant question is "can you really compare different games?" Old Man Murray tried this with their infamous "start-to-crate" judging system, which was completely ludicrous, but it raised the point that all games contain differences, so comparison required examining the similarities.

If your criteria include "game-affecting decisions per unit time" then that's valid. Alternatively, if they include "thematic engagement" and "usability of interface" then those are valid as well. Mostly though, I think it's important to be clear about those things up front, so that readers understand what "better" means when comparing two different game experiences.

Itsatrap wrote:

Maybe a more relevant question is "can you really compare different games?"

Why not? I can't stand chess but I love bridge.

DanB wrote:
Itsatrap wrote:

Maybe a more relevant question is "can you really compare different games?"

Why not? I can't stand chess but I love bridge.

I'm neither for nor against comparing games, but I do think it's important to state your criteria clearly. If you're comparing games based on "satisfaction from reaching the stated win condition" that's one thing. If it's "enjoyment gained from the first 3 hours of play" that's another thing.

Itsatrap wrote:

Comparing chess pie (mmm!) to the 1972 Denver Bronco's starting center (GOAL!!!) is not the same as comparing two narrative-driven videogames with stealth elements.

Monaco is driven by a narrative? Bioshock Infinite has stealth?

Does not compute.

MeatMan wrote:
Itsatrap wrote:

Comparing chess pie (mmm!) to the 1972 Denver Bronco's starting center (GOAL!!!) is not the same as comparing two narrative-driven videogames with stealth elements.

Monaco is driven by a narrative? Bioshock Infinite has stealth?

Does not compute.

Monaco's narrative is part of what gives it the appeal of a classic heist movie. You can skip it, but part of the fun is watching the narrative shift around as the merry band of would-be criminals engage in misdirection and outright betrayal.

BioShock Infinite has crappy stealth and suffers for it, but certain stealth elements are still present. In the end, the game ends up being good despite the stealth elements and not because of them.

Itsatrap wrote:

BioShock Infinite has crappy stealth and suffers for it, but certain stealth elements are still present. In the end, the game ends up being good despite the stealth elements and not because of them.

And the only part that requires stealth is actually fairly short.

I Like all the GWJ Plays hope u post some new GWJ Plays videos when u have time