At long last, I have done it. After getting 100% in the entire Sly Collection, including the mini games (they are not worth your time; I only played them to get my last few trophies), I can safely say I am the Sly series’ newest fan. Before I get into my thoughts on the series as a whole, I still have a few finishing words about Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves.
Well, you may remember my complaints about several aspects of the game, namely the plot and the extra characters, and I can’t really say that has changed all that much. Yes, I have finally learned Dr. M’s relation to the Cooper family, which was interesting, but I still didn’t find this game’s plot to be as compelling as that of the second game. I mean, if Dr. M had succeeded in opening the vault, what would have happened? Um, he would have ended up with a lot of money? Sure, he was clearly an evil dude, but if he had any plans for world domination or something equally as dastardly, I recall no mention of it. In addition, by the game’s conclusion, I still found myself unable to form much of a bond with the extra characters. Again, I wish they had gotten more missions, or at least the ability to be selected from the hideout so I could run around with them for the pure amusement of it. Even that would have been something.
I also found out how truly aggravating the Master Thief Challenges could be. A lot of them weren’t too bad, but some were pretty darn tough and tested my skills to their limits. Of course, I don’t consider this a flaw like the issues mentioned above. It was very satisfying to complete these extra challenges. That didn’t stop me from yelling at my TV on occasion, however.
In the end, as contradicting as it may sound after my previous whining, Sly 3 was an awesome game. Complaints aside, any praise I had for Sly 2 applies here, as well. I didn’t find it to be as strong as Sly 2, but it was pretty darn close. The original Sly Cooper trilogy proved to be a great trio of games, and I enjoyed the whole, darn thing, from its simpler roots in the very first game to the far more polished Sly 2 and 3. There are three main platformers the PlayStation 2 years were known for, and that was Sly Cooper, Ratchet and Clank, and Jak and Daxter. I count myself a fan of all three, but I have to say that Sly is the most unique. Ridiculous weaponry and magical Eco powers are all well and good, but the stealth gameplay found in the Sly series is just so different from anything I’ve ever played before.
While the first game gave you a more limited skillset and provided little consequence to being caught, it was the improvements found in Sly 2 and 3 that really provided us gamers with a truly unique experience. How thrilling it felt to roam about on the rooftops and paraglide from great heights. And what other series lets you pickpocket from pirates? Going out of my way to avoid enemies rather than confront them was particularly satisfying once I got good at it, partly because it was the complete opposite of how I would typically approach enemies. Most games don’t really make you plan your movements out so carefully. Most of the time, I simply destroy anything in my path and keep on going. Now I understand the merits of stealth, and while it can sometimes be a slower way of getting around, I think I like it better. It takes more skill. It forces me to really learn my environment. Mistakes matter more in a game like this. This series was a really fresh experience and probably one of the best $10 I’ve ever spent.
Sly Cooper is different, from its gameplay to its wit to its amazing level design. It took me a decade to finally give this series a try, but it probably took me less than a day to become a fan.