Friday, March 29, 2013

Though Dated, Sly Cooper is Still A Great Game

Quick Note: Though very linear and old school on level design and enemy AI, Sly Cooper is still a great game to play when you just want to play a game. For only $10 you can download a Playstation classic that will fill the gap between games and still enjoy a solid game.  

During my early PS2 days of gaming, I was kind of a snob. If it wasn't a JRPG or made by Square, I wouldn't have it. It took a couple of good friends and at least 2 hours of play before I even looked at my first action game (the original Devil May Cry). But by the end of my time with the console I had added great 3D Platformers like the Ratchet and Clank Trilogy and Jak and Daxter,  but Sly Cooper seemed to slip right through my fingers. After playing inFamous and inFamous 2, I decided to take a journey down memory lane and play some older Sucker Punch games, and though it is old school design, Sly Cooper and the Thievious Raccoonus is a fantastic game.

Time to Defy Gravity

The game throws you into the shoes of world renowned thief Sly Cooper as he tracks down the stolen pages of his family heirloom: the fabled Thievius Raccoonus, a book with all of the families secret techniques gathered since the dawn of time. The cartoony graphics and quick but elegant animation sequences make watching the story fairly enjoyable and funny.

The game takes place in multiple chapters, with Sly and his gang (Bentley, the turtle with brains, and Murray, the hippo with the muscle) sneaking into to various baddies fortresses to retrieve pieces of the fabled book and find out where the next pieces are. At the beginning of each fortress, Sly must sneak into the compound. Once inside, the compound acts as a hub world, allowing Sly to take on missions as he sees fit. Each missions warrents a key that will help progress to the second half of the compound. Rinse and repeat.

A majority of these missions are platforming/sneaking missions. Sly enters a level (typically pretty linear) and must get from start to finish. Sly can jump and attack with his cane, but his real strength is sticking to the shadows. By avoiding spot light, Sly can sneak around enemies without them even knowing. Sly also has secret techniques, but more on that in minute. Within each level are bottles with clues to the code to the safe, typically located at the end of the level. By collecting all of the bottles, Bentley can tell Sly exactly how to break in and collect the prize, which is normally a piece of the Thievius Raccoonus. With each new piece, Sly learns a secrete technique, which is assigned to the triangle button. These techniques are pretty interesting, but once you find one you like, you'll probably stick to it until the end of the game.

That's a lot of lasers to avoid
Though most missions are platforming/sneaking missions, the team at Sucker Punch throws in a few racing and gunning missions for variety, which are fun, but by far the weakest portions to the game. I spent way too much time on the racing portions simply because of the infuriating controls.

At the end of each hub world is a boss battle. Each battle is unique in terms of game play, and are surprisingly challenging and fun. Finding the weakness is always the first step, as each confrontation takes place in very different ways. I particularly loved the rhythm game style boss battle in the middle of the game, which was probably far more mind blowing in 2002 when the game originally came out and Real Time Events weren't such a common place in games. The final boss battle is probably the weakest boss battle, unfortunately, but it's not so terrible that it's not satisfying.  

The overall game isn't terribly long (I beat it in less than 10 hours), but it's great and easy fun. I love my hardcore, finger bleeding action games, but when I just want to play something, Sly Cooper was a saving grace. And for only $10 on the PS Store, it's hard to beat (plus the Platinum Trophy is amazingly easy for you trophy whores!). Over all I loved the game and can't wait to play some more Sly Cooper.

8.5 out of 10 

Here's Some Links:
The Game Wiki:
The IGN Review:
Metacritic Page:

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