A year after the first HD collection released on the PS3, Sony has continued to bring back the PlayStation 2’s greatest games, this time with The Sly Collection. Consisting of the first three games in the series, as well as a mini-game collection, can The Sly Collection possibly live up to the standards The God of War Collection offered, or was this series better left in the past?
If you’ve never played any of the Sly games on the PS2, you join up with the Sly Cooper gang, a band of thieves that not only dabble in robbery, but also have a habit of taking out some truly evil villains. Throughout each game you’re also being tracked down by Carmelita Fox, a tough cop whose sole purpose is to bring down Sly and his gang.
The first game, Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus, sees the Sly Gang going after the missing pages of the Thievius Raccoonus, a book that’s been in Sly’s family for many generations. Each boss holds a piece of the Thievius Raccoonus, and you will need to defeat each one to get back your family’s history.
Each level is brilliantly depicted with a unique theme, from snow covered mountains to the barren deserts. At the beginning of each level you will start in a unique hub world, from there you will need to collect seven keys which are scattered through seven sub levels. Each level is unique and can vary from platforming levels, to races, to crazy mini-games.
There are also powerups you will unlock along the way, these can be found by collecting clue bottles scattered throughout each level. Once you collect all of the clues you will get a code that you can enter into a safe at the end of the level. These powerups do add some variety, but you can easily complete the game without them.
Compared to the rest of the games in the series, Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus is definitely the most frustrating of the three. More often than not you can only get hit one time before you die. You can pick up horseshoes to give you an extra hit, but usually there are none around. This really can make the game frustrating as the check points aren’t always that close.
Overall, Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus was a good start to the series, it has more issues than the following games, but it definitely laid a good foundation to work from.
The second game, Sly 2: Band of Thieves, takes place some time after the first. You are trying to steal the Clockwork parts from a museum, but find out that someone has beat you to the punch. Left with only a hint that the Claw gang is behind it, you must again take out a band of thieves in order to save the world.
Sly 2: Band of Thieves definitely ironed out some bugs over the original. The hub world is much larger, and you can move across rooftops taking out enemies as you please. The missions seem to make a lot more sense as you will have to take reconnaissance photos, steal keys, and take out satellites. You are also joined by your two pals, Murray the muscle, and Bentley the brains, this time they are not simply sitting back giving orders, but are out there in the field with you. You will be able to play as each character, and use their unique skills. Murry will be called in to lift heavy doors, or carry heavy objects, while Bentley will blow objects up, and pilot RC helicopters. Combine this with Sly’s climbing abilities and you’re set up for a great experience.
The clue bottles are brought back again, but this time they are only spread out over the hub world. You also will be able to purchase powerups through thiefnet, an online website where you can purchase powerups for all three characters. These powerups definitely help a lot more than in the original, and some will actually be required to complete certain tasks.
Sly 2: Band of Thieves overall is a far better experience than the original, you are given a health bar, so no more one hit kills. The game is easily twice as long, and the characters are a lot more enjoyable. Given the ability to play as the Murray and Bentley also add more depth over the original. If the gameplay doesn’t hold your interest the story will.
The third game, Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves, takes place a few years after the second. Sly discovers his family has a secret vault that his family has been storing all of their stolen goods. Unfortunately, an evil man, simply called Dr. M, has purchased the deed to the island, and has been trying to break into the vault for years. Before Sly can take on the madman, he must round up a group of thieves for help.
Taking major components from Sly 2: Band of Thieves, each hub world is much larger, but this time the plans are even more complex. There are quite a few missions where you will need to use multiple characters to accomplish a goal. You also will get even more characters to interact with, including even getting the chance to play as Carmelita Fox on a few.
There are no longer clue bottles this time around, and all powerups will be purchased through Thiefnet. Like the second game these powerups are very helpful, and some are required. They’ve also included a hazard room, which is basically a tutorial room, to help brush up on old skills. Finally, this time around, there are challenges added, these can be completed after you’ve finished the mission. Most of these will have you finishing a mission within a certain amount of time, but there are some other unique challenges.
Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves takes all of the issues from the previous two and really fixes them all. Adding even more characters, and unique challenges offer so much more variety. This is easily the best in the series, the game and story make for one great experience.
Finally, the last set of games is the Sly Minigames. This is a set of four minigames of which you will first have to unlock by playing the other three games. Once unlocked you can either use a DualShock 3 or a PlayStation Move controller. Each game will have a cursor on the screen that you can move around, you will be grabbing objects, shooting objects, and flying RC planes around. The games work decently with a DualShock 3, but compared to the Move controller it doesn’t have a chance. The Move controls are a lot more fluid and quicker, and overall make for a better experience. These minigames are pretty basic, but are nice way to try out the Move controls.
The graphics really are fantastic in HD. It really feels like this is what the original games should have always looked like. The voice acting is also excellently done, each character is unique and has their own charm. The only exception would have to be Carmelita Fox as her voice is different in each game. Other than this one exception, the rest of the cast is excellent.
The Sly Collection on a whole is a great value game, easily offering over 30 hours of gameplay, and some truly unique challenges. The stories in all three are excellent, and being remade in HD really makes them great to look at. The minigame collection is really only a diversion, but is a nice bonus for those that own a Move controller. If you’re a fan of platforming or stealth games, then you owe it to yourself to experience this gem from the PS2.
PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score
+ Well over 30 hours of gameplay
+ Some truly unique experience spread out over all three games
+ Graphics really look great in HD