"The Jak and Daxter and Ratchet and Clank series come to mind when most gamers think of the best platformers over the last few years. Along the way, the Sly Cooper series somehow didnít get as much attention. The original Sly Cooper was a fun concept that was executed well, with a good story and some engaging characters. The sequel came along and added to the formula to make it much better. With the latest installment in the series, Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves, the developers at Sucker Punch have ..."
The Jak and Daxter and Ratchet and Clank series come to mind when most gamers think of the best platformers over the last few years. Along the way, the Sly Cooper series somehow didnít get as much attention. The original Sly Cooper was a fun concept that was executed well, with a good story and some engaging characters. The sequel came along and added to the formula to make it much better. With the latest installment in the series, Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves, the developers at Sucker Punch have outdone themselves again. Everything that people loved about the series is back, along with some new and original game modes, characters, and the addition of multiplayer. Put all of that together, and youíve got one of the most original and entertaining games on the PS2.
Sly 3 picks up where the previous game left off. The Cooper Gang consists of Sly, Bentley, and Murray, expert thieves who are highly skilled in pulling off some tricky heists. Bentley, a turtle who is the brains of the Cooper Gang trio, is in a wheelchair after a crippling accident. Sly and Bentleyís companion, Murray, a hippo with brute strength, has blamed himself for Bentleyís accident. For this, he has left the group for a more peaceful path in life. Then thereís the key man, actually the key raccoon, Sly Cooper. Sly is the head of the Cooper Gang, and has always been the one whoís forte is stealth and acrobatics. He comes from a long line of Coopers, and is trying to fulfill his legacy as one of the great thieves of the family. An evil man named Dr. M is trying to open the Cooper vault, which holds all of the treasures of the Cooper family. He has set up a fortress around the island which holds this vault, and has dedicated himself to opening it. Of course, the only person who can open it is Sly Cooper, who holds the key: his cane. Itís now up to Sly Cooper to open this vault, but it will not be easy. Sly and Bentley will need the aid of some fellow companions, including an old friend.
Sly 3 incorporates many characters into the story. The way these characters interact with each other is great in that you really get a feel for each of their relationships with one another, although the dialogue can drag on a little long at times. Sometimes Sly 3 takes up too much time establishing the story rather than just letting you play. But the different companions and enemies are so well developed through unique personalities and looks that this can be easily ignored.
The game is presented kind of like a comic book or movie. During the game, each level or sequence is presented like an episode starring the Cooper gang. Also, youíll witness slide-shows presented by Bentley that explain your objectives, which really makes you feel like youíre pulling some kind of famous heist. The presentation in the game is top notch, and sets itself apart from other games.
Sly 3 has to have some of the most varied gameplay that youíll ever see. You never really feel like youíre doing the same thing over and over again. Throughout the game there are various missions that you must complete with different characters. Each one of these characters have special abilities, which mixes things up. One moment you may be hacking through a computer with Bentley, and later youíll find yourself blowing things up with rockets with the Panda King. Best of all is that there are all kinds of mini-games spread throughout the game. All of them are fun and original. Many games are one dimensional, but Sly 3 always finds a way to add something new and fresh. Itís a nice change of pace from your average platformer.
Gold coins can be attained by crushing boxes and crates, pick-pocketing enemies, or just by beating up the bad guys, who range from bulky thugs with Italian accents to jumpy kangaroos ready to pounce on you. With these gold coins, you can purchase various upgrades via Thiefnet. Thiefnet is similar to a website which you can access in your safehouse. Here you can buy new gadgets and gizmos, some of which may be required for certain missions. You can get by without buying any of these upgrades, but itís a nice little feature.
The game is a bit on the easy side. Most experienced gamers will probably be able to breeze through the game. To some people there may be a few challenging missions, but for the most part you wonít have much trouble with the game. Some of this is due to the excellent controls. With so many different things to do in the game, thereís sure to be some problems with the controls, right? Wrong. Completing jumps or driving vehicles is very simple. All of the buttons on the PS2 controller are used, but itís not to the point where youíll become confused with all of the different actions. When a game is easier because of controls, you canít complain about that.
Included in the manual are 3-D glasses. During each level thereíll be a sequence where you can use these. The best part is that itís optional, because theyíre more of an annoyance than anything else. All it really does is make a few things pop out, which doesnít help the gameplay. And if youíre like me, 3-D glasses can give you a bit of a headache. The 3-D element could have been done without, but you can always choose whether you want to use them or not.
Just like the two previous games, the graphics in Sly 3 are cell-shaded, and just like before, it works perfectly with the game. The style and look of the game makes it seem like youíre playing in a comic book. You can clearly see the effort put into the character design. Every character looks very detailed right down to the facial expressions. Probably the best part about the graphics are the different levels. During the game youíll be traveling all around the globe, so youíre always going to find yourself with new scenery. At one point in the game youíll be roaming the streets of Venice, and then youíll find yourself flying the skies of Holland. The only problem is thereís a frame rate issue. At any given time the frame-rate may get a little choppy, especially during the in-game cut-scenes. It does hold the visuals back from being the best they can be, but itís not too big of a problem.
The game is also superb in the sound department. The voice-overs are some of the best youíll hear. Every character has their own style and way of acting, which is translated through the way each of them talk. You can even recognize how there are accents when traveling to certain places. Some of the voice-overs may seem a bit over the top, but thatís how the game is. The music is also very good. Itís kind of jazzy and soft, and fits in well with the stealth feel to the game.
The single-player is a good 12 hours, which is pretty good. Whatís new is the mulitplayer. Two players can go head to head in up to four mini-games drawn from the single player campaign. None of the mini-games really stand out, but itís a nice addition to the game, and some multiplayer is better than none. Also, you can go back and complete the Master Thief Challenges from each level. These are like tasks that are more difficult than the normal ones you completed in the game. And thereís always going to be some people out there who will want to play through the game a second time.
Sly 3 is one of the best platformers available, and is definitely the best in the series. It has a compelling storyline which is complimented by some great characters. The look and feel of the game is like no other, and the varied gameplay is what makes the game as good as it is. Add all of this together, and youíve got a formula for success. If you own a PS2, and are even slightly interested in platformers, you should definitely consider picking up Sly 3.
Community review by amlabella (February 07, 2006)
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