Release Date: November 9, 2010
The Sly Collection owes a lot to God of War. It’s not uncharacteristic for me to bring up God of War in a conversation but it is true here. The God of War Collection‘s success has jump started a good chunk of major franchises (Resident Evil 4, Prince of Persia, Splinter Cell, Tomb Raider, Team ICO, Beyond Good & Evil) to be remade in beautiful high definition, and with convenience of Blu Ray, it is all on the same disc. These also show how games were made in their respective times, which could risk showing dated game design. Sly Collection may be on both sides of the issue but retains the positive more often than not.
Sly Collection includes Sly 1, 2, 3, and a few PS3 specific mini-games. These mini-games are very lame but only good for a few easy trophies. All the games hold up, graphically, very well. I blame the cel shaded art style for it, as it retains its beauty. Good technical graphics may only stay flashy for a few years but a good art style can look good forever and that holds true here. Each game follows the adventures of Sly Cooper (the main, cunning raccoon), Bentley (the smart turtle), and Murray (the slightly stupid, but big hearted hippo). For each game, I’ll break down a mini review of each.
Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus began the trilogy and it is the most basic, which here, is refreshing. Even the plot is simple as you must take down the Fiendish Five to regain back your family’s prized book, The Thievius Raccoonus. I couldn’t help to feel a lot like the old Crash Bandicoot games because of the heavy platforming it has. Hell, it even has a lives system, something games haven’t done in a whole generation cycle. Crash‘s influence doesn’t stop there, as there is a hub world and when you finish collecting the keys (they might as well be crystals), you fight a boss with simple patterns and memorization. Only one hit will turn you into a dead Raccoon so you don’t have much room for error, and this is one aspect of old game design that I didn’t want to see repeated. Jumping through levels is fun and they have a stealthy tone to them as most enemies have flashlights you must avoid. When the game deviates from jumping and acrobatics is where problems arise. Some missions have your racing the team’s van (think the Mystery Machine but with a large raccoon face on the front) but the physics are so slippery, it can get frustrating to pull ahead. Another ugly mission type has you defending and escorting Murray through a death trap ridden path to a key. This is as bad as it sounds as it is an escort mission and a defense mission. Murray is stupid and can’t defend himself and makes these objectives a complete drag. Thankfully, they don’t pop up as often and are left in the shadows in favor of the simply fun platforming.
Sly 2: Band of Thieves is a dramatic departure from the original but also, by leaps and bounds, the best in the franchise. Doing away with the lives system and one hit kills, Sly 2 still holds up phenomenally well today. It also has more refinements and drastic changes than any other sequel out there. Having an open world is the biggest but other changes like the ability to buy moves and switch playable characters are also new. The premise sets you up to steal parts of an old robot bird before it can reassemble. Since the game has cranked up the stealth elements, each episode has you sneakily setting up heists for the robot’s parts. All of them are silly but these missions are the standouts of the game. Setting these grand heists is fun, but the payoff is walking away with metal in hand. The varied worlds keep it fresh and the villains are fun to steal from, be it pickpocket or prized loot. Sly 2 was a great game then and it has aged better than I’d hoped.
Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves was always my least favorite of the bunch and this is still true. In fact, I may think less of it now. Sly 3 takes Sly 2‘s structure but adds so many unfavorable play methods, it ends up feeling like a mess. Bentley and Murray had the worst missions in Sly 2 but were far enough between to hamper the game’s overall fun. I don’t know who thought it was a good idea but almost every mission is a mini-game or different character. Almost every mission, which isn’t an exaggeration, has some sort of lame vehicle sequence or boring character to play as and it ruins almost every aspect of gameplay. The story also has you recruiting people for your cause which only makes the game worse as you have more, crappy people to pick missions from. Pickpocketing as Sly is still fun, but you do it far less often and you end up forgetting why this series used to be fun. It feels like a mini-game collection which is a horrendous thing to be compared to.
Despite my beef with Sly 3, the other games in the series more than make up for it. Since it is so cheap and on one disc, there isn’t a reason to pass this by. Hell, it’d be worth the price of admission to play Sly 2 again.
+Sly 1 is still good
+Sly 2 is still amazing
+Graphics held up well
+$40 or less
+On one disc
–Sly 3 still sucks
–Sly 1 can feel too old at times
Final Score: 8.5/10