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Review: Sly Cooper Trilogy

Before Sucker Punch moved on to create one of the most electrifying protagonists of our generation the studio was well known for a cell-shaded raccoon thief for the PlayStation 2. Five years after the last game was released, Sly Cooper returns on the PlayStation 3 in high definition with Trophy and PlayStation Move support ( for specific mini-games only ). For those like myself who have never had the oppurtunity to play a Sly game during the PS2 era here’s an in depth review of each game that makes up the Sly Cooper Trilogy.

 [tab:Sly Raccoon]
From the title menu you have the option of selecting either Sly Raccoon, Sly 2: Band of Thieves or Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves at any time. The first game,Sly Raccoon, revolves around Sly Cooper and his best friends Bentley & Murray as they track down five bad guys, appropriately called the Fiendish Five, who each stole parts of the Cooper family’s secret treasure, the Thievius Raccoonus, on the night Sly Cooper was set to inherit it from his father. The Thievius Raccoonus is a book passed down through the generations that holds special techniques used by Sly’s ancestors.

Even though graphically updated the gameplay and controls in the Sly Cooper Trilogy remain the same; simple and responsive.

The square button is used for main attacks while the triangle button is there for special moves Sly learns throughout the game and the ‘x’ button is for jumping, tap ‘x’ twice for double jumps.

The circle button is there for stealth moves that can only be applied when you see a special lit path. There’s enough stealth mixed in with the basic platforming elements that would make Solid Snake proud in this game. The left analog stick is for controlling Sly; the right analog stick is used to control the camera. My only complaint with the controls is during certain vehicle mini games where you have to use the right analog stick to fire weapons. I’ve grown accustomed to using the shoulder buttons for such occasions.

Enemies can be dispatched easily by one swing of Sly’s trusty cane but on the flip side, so can Sly. If you don’t have a lucky horseshoe that renders Sly invincible one time only then patiently progressing through the game’s levels is recommended.

This also goes for the boss battles. They are simple fights that range from jumping at the right time to imputing the correct button sequances on your controller. Each boss fight is divided into several different stages. One mistake and you’ll have to start over again  from the very beginning of the fight.

I thought Sly Cooper and his friends were all voiced pretty well in Sly Raccoon but the voices of  just about everyone else in the game wasn’t very good. Despite a few flaws Sly Raccoon is still a solid plat-former eight years after it’s first release..

[tab: Sly 2: Band of Thieves]

In Sly Raccoon, Sly hopscotched to select cities around the world in a linear fashion. In Sly 2: Band of Thieves you’re introduced to a more open environment than it’s predecessor. Picking up two years after the first game, Sly 2: Band of Thieves begins with Sly and the gang in a museum in Cairo as they set out to steal the mechanical remains of the final boss of the previous game, only to soon discover that someone else has beaten them to it; the notorious Klaww Gang.

Unlike the first game Sly and company all have their own hit point gauge in Sly 2: Band of Thieves. Sly ( and his enemies ) can survive allot more hits this time around. His health bar can be replenished with health packs hidden throughout the game.

Sly’s stealth moves have improved as well. In Sly 2 you can sneak behind enemies and perform a special attack, you can also crawl under objects and/or cars to avoid detection and you can stay out of sight by prowling the roof tops. Running is also new in Sly 2. Should you choose not to fight your enemies hold down on the R1 button to make a quick escape.

The animation in Sly 2 has changed for the better. Sly now moves around in a more believable manor when he’s trying to remain unnoticed and when he’s spotted.

The coins you collect can now be used to purchase new abilities for Sly and his friends. If you’re short on coins Sly can pickpocket some from guards ( using the “O” button ) as long as he remains undetected while doing so.

You can even steal certain items scattered throughout the game and sell them on”ThiefNet” for extra cash. Overall Sly 2: Band of Thieves is a vast improvement over the first game. With a total of nine Episodes packed with numerous individual missions Sly 2 is twice as long as it’s predecessor and twice the fun.

[tab:Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves]

Sly 3 begins a year after the previous game and picks up with Sly in the middle of another big heist. This time Sly and Bentley are joined by numerous other thieves as the two attempt to open the “Cooper Vault” where all the wealth Sly’s family accumulated over the years is being stored.

All the gameplay aspects from the first two games are back in Sly 3 with a few new added features. During certain conversations in the game you’re given several different choices to respond with. There is no wrong answer but you won’t be able to progress further until you give the correct one. Like Sly, Bentley and Murray now have their own unique way to pickpocket enemies in Sly 3. 

Also Sly 3 is the only game in the trilogy that features 3D support as it did when it first released for the PS2. Offline multiplayer has been included in Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves. Four games “Cops and Robbers,” “Bi-Plane Duel,” “Hackathon,” and “Galleon Duel” can be played with several characters that have appeared throughout the series. It would have been a nice touch if you had the option to play the muliplayer games online in the Trilogy.

Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves spans six mission packed Episodes in which Sly & company set out to recruit new members to help pull off their biggest job ever, wrapping up the Sly Cooper Trilogy.

[tab:Sly Cooper Trilogy Review Score]

For the affordable price of $39.99, the Sly Cooper Trilogy offers more game for your buck than some of the titles that are currently on the market. 

The high definition makeover, trophy support, newly added PlayStation Move mini-games and 3D elements help bring this PS2 classic series up-to-date on the PS3. Also worth noting is the Sly 4 teaser trailer which only becomes viewable upon completing all three games.

Whether you’re a fan of the platform genre, a Sly Cooper aficionado or both, I highly recommend picking up The Sly Cooper Trilogy.

[review pros=”Colorful HD Graphics
Solid Gameplay
Simple Controls
Plenty of replay value” cons=”Awkward control scheme for firing weapons during some minigames
Some of the voice acting misses it’s mark in the first game” score=90]

A copy of The Sly Cooper Trilogy was supplied to by SCEE for reviewing purposes.