Review

The Sly Trilogy

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The PS Vita version of The Sly Trilogy features the same three games as the PlayStation 3 edition: Sly Raccoon, Sly 2: Band of Thieves and Sly 3: Honour Among Thieves. These titles were developed by inFamous studio Sucker Punch Productions and originally appeared on the PlayStation 2 between 2003 and 2005.

What You Need to Know

The Sly Trilogy revolves around a raccoon called Sly Cooper who comes from a long line of master thieves. Sly was sent to an orphanage when he was still a young boy after his parents were killed by a criminal organisation known as the Fiendish Five. It was here that he befriended two fellow orphans Bentley and Murray who helped him form a gang designed to take back the Thievius Raccoonus - a book passed down from generation to generation holding the secrets to the Cooper clan’s thieving techniques.

The games in The Sly Trilogy are essentially third-person stealth platformers, with plenty of variety added to the mix via a multitude of mini-games, boss battles and playable characters.

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What’s New?

The games in The Sly Trilogy were fairly unique for their time due to their combination of globe-trotting stealth platforming action and cel-shaded presentation that make you feel like you’re playing through a series of cartoon episodes. Even by today’s standards, each game’s well constructed storyline and carefully developed characters (both friends and foes) stands out as a rare quality worthy of admiration.

The stealth aspect of these games also sets it apart from other popular PS2 platformers such as Jak and Daxter and Ratchet & Clank. From sneaking along rooftops to stay out of enemies’ sight to hiding in a barrel to avoid getting shot by automated sentry turrets – there are plenty of unique ways to avoid detection in The Sly Trilogy that you probably won’t have seen in other games.

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What’s the Same?

The Sly Trilogy feels like an amalgam of many different genres and popular videogame franchises rather than a blend of elements from specifically the platformer genre. For example, the exotic locations you travel to during your adventure such as Italy, Holland and Australia appear to be inspired by games like Tomb Raider and Broken Sword, whereas many of The Sly Trilogy’s stealth elements such as timing runs past searchlights and avoiding patrolling guards by hiding under tables seem to pay homage to the Metal Gear Solid series.

Furthermore, if you’ve played any of the inFamous titles then you’ll find that Sucker Punch Productions’ DNA runs deep in The Sly Trilogy. A perfect example of this is how each game’s villains are given a detailed backstory via wonderfully illustrated cut-scenes – the recently released inFamous: Second Son gave that title’s central cast a similar treatment.

You’ll Enjoy The Sly Trilogy If You Liked…

… Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time. If you enjoyed the handheld version of this game then you’ll have a good idea of what to expect from The Sly Trilogy on PS Vita in terms of visuals, frame rate, narrative structure and gameplay.

… The Jak and Daxter series. The Sly Trilogy has a similar art style to Jak and Daxter in that the environment is drawn in a slightly skew manner. Other similarities between the series include their penchant for mini-games, and overall humorous tone.

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What I Liked

5.) I enjoyed the heist style missions in Sly 2: Band of Thieves that are broken into multiple gameplay sections such as reconnaissance, infiltration and boss battle.

4.) Each game in the trilogy has fully voiced dialogue that helps to give each character a very distinct personality. A personal favourite is the French marine iguana Dimitri whose conversations with Sly are often highly amusing.

3.) I appreciate the way that Sucker Punch Productions wasn’t afraid to throw a ton of new ideas into each game without worrying too much which would stick and which wouldn’t. There are so many crazy mini-games spread out across all three games that you’re bound to find at least a handful that you enjoy.

2.) As previously mentioned, one of the remarkable elements of this trilogy is how much care has been taken to develop each game’s story and cast. I really enjoyed learning about each character’s backstory and it made battling the villains that much more rewarding since they were properly developed characters in their own right.

1.) The style of humour in The Sly Trilogy is something that can be enjoyed by both children and adults. Just like a good animated movie, there are some jokes that will resonate more with kids whereas others can only be fully appreciated by older players.

Favourite Moment

The first boss battle in Sly Raccoon made me look forward to every other major enemy encounter in the trilogy thanks to its multi-stage nature and emphasis on pattern recognition and timing. I’ve always been a sucker for boss battles and this early glimpse at what The Sly Trilogy had to offer certainly exceeded my expectations.

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What I Didn’t Like

- 3.) If you’re a deaf gamer then I’m sorry to say that every title in the trilogy has many unsubtitled sections that aren’t essential to understanding the story or reaching your next objective but nevertheless help to set the scene.

- 2.) Sly Raccoon’s one-hit kills can get very annoying and are thankfully not a feature of the next two games in the trilogy.

- 1.) The framerate across all three titles is a tad sluggish and you’re bound to notice the difference if you’ve played any of the four Sly Cooper games currently available on the PlayStation 3.

Least Favourite Moment

I became very frustrated during one gameplay sequence where I had to hide under a desk and wait until a guard’s torch was shining in the opposite direction to where I needed to go. I failed this section so many times because the window of opportunity where you can safely crawl out from under the desk towards your next objective is tormentingly minuscule.


The Sly Trilogy Review – Launch Trailer


What’s Extra?

The first two games in The Sly Trilogy allow you to collect clue bottles scattered throughout each level. Once you’ve acquired all the bottles in a stage you can then open up a safe that unlocks a special move for Sly to add to his arsenal.

In Sly 2: Band of Thieves you can use collected coins to purchase new power-ups and moves for Sly, Bentley and Murray – many of which can be assigned to a button on the controller once unlocked. Valuable items such as vases and portraits can also be stolen from certain locations in the game and sold for a large amount of money to help fund your quest for new abilities.

The Bottom Line

The PS Vita version of The Sly Trilogy doesn’t look as crisp as it does on PS3 nor does it run as smoothly. That said, if you can’t play these memorable stealth platformers on Sony’s home console then this handheld port is your next best option, and being able to enjoy Sly’s globe-trotting adventures on the move certainly carries its own charm.


The Sly Trilogy Review was conducted on PS Vita.


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