| The Good
Great style and design
Variety of gameplay
Quality music and voice acting
Next to no loading
| The Bad
Won't be much of challenge for most
The story opens in Paris, France, as master thief Sly Cooper
breaks into the police department to acquire a file that he
needs. With the information, he can track down the Fiendish
Five, who stole his family's Thievius Raccoonus, a
tome of thievery techniques that has been passed down through
the ages. With the aid of his friends, Murray and Bentley,
Sly travels to where each of the Fiendish Five have run off
to to recover their portion of his family's book. All along
the way, though, he's hounded by police officer Carmelita
Sly Cooper's gameplay is a platformer at heart, but
with the inclusion of a stealth aspect, the formula is mixed
up a little. Unlike past platformers, you're not fetching
everything under the sun. Outside of the keys at the end of
every level, you really don't need to collect much of anything.
The game is broken up into different locations, and is introduced
with a cartoon sequence explaining the history of the head
boss of the location. After the intro, you have to navigate
an entrance level to the main hub, where you'll have a handful
of locations to go to get keys. Once you get the first batch
of keys, you'll enter an interior hub where you'll have to
finish another handful of levels (for more keys) before the
final boss. Through each stage, you'll have to use Sly's stealth
techniques, including sneaking along walls, climbing along
poles and pipes and even jumping onto spires and small platforms,
all of which can be done with the press of the Circle button.
The further into the game you get, the more techniques you'll
need to use as the guards, searchlights and floor panels get
more challenging to get past. While you don't have
to collect anything, you will find yourself grabbing gold
coins to gain a protective horseshoe (good for one fatal hit
or fall) and bottles, which if you collect all of them in
a stage will give you a combination to unlock the safe and
gain a new special move. The special moves, which can be toggled
through the L2 and R2 buttons, can be activated through the
Triangle button and include a roll dodge, diving attack and
even a Max Payne Bullet Time move
(which is basically for show as you can't do much with it).
And to break up the platforming gameplay, from time to time
you'll get to do mini-game levels, including car racing, using
a hovercraft to light torches and using a cannon to shoot
thugs as Murray runs for a key.
One of the best aspects of the game is how newer levels utilize
moves that Sly has learned after defeating previous bosses.
And, there's a good bit of variety, so levels you come across
later in the game will be different than the ones at the beginning.
One of my favorites is Back Alley Heist, which is played
out like a 2D side-scroller, almost like an homage to the
2D platformers from which it's core "smash and jump"
gameplay has evolved.
Visually, the game is done with a fine cartoon-like flair.
Intro and ending sequences for each section are nicely animated
and the cel-shading of the characters and a lot of the environmental
elements are nicely done and work as a complete package. The
art direction and character design for Sly Cooper is
top notch. Not every aspect of the game is cel-shaded, but
Sucker Punch has managed to find a nice balance between the
two styles to make the game work visually. Levels are designed
well and look really good. As stealth and the darker settings
are essential to the story, lighting effects add a nice touch.
On the whole, the game has a great look and complete style
that works well.
Technically, though, Sly Cooper is hit and miss. Sucker
Punch has managed to minimize or even hide the loading in
the game behind the cutscenes. Transitions between the hub
and levels have a minimal pause of a second or two. On the
other hand, the game suffers noticeable slowdown, especially
when you hit certain items, which cough up coins when smashed.
For the most part, the game runs smoothly, but from time to
time, it'll slow down to a crawl for a few seconds, which
proves to be an annoyance. On top of that is a weird blurring
effect when you swing the camera around that may go hand in
hand with the slowdown issue.
Much like the graphics, the audio portion is nicely done.
The voices fit perfectly for the cartoony air of the game.
You won't hear any grim DeNiro-like performances, but for
Sly Cooper, the acting is just fine. An added touch
is the communication sequences between Sly and Bentley, which
are very much similar to Metal Gear Solid
2's codec sequences, except less wordy. Also, the music
has a nice variety and is very catchy. From time to time,
you might even catch yourself humming along with some of the
While Sly Cooper has a lot going for it, including
being just plain fun, it still has some issues which hold
it back. First and foremost, the game is easy. Really easy.
I would have a complaint with the fact that if your character
misses a fall or takes a single hit, he dies, but without
this gameplay choice, this game would be ridiculously easy.
And, the easiness of the game isn't helped by the extreme
forgiveness that hitting the Circle button to perform moves
allows you. Make a jump anywhere near a hook or rail and hitting
the Circle button will magically zoom Sly over to where he
needs to land. Unless you jump out in the wrong direction
all together or don't hit the button fast enough, you won't
miss. Couple this with the 8+ hour length of the game and
some gamers may feel their 50 bucks are well spent elsewhere.
Sly Cooper is such a fun character with enough charm
to win you over immediately that most gamers should at least
rent this game. It's fun and both looks and sounds good. If
it weren't for both the slowdown issue, some minor glitches
with the camera and the overall shortness and easiness of
the game, this would be a must buy for most platforming fans.
As it is, platforming veterans will blow through with ease,
even though they'll enjoy the presentation and gameplay.