Why, hello, everyone. While I originally intended on writing about my thoughts halfway through my playthrough of Sly 3, this didn’t quite happen. I am about 48% through the game, but I have clearly made it much closer to the end than I realized when I ended up back on Kaine Island where the prologue took place. Hmm…something’s definitely off….
The reason for this comes from the fact that this game has Master Thief Challenges to complete in each chapter, so be sure to check these out. When wondering how on Earth I had reached the final level of the game at less than 50%, I found these challenges and realized they were the reason for the absurd discrepancy in percentages. I wish they had told me about these earlier. Well, I haven’t tried any yet, but they appear to be asking me to complete previous jobs with certain conditions. Don’t get hurt, do this in the time limit, and so on. It doesn’t sound too hard, but I’ll find out soon enough, now won’t I? After getting 100% in the previous games, though, it would be a real shame not to do the same now….
Even though this post is coming late, however, it’s probably for the best. Otherwise, I’m not sure I’d have much to say. Even now, I don’t have many new thoughts to offer that I didn’t already talk about. Sly 3 is very similar to Sly 2. It almost feels like the same game, but with new locations. The main distinguishing feature is the new playable characters, which will be the focus of this post.
As I mentioned previously, this game’s plot involves gathering a group of characters to aid the Cooper Gang in opening the vault on Kaine Island, which is guarded by the forces of Dr. M. More on him later. Kind of. While I prefer not to spoil things, for the sake of this post, I will need to reveal their identities, so please refrain from reading if you don’t want to know who they are yet.
Anyway, I want to start off by saying that my original thoughts on these characters was strangely reversed as I played through the game, for better and for worse. Initially, I didn’t like the idea of new characters. I had gotten used to the tightknit group of Sly, Bentley, and Murray. Plus, they are an amazing team, and I’d like to believe they can pull off any scheme by themselves, a belief contradicted by their need to gather new teammates. Plus, the game is named after Sly, so how is it going to feel like a Sly Cooper game if I’m playing as so many different characters?
That all changed as I progressed through the game, however, and I am surprised to say that the new characters actually feel underutilized. Seriously, I’m shocked to be saying this when I was originally against the inclusion of these characters, but let’s study this a bit and see if my feelings are founded, and I’m not just being crazy. Like usual. Ahem, the first new character is the Guru, a koala we meet in Australia. He speaks in gibberish the characters can understand, but us players cannot, with no written dialogue to tell us what he’s saying. Perhaps this is to maintain the sense of mystery surrounding him and his abilities, but it also makes it difficult to relate to him. Two more characters who join the team are the Panda King from the first game and Dimitri from the second. I’m rather indifferent to the first choice, as I never found the Panda King to be super interesting myself. Dimitri, on the other hand, amuses me quite a bit, so I’m more pleased with his inclusion. (He looks absolutely horrific in his diving gear, though. Not a pleasant sight at all.) My favorite character to join the team, though, is actually Penelope, a mouse with enough intelligence to rival even Bentley. (Plus, she’s adorable.)
While I was happy Dimitri got a role in this game, and I grew to really like Penelope, sometimes it felt kind of hard to get to know these new characters as much as I would have liked. You cannot select these characters like you can the main three, and they are only playable in a select few missions. Again, the Guru’s lack of recognizable speech makes him hard to care much about, even though he does get more jobs considering he’s the first of the new teammates. Penelope’s gameplay involves controlling her RC helicopter and RC car, but we never get to actually play as her (aside from one battle towards the end of the game, which was cool). And then, by the time the Panda King and Dimitri join the team, the game is nearly over. The former has gotten two jobs so far, if I recall correctly, and Dimitri has gotten one.
Now, I don’t mean to sound like a complainer. It’s a good game, and I can appreciate that they didn’t take the focus away from the main characters like I had originally worried they would. I just wonder, if you’re going to tell us that we’re getting new playable teammates, shouldn’t I get to use them more? Shouldn’t I get to select them at any time and play around with them just for the fun of it if I so choose? On the other hand, they did do a good job making each character very unique from the others, which was certainly nice. The Guru can jump on enemies’ backs and control them. Penelope, as I mentioned earlier, has RC vehicles. The Panda King can target multiple enemies at once with his fireworks. And Dimitri can swim underwater. I just wish I got to use these unique skills a bit more often, that’s all.
I’m also still a bit confused about Dr. M. I still don’t understand who he is or what he’s up to. I don’t see how he relates to the grand scheme of things yet. Yes, I understand he’s the reason the Cooper Family vault is so heavily guarded, but that still tells me nothing about the character himself. I assume he’s the main villain of this game, but I see no reason to see him as this great threat whose plans I want to thwart. I’m sure that will change soon, but we’ll just have to wait and see, won’t we?
And now for the game’s strengths. Once again, I think this series has a very strong sense of level design. After Venice, Italy, I went to explore the Australian wilderness as I helped the Guru rid the place of the miners destroying the land. This location was pretty cool, and I loved the feeling of isolation it gave me. It really felt like I was way out in the Australian Outback, and I thought fighting off kangaroos and dingoes to be rather fun as well. I also had to laugh when our heroes walked into the local bar and had to win a drinking contest. A lemonade drinking contest. After that came Holland, which was a rather interesting location where I had to beat the Black Baron in the flying competition. Next came China, a location previously visited in the first game, but this time, we had to team up with the Panda King to stop General Tsao, who planned to force the Panda King’s daughter to marry him. Lastly, one of my wishes for the series came true when I got a pirate-themed level. This one was particularly interesting, as you eventually get a pirate ship to sail around, which was quite different. Plus, you even get to engage in battles with other ships and sink them. This took some getting used to, but it’s pretty satisfying once you get good at it.
In addition to fun locations, this game also has an amusing sense of humor, and I enjoyed the new disguises Sly got to wear. (One exchange of dialogue that particularly stuck with me was in Italy, when Sly couldn’t stop thinking about food after a guard had told him that he wanted to be “buried in his mom’s pasta sauce”. I laughed out loud when he interrupted Bentley’s mission to ask him if he had ever eaten food that good and if they were missing out on something.) I still hate those combination locks, of which I had to open several more over the course of the game, but I got through it. All in all, the game’s been fun, despite my complaints. So far, I still think I like Sly 2 better, but we’ll just have to see how I feel once I complete this one. Will my opinion change? Only time will tell.
Honor Among Ducks