Having been a big fan of platformers and the Sly Cooper series in general, I was a bit skeptical when I heard that the team that helped do the HD re-launch of the original series was making the next game instead of Sucker Punch developing the continuation of the series. All of my worries were put to rest when I loaded up the game and saw what the team at Sanzaru Games had put together. It was Sly in all his glory back in action with his best friends Bentley and Murray.
Playing as Sly is always the main attraction as his skills and tools allow for him to accomplish the most diverse and intricate tasks. This time around Sly will gain a new costume from each time period that he visits ranging from a jail-bird to a Robin Hood style archer. Each of these costumes will grant Sly yet another special ability or 2 while he is wearing them. These abilities are all utilized within their own levels but true completionists will find joy in the fact that these costumes will also grant them access to portions of levels that they previously could not reach. Mixing these skills with Sly’s natural abilities are the only way to make your way past some of the tougher portions in the late stages in the game, especially when one of them allows Sly to slow time.
Bentley is the brains of the squad and uses his incredible gadgets and intellect to sneak past guards, bomb his way past obstacles and has his own hacking mini-game that pops up throughout the game. The hacking mini games consists of 3 different arcade style challenges that serve to unlock certain doors or obtain important Intel on the job in question. Each of the 3 mini-games is unique. In one players will use the Six-Axis controller to guide a ball through a course filled with potholes and other dangers. Another is a shoot em up style game where Bentley obliterates everything in his path. The third is an arcade shooter featuring 3 different vehicles to help Bentley with the different tasks that arise throughout.
Murray is the brawn of the operation and uses his strength during the game bringing a brawler like element to this otherwise stealthy and calculated version of the series. Upgrading your character through the Theifnet systems using the coins and goods that you pickpocket from the guards are a huge factor in being able to get past the later platforming challenges that this title has to offer. Some of the upgrades like Sly’s parachute and the boosters for Bentley’s wheelchair are necessity while others are just a lot of fun to play with like the different damage types you can add to Bentley’s darts or Murray’s fists.
As if that wasn’t enough to keep fans satisfied, the team also allows players to play as 5 of Sly’s relatives from past eras as the team travels through time in an effort to chase down those who have chosen to help La Paradoux try to pull of his heinous scheme. Players will visit beautifully crafted versions of ancient Japan, the Wild West, the Ice Age, Medieval England and even ancient Arabia to find clues and recover the knowledge that is being erased from the Thievius Raccoonus as the past changes with the actions of La Paradoux.
Each of the Cooper relatives has their own unique skills that bring a fresh change to the gameplay and allows them to access areas of their own levels that would have been previously unreachable. These characters were all crafted in a way that will make Sly fans proud and allows them to feel like an integral part of the story rather than something that was just slapped together to help go along with the time travel concept.
This time fans will also get their chance to play as super sleuth and girlfriend of Sly, the beautiful Inspector Carmelita Fox. Carmelita brings a fast paced gun-fighting element to her missions as she uses her famed shock pistol to help take down the henchman that stand in the way of the success of the Cooper Gang.
As with all of the Sly titles, players will have the task of collecting bottles and cracking safes along with time sensitive pieces of treasure that have to be taken back to the gangs hideout before the clock expires. The team at Sanzaru games really took what the men and women at Sucker Punch created and brought it to entirely new level.
All of these elements along with the amazing gameplay that the series is known for makes this the best Sly game in the series yet. There is nothing within this game for someone to truly complain about. From the low price point of $49.99 (which gives you both the PS3 and Vita versions of the game) to the incredible gameplay this title has something to offer to everyone who loves the platforming genre. A must have for fans of the series and the genre alike.
Reviewed on the PS3