841st played so far

Genre: Action/Platform
Platform: Playstation 2
Year of Release: 2004
Developer: Sucker Punch Productions
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

The Sly series is another one where we have a big gap between the two games of the series. We played Sly Cooper about nine years ago, as part of a collection of games we borrowed. We enjoyed it, but the whole thing was also part of a push to get a mascot for the Playstation systems – something we don’t have as much of a need for anymore, but at the time Sony seemed to have been trying.

The game got a sequel, which we’re playing today. I remember enough of the first game that I’m curious to see what else the burglar will do.

Our Thoughts

About a year ago, there were a number of complaints about a large chunk of a Game of Thrones episode being too dark to see what was going on. The response of the cinematographer was that you had to change the settings on your TV – watch it in a dark room on a TV that’s specifically tuned, almost sounding like you have to readjust your set for each show you watch. Playing through this game reminded me of that, as it was quite dark (as you’d expect from a thieving stealth game), but without any sort of brightness or gamma slider to adjust the game’s visuals to your environment. For that reason, I was squinting a lot, as there were sections where I felt I was basically traveling blind – apparently this is not a game to be played on a Sunday afternoon, even if that’s when we would have had time.

The game itself worked as other action platformers, with several hub worlds in which parts of the story levels take place, which then lead to smaller individual levels (that might be revisitable, but I did not have a reason to do so while I played). The levels, rather than centering around jumping and action section, it becomes a stealth game. During the hub levels, guards keep moving around and you need to avoid them while you go about. This is mostly using roofs and the like to get around. The levels are more set up for it – smaller areas, but with places to crawl and hide. It’s quite well done and keeps the game tense, which really suits the thieving mood.

The story draws on this as well, with some quite cool cutscenes and a Batman-like way of telling the stories – in parts, you have some quite Arkham Asylum-feeling bits, though obviously more cartoony and humorous rather than grim dark. It’s done quite well and there is more of a world here that’s interesting enough.

Final Thoughts

At first, the fact that we have a semi-mascot platformer here would draw comparisons to the like of Super Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie, but clearly the ideas have moved on. Sly 2 gives us a fun stealth game, using the action platformer formula, but focusing on that one element and making it the best version of it.