I have to admit that I do have a soft spot for platform games, and if you had to make me choose between a platformer and an FPS, I wouldn’t even think twice to grab the platformer and start the adventure of a lifetime. That being said I grew curious of the recent HD re-mastering of an old PS2 platformer series which quite frankly I never heard about. But why was this Raccoon hiding, why was he overshadowed by Jak and Daxter and Ratchet and Clank, but more importantly why did it get re-mastered, so I put on my geek gear and picked up the controller, and boy was I in for an awesome ride.
Plot: The game combines all the three titles of the Sly Cooper Collection in one, The first one being Sly Raccoon revolves around Sly Cooper and his two companions, Murray and Bentley, trying to steal back the Theivius Raccoonus, a book containing all the Cooper family secrets and tricks from the infamous Fiendish Five. The second installment in the series is Sly 2: The Band of Thieves, were Sly and the crew are back together try to bring down the Klaww Gang and in the process steal the powerful shattered parts which used to make up the previously defeated Clockwerk, whilst trying to evade capture by Carmelita. The third and most recent installment in the series is called Sly 3: Honor among thieves, This time the crew is after the Cooper Vault, which contains all the stolen artifacts by the Cooper family, the only problem is that it's found on Doctor M’s island, who will not go down without a fight. Sly decides to recruit new members in the gang who take on Doctor M and try to take back what’s rightfully theirs.
Gameplay: Let me put it this way, this is the best platformer I ever played in terms of gameplay and mechanics. There is no other title that handles quite as good as this one and you can definitely see were infamous gets its roots from. The first game was quite linear and you only get to play with Sly. Every boss you bring down you learn a new skill, and every time you collect enough clues you unlock new skills. The installments following Sly Raccoon were more based on a open ended world where you can look for side missions, collect clues, and progress in the story line missions, and this time you can vary between the characters. All titles have a large variety of mini games, including rhythm, racing, space, and 2D shooting amongst others. The only wrong aspect in the first title was that you had no health bar which meant you had no space for mistake, but this was fixed in the second installment. The boss battles are amazing and really challenging, and this is not the kind of kiddy platform game that you can play in relaxation mode, it is a no mercy game which will be really challenging, and will punish you for your slightest mistake.
Audio & Video Quality: These games were intended for the PS2, so I didn’t expect much, but due to being rendered in cel-shaded animation, the visuals are fantastic. The re-mastering in HD continued to add to the already amazing visual characteristics, and I can’t say that I wasn’t impressed. The game also gave out a hint of neo-noir emvironments which I think bolds well to the characteristics of Sly, and every chapter you unlock you start the storyline with a clever title screen resembling 80s and 90s cartoon title screens which I think is a nice touch. The sound is re-mastered well too, and the only time they are not up to HD standard is during cut scenes, which is practically inevitable.
Personal Impact: What can I say, this game is from top to bottom an epic achievement in the platform genre, and I know that some people are graphics whores and don’t believe in re-mastering, but believe you me, this title has epic visuals and has such good gameplay mechanics that you’ll be hooked for ages. This game really beats all the major titles in the platform genre of this era, and I can’t wait for the next installment to be available. Sly Cooper managed to steal my heart.
Overall Rating: 9.5/10
Written By Matthew C