Title: The Sly Collection
Developer: Sanzaru Games
Game Type: PlayStation Vita
Download: 6.1 GB (2 downloads)
NA Availability: Digital Download | Retail
EU Availability: Digital Download | Retail
PSTV Support: No
The popularity of HD Collections and HD Remasters of PS2 games has given a new generation of gamers the ability to have easy access to some of the old, classic games from a couple generations back. With the PS Vita, gamers have been able to discover classic RPGs like Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2. It has also allowed them to discover action games and platformers like God of War and the Ratchet and Clank series.
As I dive further into my backlog of reviews, you may remember that earlier this month I did a review on Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time. After playing that, I decided I wanted to also do coverage for the other Sly Cooper games this month. So, as I dive further into the backlog and more into HD Collections, here is my official review of The Sly Collection!
This collection spans three games and therefore, has three storylines to it. Included are Sly Cooper and the Thievus Racoonus, Sly 2: Band of Thieves, and Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves. The games center around three childhood friends. Sly Cooper, a raccoon that comes from a long family line of master thieves. Bentley, Sly’s turtle techno-wizard. And Murray, a Hippo known for his strength and driving skills.
The adventures of the three games ranges from searching for Sly’s stolen family book of thievery, hunting down the aftermath of the first game in Sly 2, and a new adventure with a much larger Cooper Gang in Sly 3. With three full PS2 games in tow, there’s quite a bit of story to be had, all filled with quite a bit of comedy.
If you’ve played through Thieves in Time, you have an idea of what to expect from the trilogy. Basically, the first three games eventually led up to the gameplay system that was in Sly 4. As with all games of the series, The Sly Trilogy is comprised of platforming gameplay with combat elements as well as a host of mini-games that spam many different gaming genres. No matter which game of the trilogy you’re playing, you’ll be playing a platformer with combat and stealth elements thrown into the mix.
The gameplay is mostly similar between the games, but there are a few differences you’ll notice. First of all, only Sly is playable in the first game, while Bentley and Murray are also playable in 2 and 3. Second of all, there is a large HP bar in 2 and 3 (much like the one seen in Sly 4), whereas in Sly 1, it has a charm system where it takes much less damage to knock you out, raising the difficulty over its sequels.
The bulk of the games are similar, though. You’re going to have a base of operations and then hub worlds you go to and explore to complete missions. Once you’re in a Hub World, the story will begin to play out, where you’ll need to infiltrate a facility. To do so, you’ll have to collect key items around each hub world to unlock the way towards the boss you’re after. Acquiring these key items has you either platforming through an area to find a key or performing a mini-game to earn one.
The Mini-Games are a big thing to note. Especially in Sly 1, some of the mini-games can be very tough. Playing through the Bulldog Race in Sly 1 will make you appreciate how user-friendly Sly 4 was. It’s not an unwarranted amount of difficulty, but Sly 4 players won’t see it coming. These mini-games also dive into a multitude of gaming genres, from third person shooting to racing to puzzle-solving. Even the boss fights feel like puzzles more than straight up fighting against a powerful opponent.
Overall, the games aren’t that difficult. It takes some time to get all of the unlockable mechanics in Sly 1, but once you start concentrating when doing the mini-games, it gets quite a bit easier to manage. The combat and climbing mechanics are almost identical to that of Thieves in Time, so return players will already be very familiar with the playstyle of the games.
Despite all being platforming games, this collection will take up a lot of your time. Across all three games, you should expect to be spending at least 20-30 hours to complete the main stories. As with many collections, this makes one purchase worth a lot of platforming.
Controlling the game isn’t very tough. However, it is worth noting that there are some touch controls to be used as you play through the game. The Rear Touch Pad is used for a few small features, which is likely the reason this collection is not compatible with the PlayStation TV outside of streaming the PS3 version from the PlayStation Now service.
The rest of the controls should be quite familiar to fans of the franchise. You can use the Left Analog Stick to move and the Right Analog Stick to move the camera. X is used for jumping and Circle is used to attack yourself to objects you can move and climb on. Triangle is used for strong attacks and Square is used for normal attacks. Finally, the L and R triggers can be used for other abilities, such as dashing as you move.
When each of these mechanics is introduced, the game does a nice job of explaining how to do it. Instead of just button prompts, Bentley talks to you about it through the radio, making sure you know what to do.
The presentation looks good, overall. The visuals of these games aren’t absolutely perfect, but it’s pretty identical to how the games looked on the PS2. You can see little jagged edges here and there on the cell-shaded renders, but the presentation does look nice on the Vita’s screen.
The only problem with the presentation is the frame-rate. Every so often, you will find a situation where the frames will jump for a moment. I didn’t have these happen very often as I played, but it is definitely there and is noticeable when it happens. The rest of the presentation is fine. Load times aren’t very long and the voice-work comes through smoothly.
The Sly Collection is the PS Vita owners way to discover (or re-discover) the origins of the Sly Cooper franchise. On the downside, there are some minor frame-rate issues that pop up throughout the game. Outside of this is a nicely-optimized HD Collection that will keep the platforming fan busy for quite some time.