Now that I’ve completed the very first Sly Cooper game, I can safely say the series is starting to grow on me, and it was with much excitement that I began the second game in the original trilogy, Sly 2: Band of Thieves. I am currently an hour into the game, and though that may not seem like much time to form any real opinion of it, I already have some initial thoughts to share with you guys so far.
I noticed first off that the graphics have improved, and though the controls seem to be largely the same, you can no longer look around using one of the left trigger buttons. While it is possible this has been moved to the R3 button, clicking an analog stick like a button has never felt like a natural thing to do, so I have yet not tried to confirm this. I do it when I’m forced, but that’s it. I was pleasantly surprised to see Sly’s pals also playing a more active role in the game so far, as in the first game, you only received advice from Bentley from afar from time to time, and Murray sometimes appeared in minigames. I was also very surprised at how Murray’s personality seems very…different from what it used to be. There will probably be more thoughts on that later. Carmelita’s voice acting also seems to have more feeling than it used to, as well.
The biggest changes I am most happy about are the health and the less linear feel of the game so far. In the first game, Sly could take a maximum of three hits before dying, and that was only if he had a gold lucky charm. No lucky charm, and he’d die immediately upon taking any damage. While I usually didn’t have much of a problem with this, it did become rather frustrating in more difficult challenges later on. Now Sly has an entire health bar and can take a lot more hits, which is great. On the other hand, enemies can also take more hits and seem a lot more vicious, so the need to hide from guards is even more vital. I became aware of this fact quite quickly in the second location in the game, when I dropped from the rooftops and was, shortly after, charged by several enemies bent on my destruction. I immediately got off the streets and practiced a lot more caution thereafter. At least if I do make a mistake, I have a lot of leeway before my health is depleted. And since coins no longer earn you lucky charms and extra lives, they can now be used for currency to buy things like smoke bombs, which makes a lot more logical sense.
The second big change was the level layout. The first stage was rather linear, but once I reached Paris, I was surprised at how big and open it was. There were still clue bottles to find like in the first game, but now you really needed to hunt for them, which was a lot of fun. These bottles now make an audible clinking noise when you get near them, so I was able to find all of them with a bit of hunting. I still don’t know where the first safe is, though. Either way, it was really cool exploring this larger space, and my need to stay on the rooftops and remain hidden made me feel a lot more like a stealthy thief.
I’ve now located all three of those satellites on the rooftops and plan to continue more tomorrow. So far, I’m really happy with the changes made to the game, and I look forward to what I’ll discover next. See you guys next time at 50%! Or earlier, depending on how things go.
Band of Ducks