Criminally Overshadowed by Jak & Ratchet
The story begins in a way that will spark memories in fans of the original, yet is completely easy for a newcomer to jump into. Clockwerk is an evil being that had replaced his own body piece by piece with mechanical parts so he could live forever. In the last game, Sly successfully defeated him by breaking him into pieces. In Sly 2, Sly and the gang try to steal the parts in order to personally make sure that they are kept out of criminal hands. As the gang arrives, Inspector Carmelita Fox and her new friend, Constable Neyla, catch Sly red-handed. The only problem is that the parts have already been stolen. Carmelita accuses Sly of returning to the scene of the crime. Sly fails to convince her otherwise and makes a run for it. Sly, Bentley, and Murray embark on a mission to retrieve all the Clockwerk parts and prove their innocence.
This game screams style. First of all, it's cel-shaded. This gives the game the Saturday-morning cartoon feel that Sucker Punch has obviously spent so much time perfecting via presentation. Everything moves fluidly in the game and the presentation is phenomenal. Each mission is presented to you via a slideshow from Bentley, giving you a preview of the hotspots in each mission spy-style. Mini-cutscenes occur at various junctures but do not take away from the experience at all. As you play through from mission to mission it truly feels like your playing through the starring role of an animated feature film.
The best way I can describe Sly 2 is stealth-action simplified. Basically take Splinter Cell or Metal Gear and make it so anyone can enjoy it and then throw in few extra gallons of comedic fun for good measure. For some the gameplay may be too simple, but the great presentation and non-stop action should keep even those people interested. Almost everything in the world is destructable, and you're encourage to break it in order to get more coin. This is a little repetitive but isn't the most prominent part of the game thankfully. Most of your time as Sly will be spent hopping from rooftop to rooftop and searching for stealthy routes to your next waypoint. Sly has the ability to tight-rope walk with easy, slide along walls and awnings, climb poles, and pretty much anything you would expect a ringtailed thief to do. Sneaking up behind enemies and pickpocketing them is not only fun but is quite rewarding when you find rare items in the pockets of a random thug. While many platformers have you collecting random shit for the sake of collecting, Sly 2 successfully conveys the feeling of importance with almost every single task in the game.
The sound in Sly 2 continues to convey the sense of style that this game exudes. The voice overs are incredibly good to the point where not only are you interested in seeing where the story goes but you want to know what happens to each character specifically. You begin to care about the characters early on in the game and that's in thanks to the great voice over work that gives you a window into each character's personality. To go along with the great voice work, Sly 2 features background music that can best be described as cool. The music fades in and out as the on-screen action dictates and the sound effects further solidify the game as an interactive cartoon show. You have to love those piccolo strings as you sneak up behind a guard or tip-toe past someone undetected. The production value here is incredible.
Well, this may be the game's only downfall. Sly 2 just doesn't offer much once the game is completed. You could go through it again and surely enjoy it, but with so many other great games coming out, who has the time? Enjoy Sly 2 for the great game it is, which should take you about 20 hours, and be happy with the memorable experiences the game gives you.
As someone who chooses the rogue class in almost any gaming situation, Sly Cooper is a treat. If you aren't a fan of the difficulty and precision that games like Splinter Cell offer, and you want some light hearted fun while still having a dose of stealthy action, then Sly 2 is the perfect game for you. If you ARE a fan of games like Splinter Cell, check out Sly 2 to get a fresh experience from a different point of view on the stealth-action genre. Sly 2 is a prime example of what action-platformers should be and solidifies Sly Cooper in the elite group of Sony's stars including Jak and Ratchet.
*** This review was written for Flamevault.com shortly after the game's release. ***