Sly 2: Band of Thieves Review

Developer: Sucker Punch Publisher: SCEA
Release Date: September 14, 2004 Also On: None

Few games have had much of an impact on the gaming industry. GoldenEye, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Madden (any year), Halo, Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, Ratchet and Clank (1 and 2) have all had a profound affect on the industry’s direction, or at the very least, the direction of their respective genre. Sly Cooper might not fall into this mega-category, but it has played its own role in this generational cycle.

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Sly Cooper 2 has no lack of style. Unlike many politicians though, Sly 2 also has substance. The cartoon/comic mischievous look is about as stylistic as you can get in a game. The tone of the game’s style is more apparent in this one than the last, with a darker style, and older look to all the main characters.

In Sly 2, you’ll play as Murray, an over-grown hippo who plays as the ‘brawn’ of the crew, Bentley, the demolition expert and ‘brains’ of the crew, and of course, there’s Sly Cooper, the agile, charismatic ring-leader. Unlike in the last game, where your partners played in nothing but mini-games that did nothing but play as a diversion, Bentley and Murray play a critical role in collecting all of the Clockwerk parts, that were stolen by the KLAWW Gang.

A departure from the original, not only can you play as Sly’s partners in meaningful roles, but they will actually have parts to each level, including even a boss fight. Sucker Punch did a marvelous job of creating the level designs in a way that fascinates, whether be it Paris, India, or the jungles where spices are made, the levels are unique, including guards, architectural style, etc.

You’ll also meet up, and run away from at the beginning of the game, Inspector Carmelita Fox. In fact, later in the game, you’ll be dancing with her, but only after putting your dance boots to use with Neyla. Also a cop, Neyla seems at first dedicated to helping Sly’s gang, putting them in a ‘lesser of two evils’ category, if you will, and allowing him and his gang to work collectively with her, while keeping a distance. Other than that though, I’m not saying much else, as I’m not going to spoil anything.

Now, the name of the game is silence and stealth. Sly, by all means, is the stealth character. He can climb polls, walk along ropes, etc. Also, unlike in the last game (if my memory serves me well), you can purchase new abilities for the characters. Unlike its predecessor, Sly 2 is more forgiven when it comes to damage, plus since the levels are extraordinarily large and wide-open, there’s nearly always more than one path to reach your destination.

Playing as the other two characters can be fun too. Murray is dressed in a ridiculous wrestler’s costume, and refers to himself as ‘The Murray’, as if he were a super-hero. Being the brawn, he’ll lift things, when required, sucker-punch (no pun intended) guards, and is capable of causing a slight tremor, which launches any nearby downed enemies into his hands, where he can then throw them.

Bentley is the in-house computer geek of the team. His smarts will come to use more so in the cut-scenes than the game itself. It’s suggested that you use his sleeping darts, and then once used, placing a bomb near a guard. As Bentley, you’ll demolish things, including a bridge, and will use things such as helicopters to defend your partners or to destroy an important target to the mission.

The game will place you in a given area for the single mission of collecting one Clockwerk part. Any missions within this are aimed at setting up for the ultimate mission in that level, which is the heist. The heist will usually have you play as one character or the other, oftentimes switching to perform a task that only one of them can do. An example of this is, in the first level, you’ll need to climb atop a building, waiting for one of the guys to shoot a hook at you, which will be used to bring the building’s sign down. Once Sly catches the hook, he’ll slide down the rope, and defend the truck from oncoming bad guys, that is attached to the rope, that will bring the sign down. Once down, you’ll use Sly to fight the boss and collect the Clockwerk piece.

Sucker Punch put more emphasis on storyline and teamwork in Sly 2. You will have to curtail bosses by finding their weakness (as in any platformer), keep a low-profile in the levels as warning the guards is always a negative, and then of course, mastering each characters’ strengths, and minimizing their weaknesses. Sucker Punch struck a chord with Sly 2, one that will go down as one of the best platform titles of 2004. Both style and substance prevailed at the end of the day.

Graphics: 9.5
Sound: 8.5
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 8
Replay Value/Game Length: 8
Final: 9
Written by Kyle Review Guide

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