Sly Trilogy


By: Conrad Reyners    On: PlayStation 3
Published: Tuesday 23 Nov 2010 8:00 AM
 
 
 
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“Things were better back in my day”. Regardless of how accurate that is, it’s an often-used phrase by gamers. But sometimes, just sometimes... it’s true.

There are certain titles or franchises that gamers still hold dear in their hearts. Titles like, Mario Bros., Monkey Island or Crash Bandicoot. These games have managed to sidestep the bargain bin and become embedded in our collective gaming consciousness.

But as well as these, there is also a collection of games that are not as well known, but that are equally as polished, well designed and engrossing - The Sly Trilogy.

To some gamers Sly Cooper and his thieving ways will be familiar territory. Sly, the ingenious invention of raccoon-loving developers Sucker Punch Studios, has been entertaining punters since 2002 when they first let him loose on the PlayStation 2.

But it would be a shame to see Sly (and his hilarious partners in crime Bentley and Murray) fade into obscurity just because the platform they played on was going out of techno-fashion. It’d be a damn shame and the Californian Sanzaru Games just wasn’t going to let it happen. They grabbed all three of the Sly Cooper titles – Sly Cooper and the Thievious Raccoonus, Sly 2: Band of Thieves and Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves – and put them through the remastering wringer; updating their audio, graphics, and coding for some good old times on the modern PlayStation 3.

And they’ve done a brilliant job. The Sly Trilogy is a fantastic title that expands the availability of a much loved and well received collection of games. One that is deserving of the freshly expanded audience it can now reach.

That might sound a little gushy, but the adulation for this title is genuine. It’s not all down to nostalgia from a simpler time, when games were, well, y’know games, and didn’t need Direct X 11 coding, psychodrama and photorealistic weapon effects. It’s because all of the Sly titles (admittedly to varying degrees) are excellent games. And with Sanzaru’s spit and polish they are now games that you no longer need to just wistfully remember.

Sly Cooper is a thief, and he’s a pretty good one. Spurning his more feline peers he has decided to follow in the footsteps of his Raccoon heritage and become a master pilferer. Accompanied by his clever pal Bentley the turtle and the slow but strong Murrary (an elephant), Sly embarks on a series of heists involving money, giant metal birds, rival gangs of vagabonds and his family history – enshrined in the Thievious Raccoonus.

It all sounds ridiculous (Thievious Raccoonus... I mean... what the hell?) but it also sounds deliciously silly. And fun. And comical. And brilliant! It’s hard to pull together all the various elements in a title to make it a fun experience. But, wrapped up in its quirky blanket of comical deviousness, the Sly Trilogy somehow manages it.

It could be due to Sanzaru Games’ graphical updates. They should be commended for the improvements they have made to Sly’s look and feel. The pastel-like cartoony imagery of the originals have been improved and updated. Swathes of colour give the title an intense comic book feel and the use of huge, animated onomatopoeia visually reinforces the titles cartoony vibe of hilarious childishness. And by neatly sidestepping the uncanny valley conundrum through placing Sly’s universe firmly in the land of the furry, Sucker Punch is able to create a level of graphical immersion that we wouldn’t normally accept in stealth-orientated platformers. Sanzaru has also propelled Sly into the modern world by kitting him out with PlayStation Move compatibility, which puts a new bent on an old experience.

Or perhaps it is down to Sucker Punch’s excellent original attention to scripting, voice acting and characterisation. Everyone loves a game where the developers have decided not to take themselves too seriously. More developers should try it – it creates a playful affinity between gamers and game-makers. Sucker Punch gets the balance mostly right. The scripted banter and characterisation between both Sly’s friends and his foes is clever without being pretentious and simplistic without being contrived.

And that characterisation is supplemented by voice acting that is gifted. In fact the audio is uniformly well done. Sometimes it even becomes a character in its own right. When encountering the lounge lizard art crook Dmitry in Sly 2: Band of Thieves you’ll see exactly what I mean. I was humming his theme tune for days afterwards.

Or maybe it could just be the core gameplay. There’s nothing particularly special about the Sly Trilogy’s mechanic. It’s in the same vein as its peers, Spyro, Croc, and even (to a lesser degree) Crash Bandicoot. But (aside from a few frustratingly difficult sections) it’s, again, uniformly good. There’s something to be said for compartmentalised sections and end level bosses. Sure, it’s old school - but it’s still fun. And those looking for increasing challenges won’t need to look that far. Sucker Punch didn’t rest on their laurels and each title in the trilogy does add some extra panache to the combat mechanic, updating it as they go. But the changes are not fundamental. And this is a good thing, because at its core, the stealth-action third person platform style gameplay works and it works well.

The Sly Trilogy is a welcome revisit to a much loved, but at times under-appreciated, gaming family. Sure, there are moments throughout the three games where the series does display a little bit of its age. But that’s to be expected from titles designed for an earlier platform and its technical limitations. On the whole these moments do not detract from the compendium of fun that brings together three excellent titles.

Sucker Punch’s Sly series is witty, irreverent, intelligent and polished. And Sanzaru’s elbow grease has let us roll up our sleeves, grab our controllers, and once again enjoy the thrill and hilarity of gaming done well. If you didn’t catch it the first time, maybe the Sly Trilogy might just be a package that steals your heart.


The Score

Sly Trilogy
"A polished reboot of a polished series"
8.8
Great
Rating: PG   Difficulty: Medium   Learning Curve: 15 Min

 

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Comments (12)

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ChatterboxZombie
On Tuesday 23 Nov 2010 8:36 AM Posted by ChatterboxZombie
I liked the sly raccoon games, they were a fun take on stealth platforming.
 
 
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KatalystaKaos NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Tuesday 23 Nov 2010 10:28 AM Posted by KatalystaKaos
It's funny that other than GT5, my most anticipated PS3's games are the up coming HD remake's of PS2 release's of this (which I completely over looked on the PS2) and the Team Ico classics !!
On the Move control, can the entire game me played with Move or are there just added mini games as I read in an earlier preview?

PS. Thanks for those Wikipedia links, makes for interesting reading !!
 
 
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Soyerz
On Tuesday 23 Nov 2010 10:58 AM Posted by Soyerz
23 November 2010, 10:28 AM Reply to KatalystaKaos
It's funny that other than GT5, my most anticipated PS3's games are the up coming HD remake's of PS2 release's of this (which I completely over looked on the PS2) and the Team Ico classics !!
On the Move control, can the entire game me played with Move or are there just added mini games as I read in an earlier preview?

PS. Thanks for those Wikipedia links, makes for interesting reading !!
The mini-games are seperate from the trilogy. They also include their own trophies.
 
 
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KatalystaKaos NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Tuesday 23 Nov 2010 11:03 AM Posted by KatalystaKaos
23 November 2010, 10:58 AM Reply to Soyerz
The mini-games are seperate from the trilogy. They also include their own trophies.
So can the entire game me played with Move?
 
 
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Soyerz
On Tuesday 23 Nov 2010 11:19 AM Posted by Soyerz
23 November 2010, 11:03 AM Reply to KatalystaKaos
So can the entire game me played with Move?
I'm pretty sure only the mini-games can be played with the Move. The trilogy games would most likely have to be played with a regular controller.
 
 
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Kegz NZGamer.com VIP VIP Gold
On Tuesday 23 Nov 2010 1:31 PM Posted by Kegz
I've got all three for my ps2 and I'm still considering getting this. Would of liked to have heard about the extra content they've put in, guess I'll have to wait.

P.S. I still hum Dmitry's tune.
 
 
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hot_shot_9
On Tuesday 23 Nov 2010 2:08 PM Posted by hot_shot_9
Im so gonna rent this out this holiday. Probably wont buy as, even though its one of my favourite franchises, i'd rather get something new to add to my very small game collection.
 
 
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The Host of Chaos NZGamer.com VIP VIP Gold
On Tuesday 23 Nov 2010 5:43 PM Posted by The Host of Chaos
23 November 2010, 01:31 PM Reply to Kegz
I've got all three for my ps2 and I'm still considering getting this. Would of liked to have heard about the extra content they've put in, guess I'll have to wait.

P.S. I still hum Dmitry's tune.
I used to own all 3 but I don't think I finished any of them. Thought I could sell the lot for a decent price on Trademe and I did. Would be quite keen to buy this.
 
 
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djkicks NZGamer.com VIP VIP Gold
On Wednesday 24 Nov 2010 10:57 AM Posted by djkicks
Out of all the PS3 exclusives this is the only one I wish was on 360. :-(
 
 
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missingalilbit
On Thursday 9 Dec 2010 2:53 PM Posted by missingalilbit
ive played all of these games im sooo looking forward to playing this one. they r soo additive ill end up spending the whole day playing it lol
 
 
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KapaiZombie
On Monday 13 Dec 2010 12:58 PM Posted by KapaiZombie
I hired this out for old times sake, and man I had to keep paying the late fees. I forgot how addictive this game is! Great value, great collection.
 
 
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handofthesly
On Saturday 16 Aug 2014 11:08 PM Posted by handofthesly
One of my fave game series. This PS3 HD remake was much needed as my original PS2 copies were getting old, worn and starting to freeze up. Greasy Sweet!
 
 
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