Review: The Sly Trilogy

A chance to join Sly and his thieving friends for a big score

Format: PS3 Dev: Sucker Punch / Sanzaru Games Pub: Sony Out: 03/12/10 Players: 1-4

If you’re not first to market with a genre-pushing title, you rarely get another shot to win players’ hearts and minds. This is true of Sony’s platforming trio where, on PS2, Jak and Daxter and Ratchet & Clank out matched Sly Cooper. Contrary to his status as a third wheel, Sucker Punch realised a tight knit set of platforming mechanics with terrific characters and a running story that has the class and humour of a heist film. The Sly Trilogy is your opportunity to experience this story from the beginning, and I strongly recommend lovers of platformers and crime take it.

Still need convincing? Well, for starters, the core platform gameplay remains as fresh and unique as it ever was. There’s nothing more satisfying than picking a game up after five years, leaping from a rooftop with the light-footed lead and landing exactly where you intended. Anyone who’s played inFamous will recognise how the tactical control of that game evolved from Sly.

In all three titles, you play master thief Sly Cooper, who comes from a family of thieves. His parents were murdered by the Cooper family’s arch rival, Clockwerk, when he was still in short trousers. Years later, Sly vows to avenge his father – and make a few bucks along the way, aided by his loyal companions Bentley, brains of the operation, and Murray, the brawn.

In the first title you’re on a mission to avenge Sly’s father against Clockwerk and the other members of the Fiendish Five, plus collect the scattered pieces of the Thievius Raccoonus, a book recording the techniques and abilities of Sly’s thieving ancestors. Of the three titles, the original shows age because of its repetitive structure and dated lives system. A souped up Crash Bandicoot that explores only half its potential.

Sly 2 and Sly 3, on the other hand, are masterful examples of smart character development, story pacing and level design. You’ll be travelling to a host of real world locations, each filled with missions, collectables and roving sentries. Instead of being unconnected scavenger hunts, all of the missions are directly related to your immediate environment goal or the overall story. For example, you may be tasked with taking recon photos of characters you’ll meet later in the story or fight your way to a water valve in order to help fellow gang members gain entry.

These missions culminate in blowout Ocean’s Eleven-style heists that see you taking control of different gang members to complete complex jobs. Bentley and Murray are playable with their own set of moves in Sly 2, and in the third game you assemble a crack team of misfits to pull off the elaborate schemes. Whether he’s dancing the night away with the sassy, starry-eyed Carmelita Fox or pickpocketing burly henchman, Sly is one cool cat, er, raccoon.

Sony has seen fit to tack on a set of mini-games to this compilation pack, rail shooting gimmicks for Move. You’ll try these once then forget about them. The presence of all three games – Sly Raccoon, Sly 2: Band of Thieves and Sly 3: Honour Among Thieves – remastered for widescreen high definition is what counts. Visually, the difference is not that noticeable as the game’s cel-shaded art style coped well before the smoothing update. Sucker Punch’s skilful comic artists establish a bold look for the series throughout.

Honestly, I’m thrilled to see Sly getting a second chance to charm those that many have overlooked him back on PS2, because his capers are equally as fun and humorous as Jak and Ratchet’s. At under £30 for three lengthy adventures, plus Trophy support, Sly fans should pinch this right away. If you’ve yet to experience Sly Cooper, then there’s never been a better time to get in on the action.

Aaron Lee

Written By