The Importance of Sly Cooper Thieves in Time

Posted: April 7, 2013 in Reviews
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Of the last generation, out of all the platformers on the main three consoles, the Sly Cooper trilogy was probably the least well known. You had your big dogs up front in all their glitz and glamour (Jak & Daxter, Ratchet & Clank, Mario) and then you had your underdogs. The games that were a bit rough around the edges, but gosh darn if they weren’t a ton of fun to play! Titles such as Maximo and Psychonauts spring to mind. Now it’s hard to decide which category the Sly Raccoon games fall in to. On the one hand they were gorgeous looking cell shaded platformers with a great cast and fantastic varied open world gameplay. And who knows, if we lived in a world in which J&D and R&C didn’t exist maybe they would have become timeless classics. However when stood next to the aforementioned games, it was difficult to see Sly through the shiny breath-taking environments of Ratchet or the gritty yet hilarious worlds of Jak. And even though the Sly games never sold gang busters, someone at Sony must have loved those titles enough to give Sanzaru Games the reigns of this terrific franchise.

sly1

Now those fine peeps at Sanzaru aren’t entirely new to the Sly family. They were the people in charge of porting the original three games to the PlayStation 3 in glorious HD. And in my opinion they are the three best games to see the light in HD. And yes I’m including God of War and the Ratchet and Clank games in that statement. Apart from having timeless and solid gameplay the main reason for this is this, cell shading. All the other HD collections and re-releases look like sharp last gen games. The PlayStation 2 Sly games look like a current gen titles. Purely because cell shaded graphics don’t age. And I’m pleased as punch to announce that nothing has changed for the fourth outing.

Hell if it aint broke don’t fix it! Seriously, usually a game would get criticised for pretty much no innovation from a previous title. But, like DQVIII, all that has come before has been so good why change it? The gameplay remains exactly the same as older iterations. I didn’t need to read any of the tutorials at the beginning of the game as it pretty much all came flooding back instantly. And the platforming, jumping and climbing is still as tight as ever.

sly2

The layout of each ‘world’ is still the same as what we have seen before in Sly 2 and 3. You have your open world map (Medieval England for instance) and you choose your character at the hideout to go around doing missions and picking up collectables. You then do the final boss of the area watch a cut scene and then move onto the next location. Even with all the power of the PS3 the maps remain pretty much the same size as in Sly 3 (albeit with a tad more detail) and this is all ok.

That’s not to say that this game isn’t ENTIRLEY without innovation. With the time travel story we get to play as lots of Sly’s ancestors and collect different costumes as Sly. Both of which add lots of new elements to the gameplay and make the backtracking more bearable. Also if you are the proud owner of a Vita you can use the Vita screen to locate collectables whilst you play on the PS3 version (a la WiiU). The game also comes with cross buy and cross save features. So if you buy it on either PS3 or Vita you get the other version for FREE! So this means you can transfer your save and play on the go. Finally, and of course most importantly, two full trophy lists! That means TWO PLATINUMS FOR THE PRICE OF ONE!!!

sly3

So why is this game so important? Well so far the sales of Sly TIT (lol) have sold pretty well. Again not ground-breaking numbers but it’s sold enough. So why has this tiny little platformer financially performed better for its developers than big AAA games like Tomb Raider and Dead Space 3? Because it was cheap to make. The developers changed nothing from previous games, so could work with a smaller team and put out a game that was £10 less than other retail games at launch (£15 less if you went the digital route), and because of this Sly didn’t need to sell bucket loads. And because of this it looks like we already have another sequel in the works. Although this has been slightly hidden in the news by reports of Tomb Raider only selling 3.5 million which isn’t enough and with the fate of Visceral Games hanging in the balance after Dead Space ‘flopped’. So proving that sometimes it pays to stay in the shadows and remain quiet, Sly skulks off into the ether once more. Until we see him again for Sly 5 that is!

Don’t ever change
Don’t ever change, I’d be sad
And I would cry if you leave me
Don’t ever leave me

Don’t ever change
Don’t ever change from the way that you are now
If you ever change
I would be sad ’cause I wanted you just as you are

The Kinks, Don’t Ever Change

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