Timing has never been Sly Cooper's best friend. From day one he's been overshadowed by Sony's other two 3D platformers - Ratchet & Clank and Jak & Daxter. Despite remaining in the shadows, Sly was able to sneak his way into three PlayStation 2 games. Still, even with all of the sequels, Sly never received the praise and attention he was due. But Sly Cooper's luck may be turning around. He's the star of his very own compilation disc that not only looks and plays great, but hits shelves at a time when there is absolutely no competition to speak of. Mr. Cooper, it's time to shine.
This is The Sly Collection, a $40 compilation of Sly Cooper's three PlayStation 2 outings. You get Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus, Sly 2: Band of Thieves and Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves. This collection spans 2002 to 2005 and marks the beginning and end of the Sly trilogy. Each game is remastered for high definition televisions and both Move and 3DTV support has been added for good measure. This is the most comprehensive Sly collection you could hope for and it delivers everything you would hope it would.
Although I certainly enjoy the comedy stylings of Jak & Daxter and will never say no to the action in Ratchet & Clank, I've always been drawn to the atmosphere in the Sly universe. The tone is decidedly darker, playing off of old foreign films about cat burglars, spies and anyone else sneaking around at night. It's the Metal Gear Solid of 3D platformers, and this weird fusion still feels fresh almost a decade later.
The first game takes us on an adventure to recover the torn up pieces of Sly's family book of secrets. This adventure helps set up the rich universe and cast of characters, all while offering some surprisingly deep backstory about this lineage of thieves. Even though it's a mostly linear experience, there are enough gripping moments in each level to keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.
Once you've wrapped up that story, it's time to move on to Band of Thieves. This 2004 sequel brings the gang back together to track down the Klaww Gang who are trying to reconstruct Clockwerk. Yes, I know none of this makes any sense. You should have listened to me when I suggested starting with the first game.
Outside of the story, players are now given the ability to play as Bentley the Turtle and Murray the Hippo. These characters add a new layer of variety, offering new weapons to use and abilities to master. Bentley, for instance, employs a dart gun, while is able to use his brute strength to get the job done. These three characters make Sly 2 one of the PlayStation 2's very best games, a real highlight for this series.
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