The fun cartoon platform adventure game returns with the added bonus that you can take control of the whole gang of specialist animal thieves. Sly Cooper takes the lead role but you'll also get to handle Bentley (A turtle in a super powered wheelchair), Murray (a spiritual hippo hard-nut) and a host of other crazy characters.
The basic gist of the story is that Sly has to travel the world building up a team of master thieves, all with their own specific skill, to break into his family vault on a secret island which is being infiltrated by a crazy baboon. All of Sly's ancestors have stored their ill-gotten gains in the vault so he's not going to just let some eccentric primate easily claim the treasure. Think of it as a cartoon Ocean's 11 and you're not far off.
The controls have been developed to make the gameplay as simple as possible, which keeps things flowing at a steady rate. Thanks to the on-screen advice and very clear training levels you'll have no problem mastering each character's tools of the trade. Simple controls doesn't mean a lack of variety as there are plenty of different styles of missions so the game rarely feels repetitive. One minute you'll be using Sly to prowl rooftops to take photos of a Soprano (not James Gandolfini) up to no good and the next you're using Bentley to steer and shoot in a high-speed gondola chase through the clustered canals of Venice. But all the early levels fade in comparison to the fun to be had in the later levels. The uncomplicated controls do make it very easy to zoom through the missions and at times it can feel like there's no great challenge but the structure and style will keep you hooked. It makes a refreshing change not having to slog your way through a level banging your head on walls looking for a hidden key. Everything is openly presented on a plate so the gameplay satisfaction comes through regular progression along an interesting and comical storyline. Plus there's a fair amount to get through in the game so you need to keep moving as there's also much to explore
Graphically the presentation is ideal for a cartoon platform game. The 3D free-roaming levels are brilliantly detailed with numerous things to interact with and climb on. The game even comes with some 3D glasses to use during a few points which is a nice touch but nothing mind-blowing. The characters have well constructed personalities that come from a combination of the way they've been designed and their humorous voices. There's something about this game that has a universal appeal. First impressions suggest that this is just a well developed bit of fun for the younger gamer but as things evolve you realise that there is enough depth to keep an older audience entertained. Once the game has been clocked there's not a lot to make you continue playing as the story mode totally dominates. There is a 2 player game to be unlocked but regardless of this there's enough action to get your monies worth and more than just a flash in the pan experience.
The cut scenes clearly set out mission requirements and although they sometimes go to great length to make sure you fully understand the plot, they are well presented so it doesn't become too irritating. If you don't want a little break to watch the cartoon then you can ignore what is said and still discover what needs to be done by clicking the L3 button when the game re-starts.
The cheerful graphics are well accompanied by an array of Sound FX that gives the whole game a fresh and lively atmosphere. Sucker Punch have done very well to create such a well rounded package that can provide fun for all the family…. but it's purely a 1 player game. This is probably the only downside because the lack of a multiplayer facility will put some folk off. It is easy to see the focus has been purely on developing an exciting story mode and if the game receives the reception it deserves then I can see scope for spin-offs in the future. Similar to how Super Mario Bros. evolved into Super Mario Kart in the Nintendo world.
As you may have guessed I'm a big fan of this game, which is surprising because I wasn't expecting to be. Especially as the games predecessors didn't make much of an impact. Admittedly it's probably not politically correct to release a game that encourages pick-pocketing, breaking & entering and prowling around but it all done as comical mischief.
It may be perceived as a little too simple and easy to some gamers, not quite as grown up as something like Jak, but it definitely has a charm to it and should be checked out by all fans of platform games
8.5 out of 10