I don’t claim to be a big Sly Cooper fan and in fact, this is the first Sly Cooper game I’ve ever touched. I had no idea what I was getting in to. “Am I going to be lost with the story since I’ve never played previous titles?”. Luckily the story gives a good amount of detail to introduce the characters without making you feel like you HAVE to play the previous games to get up to speed. Not that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to.
The story takes you to Paris where Sly and the gang discovers the pages from the Thievious Raccoonus, a book of secrets passed down through the Cooper family, are disappearing. Sly and the gang plan to leap back in time to return history to proper form. But what awaits them in each era and who or what is responsible for this strange event?
The story is very amusing: full of comic mischief and told through 2D and ingame cutscenes. The characters are a wild bunch. Sushi Chef/Ninja master, Knight/Thespian: Sly’s family tree is an interesting one. You get a real sense of where Sly gets his charm/disorders from. Cross dressing and belly dancing is just a small portion of what our heroes have to do to get to the bottom of this mess.
But disguises aren’t the only things they have to utilize.
The gameplay is quite varied. Recon, hacking, planting bugs, and tailing; this game keeps you on your toes in many aspects.
Platforming from roof to roof, or tree to tree feels very smooth. Attacking is quick and easy, and picking pockets is as fun as it is nerve racking. Stealth kills are satisfying, especially after successful pocket picking.
Each of your team has their own different abilities to help get through the game. Bently will hack into security, Sly will scope out some info, and Murray hurls objects to smash any hard to break security locks or mechanisms. Sly’s ancestors will join in on the fun with their own strengths. For Instance Sly’s Japanese ancestor, Rioichi, can leap from one point to another in quick succession. Kid Cooper, the old west gunslinger, can rapidly shoot multiple targets.
On the bottom right of the top screen you’ll see something that looks like brass knuckles. That’s what they are so use the touch screen to equip it and do some real damage. No, it’s just to switch costumes. The touch screen works well with quickly equipping and unequipping costumes and use of the binoculars on the left.
Motion control is used to some degree, like with the arrows (though you can use the analogue to control it, too). One of Bently’s hacking involves a ball needing to be tilted across a map. I’m not a big fan of motion control so I wasn’t too fond, but it does work perfectly for you who do like that sort of thing. Other personal issues is the double jump. It doesn’t act like a double jump it feels more like extra hang time since it doesn’t really send you that much higher. The camera, in some cases, can fight you. The right stick can change the camera but the automatic camera kicks in and messes the direction. I fell into trouble a few too many times because of it and was a bit annoying. But other than those little issues the game play was fun and always entertaining.
Boss battles can be tough and quirky. From chasing down a mad tiger while avoiding fire projectiles to out figure skating a grizzly bear then slapping him silly. Some of the tougher boss fights I’ve experienced in a while.
Graphically the game has its up and downs but overall pretty nice. The areas aren’t static, they’re active, big and colorful. In motion during gameplay it looks very good. Not so much though when you get up close. It looks a bit under detailed and kind of blocky. It’s noticeable but it’s only really bothersome if you’re looking for it.
The 2D cut scenes look nice and colorful but some sections look pixelated; mainly when there’s a lot of movement and when transitioning to another scene. Still I kind of wished all the cut scenes were in 2D. During game play I did experience bit of slow down when I reached a more scenic and active area, but it’s rare. The slow down, I mean. The menus are easy to read and laid out simple for easy navigation.
The sound quality doesn’t pack a lot of punch but for a handheld game of this scope, it’s pretty good, I think. Rustling leaves; squeaking mice; water running; enemies grunting and marching, the environments are lively. For the most part the voice acting is aces in here. The emotion the characters display, for the most part, feels believable.
In the end I give Sly for the Vita a 4/5. The game has stolen my heart and much of my time and, well, I didn’t quite mind. It’s got a humorous and well written story with a lot to do. You can replay jobs in the story or just go back to an area and find things you’ve missed. You can use different characters but you can only get to hard to reach area’s with a Cooper. Collecting treasures unlocks an arcade game in the hideout, collecting masks unlocks new costumes and equipment, and looking for each bottle littered around the map unlocks abilities. For all you obsessive gamers looking for a platinum in the game that should be a big plus. Now, I’m going to do a little time traveling of my own and play the previous games.