The Sly Collection Review

Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus

There aren’t many reasons not to play The Sly Collection, barring a bitter hatred of all things platforming or a shelf full of Sly Cooper games that you’ve already played through countless times. Perhaps that sort of love for the series would be a perfect reason to pick up Sony’s latest compilation of PlayStation 2 games updated for the HD era, though, as all three entries have been given a fresh coat of paint and look great on the PS3 while retaining the superb gameplay mechanics they’ve featured since 2003. Less die-hard Sly veterans may find little motivation to play again, because besides a few uninspiring minigames designed for the PlayStation Move and 3D tv support, there isn’t much new content in what are essentially visually updated ports. New players, on the other hand, will find great fun and value in this dense, $40 package, and shouldn’t pass it up.

The Sly games, beginning with the traditional 3D platformer Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus, have always toed the line between accessibility and interactivity. Some might call them "easy" games, but this distinction is due to the fact that mechanically, everything just works. A simple control scheme requires that players simply tap the circle button any time Sly is to climb, crawl, shuffle, perch, tiptoe, etc. From there, the agile varmint will oblige to take care of the rest in what feels like a very magnetic interplay with his environment. The platforming isn’t nearly as involved as something like Assassin’s Creed, but it does seem to require more player participation than the recently released Enslaved. It’s a good balance that makes the game appealing to a wide range of gamers.

Sly 2: Band of Thieves

The first game is the most unlike the other two in its level design; it focuses, like many other early 3D-era platformers, on item collection as a means to progress forward. As Sly tracks the Fiendish Five to retrieve the five parts of his family’s treasured tome, the Thievius Raccoonus, he works through hub worlds that connect individual, linear, self-contained levels, each one housing its own collectibles and final prize. Play is highly stealth-based, and Sly can meet his doom as a result of just a single blow from his enemies. This blend of play characteristics differentiated Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus from its contemporaries and from its own sequels. It is short (perhaps to a fault), sweet, and in its day was a nearly perfect representative of the genre.

Sly 2: Band of Thieves expands Sly’s world into more cohesive locales, each of which is the setting for a sequence of minor objectives leading up to a final, well-orchestrated heist. Sly’s comrades Bently and Murray join in this time as playable characters, each with different abilities and play styles that serve the purposes of certain missions. The variety was a nice idea, but neither of the other two are as enjoyable to control as Sly himself. Additionally, running around the larger areas in between missions can get old after a while. Accessing new missions and venturing back to the local hideout to change characters both send players through the same streets and over the same rooftops often. It doesn’t help that updated camera controls and waypoint system also feel just a bit unwieldy when compared to the other two games.

Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves

Of the three games, Sly 2 seems to have the most notable flaws, mainly related to the ambitious game design elements not present in its predecessor and not yet as refined as in its sequel, Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves, which fixes the issues and offers the most gameplay variety in the series. Sly 3 also features the largest cast of playable characters, who must be recruited along the way to help Sly achieve the overarching goal of reclaiming his family’s vault from the primary antagonist, Dr. M.

For three excellent platformers, The Sly Collection is truly a great deal. While not perfect masterpieces, these games comprise a collective experience that gamers shouldn’t miss. Fans will love the updated visuals, which look crisp, colorful, and completely at home on the high-definition PS3, but they may not find much new content to enjoy. Players coming to the series for the first time can’t go wrong.

4 out of 5


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: Eddie Inzauto View all posts by
Eddie has been writing about games on the interwebz for over ten years. You can find him Editor-in-Chiefing around these parts, or talking nonsense on Twitter @eddieinzauto.

Leave A Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.