Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Sly Collection - It's A Steal

Due to school and a number of other factors, playing this collection for a review took longer than expected (and somewhat decreased my recent output). In any case, reviewing this collection means our build-up to Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time is drawing to a close (but it's not quite done yet). Released a couple years ago, The Sly Collection was developed by Sanzaru Games, due to Sucker Punch being busy with the Infamous series, after God of War Collection started and popularized HD remakes. Supposedly, the people at Sanzaru are big fans of Sly Cooper, so they were given the task of remastering the PS2 trilogy as a sort of test. Having recently finished another playthrough of these games, I would say they passed with flying colors.

While there isn't any change in the gameplay, there certainly is some in the graphics. The visuals of the games look more refined than their earlier counterparts and seem to run a little smoother at times. However, there is a minor difference I noticed while playing photograph missions, regarding the photos themselves. In the original PS2 versions of Sly 2 and 3, when a photo is taken, it stops to show what you took while zooming out a little and tilting slightly to the right; in their PS3 remasters, the photo just stays there without moving. To be fair, while it does sound silly that I'm going into such detail over a minor change, I found it fairly noticeable after playing the original games before playing the collection.

To increase the collection's replay value, Sanzaru has included a few special minigames, each utilizing the functionality of the PlayStation Move. These games primarily involve shooting/moving through targets, and the trophies associated with them aren't too difficult to get when playing solo. When played with another person however, these games actually become somewhat more competitive. The Move controls also work extremely well and move with 100% accuracy (whether the icon perfectly follows the glowing orb depends on your calibration) without any sort of lag. While it is possible to use a regular controller for these minigames, as well as being able to outdo a Move user half the time, I would recommend using the Move instead, if only due to increased accuracy and speed. (As a side note, these games are only local multiplayer, so fans expecting online play are out of luck.)

Despite these improvements however, I still ran into some technical difficulties. During my replay of Sly 2, I had a moment where, while playing as Bentley, I was literally knocked out of the game level while inside a deadly corridor, thus costing me the mission and forcing me to start over from scratch. I would also recommend not leaving your disk in the system for too long, since a couple times when I ended up doing that, I encountered some static from the audio that made affected cutscenes and subsequent gameplay harder to understand, requiring me to exit the game and start it back up again. I also had the sound drop out completely once during Sly 3, which again required a restart to get it going again. Aside from this and a single game freeze, there wasn't that much wrong with it technically speaking.

Before I end this review, I would also like to bring up a small comment on the 3D capability, but not concerning whether it works or not since I didn't use a 3D television. As I have said before, Sly 3 has an option where certain levels can be played in 3D via a pair of special glasses that can cause eye strain. In the HD remaster, these levels are presumably done by using the functionality of a 3D set. I'm assuming you only get the screen giving you the option when you're playing on one of these sets, because I did not see that screen at all while playing, so character dialogue referring to "optimizer goggles" otherwise seems to come out of nowhere.

The Sly Collection is a must-have for Sly Cooper fans who want to see their favorite characters again in glorious HD, technical issues aside. For those who don't have a PS2 but still want to experience the original Sly trilogy, this is a good way to do just that. Plus, combining the clue bottles from the first two games, the time trials from the first game, the multiplayer games and extra missions in the third game, and the minigames included with this collection, you get an incredible amount of replay value that offers more bang for your buck.

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