The Sly Collection

Releasing classic PS2 games in glorious HDovision is currently very fashionable, with the God of War and Prince of Persia collections proving very popular, and the upcoming Ico/Shadow of the Colossus release already gathering huge interest. Though Sly Racoon might not be such a popular Playstation franchise, the thieving mischief, with is Robin Hood-style charm, was involved in some of the greatest PS2 platform adventures, overshadowed perhaps as a result of the incredible Jak and Daxter series from Naught Dog, and Insomniac's superb Ratchet and Clank games. Regardless of which series was best, the Sly games were excellent, and deserving of the HD treatment. The resulting package is excellent value, containing the three major PS2 releases, as well as an additional set of minigames with Playstation Move support, and each part of the collection shapes up well on PS3.

The Sly Collection

The basic premise of each of the main games is that Sly, accompanied by his gang of sometimes likeable (though often annoying) friends, is intent on thwarting evil by stealing each of their best toys. What results is a series of platform assaults, via carefully crafted levels, on each of the villains' hideouts. Along the way, each game features a selection of collectibles and power-ups to uncover, with new moves to learn like rolls, dives, time slowing and even an ability that stops you from falling needlessly from cliff edges. The following three paragraphs take a more detailed look at each of the main games, with some general comments afterwards.

Kicking off the collection is Sly 1, in The Thievius Racoonus, in which Sly attempts to retrieve the lost pages of the book written by his ancestors, containing all the special skills they once used to become master thiefs. With badstuff Clockwerk and a variety of other villains guarding the vaults that contain the lost pages, it's down to Sly, aided by his friends, to break in, grab the pages, takedown the evil enemies and avoid capture by the somewhat harsh hand of the law. Bouncing from platform to platform is superb, and the usual dose of collectibles and regular enemies keep standard gameplay interesting. It's not like a Ratchet game though, since a single hit could spell the end for Sly (though there are power-ups). On top of that, you return to checkpoints, as opposed to the nearest cliff, and even have limited lives! It's like an old-school game! That said, it's still not particularly difficult, and has no additional difficulty settings, so most gamers will happily skip through the majority of levels. Most importantly though, there's some real variety to help change the pace. With hover scooter-based shooting levels, races, and turret levels (maintaing cover for your friend's attempt on a treasure key), the game never gets old, making the game an ideal start to the collection.

The Sly Collection

By the time the gang reach Sly 2, they've become a well-oiled machine, with the ability to take on increasingly tricky heists, with more involvement from tech-savvy Bentley, and bash-happy Murray. The trio spend their time gatherig vital pieces of a former enemy, unaware of the banner over their heads pointing out that bringing all these pieces together so that they can jointly fall into the wrong hands is an inevitability and blatantly stupid idea. That aside, the game tanks along at a good pace, with a improved variety of levels, and a more integrated feel (individual missions take place over larger, sprawling levels, as opposed to the confined sections in the first game). It does start to drag just a little towards the latter stages of the game, when you might start to wonder why the plans are so elaborate and always require so many steps, when really you could just bounce in and try your luck in a fist (paw) fight. Still, the characters all put in a good show, and the villains are suitably entertaining. All in all, the game is a superb sequel and a nice inclusion in the collection.

Sly 3 somehow manages to make things even more colourful and vivid, with the game opening with a beautiful trophical island. Each subsequent location manages to improve on the offerings from previous games, showing that the developers had really invested some time in a visual upgrade for the third installment. Crucially, the developers saw fit to include the option to invert the Y axis control, a feature cruelly missed from the second game. The events at the end of Sly 2 have a lasting impact in the third game, and it's genuinely interesting to see the story unfold and to learn more about the characters. One oddity is the drastic change in voice acting for Carmelita Fox, the lady police inspector that has pursued, and worked with, Sly throughout the series. Despite the change, the story keeps things interesting, and the gameplay retains the mission structure from Sly 2, with a few extra mechanics added in. There's also a training room this time around, and challenges, where players can re-visit levels and, inexplicably, try to do them against a timer. It's a cheap way of extending lastability, and it'll certainly keep gamers busy.

The Sly Collection

The final addition to the collection is a series of minigames, with Move and multiplayer support. Truthfully, there's not enough there to get anywhere justifying a purchase just for this part of the collection, and most gamers will have experienced everything they want to within half an hour. However, the multiplayer aspect is very nice to have, and is certainly a big of fun to get out at parties, or occasions where you want to show off Move's capabilities (though there are better implementation examples than the Sly minigames). Purchasing the collection for the main three games though, the Move minis are certainly a happy little addition adding extra value to an already-worthwhile purchase. Nothing about it is groundbreaking, but for fans of the series, and fans of classic, solid platforming, the Sly Collection provides plenty of entertainment.

Game details

Game logo

Publisher:

Sony

Developer:

Sucker Punch

Players:

1-2

Online:

None

Release:

2010-11-09

Trophies:

116

Review summary

Gameplay:

Classic platforming with lots of variety

Graphics:

Unique levels, colourful visuals, HD but simple

Sound:

Slightly grating voicework, but nice effects

Lastability:

Three entire games and Move minigames too

8.0

Pulsar

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