Monaco 2 Preview – Sneaking In A New Dimension

The first Monaco released in 2013 at a point when Xbox Live Arcade had hit its stride, and there was a new appetite for the type of creative and unique game that existed below the huge budget triple-A, high-fidelity experience. Those kinds of games vastly outnumber the big-budget experiences we are familiar with today, but in 2013 we were discovering such experiences and marveling at their ingenuity. The competition is stiffer for Monaco 2 as it nears release, but creator Andy Schatz is clearly excited to revisit the criminal gameplay saying, “If Monaco 1 is about cat and mouse, Monaco 2 is about complexity and creativity.”

Like the original, Monaco 2 is a game about pulling off heists. You and a team with disparate abilities work together to enter a facility of some kind, get what you need without raising an alarm, and get it out. And if you do raise an alarm – which you will, Schatz assures – then you will still have a good time. Maybe even a better time.

The biggest surprise about Monaco 2 is immediately apparent the moment the game starts. The game is now a full 3D experience. The original game was effectively a 2D pixelated game with players controlling nondescript blocks from an overhead perspective. The game favored information over style and was difficult to read for many. Shifting to 3D leads to dozens of improvements. The different characters look very different from one another, and the sequel can now lean into an art style inspired by Saul Boss, an artist primarily known for his work on Alfred Hitchcock’s movie posters.

The switch to 3D overall improves readability for everything, and also opens up the game to more vertical options. Schatz cites big, memorable heist movies and sequences like the one from Mission: Impossible where Tom Cruise’s character hangs from the ceiling to steal data from a computer. While you may not be literally dangling from a vent and catching sweat as it rolls down your face in the game, the hope is that you will have the same fun and intense emotions.

Schatz showed off a single-player gameplay session (though not yet fully detailed, local splitscreen and online co-op will be available) where he studied the score beforehand by looking at a blueprint of the building he intended to invade. The job is to enter a guarded opera house to plant false rumors at a specific location and steal money while there.

Schatz kicks off the heist with Cosmo and Panzer, a woman in a pink dress and a cute little Pomeranian dog that she can use to distract guards. Once inside, however, he swaps to different characters to take advantage of their abilities by jumping into a house plant where, in theory, your team is hiding. It doesn’t really make sense, but that’s okay because Monaco 2 is all about using different abilities to complete different tasks.

Much of the gameplay from that point forward is about staying out of guard sight lines and tracking their movement, procuring on-site items to help you succeed, and completing objectives however possible. The level is dense and intentionally designed with a complicated layout and hidden secrets. The idea is the more you replay a level, the better you will know it, and the more prepared you will be when you return to pull another heist.

Monaco 2 does not yet have a solid release date, nor is developer Pocketwatch Games ready to share platform details beyond PC. We are overdue, however, for a good cooperative crime game that isn’t a shooter. Schatz’s presentation is promising a concentrated and deep take on the heist fantasy with Monaco’s overdue sequel.

By admin

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