Developer(s) – Sucker Punch Productions
Publisher(s) – Sony Computer Entertainment
Taking place some time after the events of Sly 2: Band of Thieves, the third Sly game kept to the core mechanics of the previous instalment, but also presented a few changes to it as well. In my opinion, those changes were made for the worse, since it took away much of what made the second game as exceptional as it was, and I was left pretty disappointed by it.
Graphics – 8.5/10
The one thing the developers didn’t take away at least was the exceptionally great cel-shaded style of the visuals, and outlandish conceptual take on the modern world filled with plenty of anthropomorphic animals. The settings are also as wonderfully diverse as they were in the previous game, taking place in various different parts of the world ranging from Venice to Yuendumu to Kinderdijk. It also features an interesting blend of old and new supporting characters from both the first and the second game at add more to the story element.
Gameplay – 4/10
As I mentioned, Sly 3 sticks to the same core concept as Sly 2; the player must travel from city to city advancing the plot and using stealth mechanics and a range of different abilities to overcome a multitude of different perilous situations the characters find themselves in everywhere they go; with the added feature of some new characters to control. The problem being is that many of the side quests that made the second game as immersing as it was were substituted for side quests, which have the player redoing certain challenges found throughout the story, but having to fulfil additional criteria, such as doing them in a certain amount of time etc. To me, whilst many there consider it to be better than the second game, it was a massive step down in my opinion. It demonstrated a lack of imagination on the developer’s part; especially when I think of all the imagination that went into Sly 2, and how much it was a genuine improvement on the first game.
Controls – 10/10
Since the game runs on the same core principles as both the first and the second, the control scheme hasn’t changed, and thus the developers didn’t took it upon themselves to try and fix something that wasn’t broken. The controls are as wonderfully fluent as many of the greatest 3D platformers to have ever been developed over the years, and regardless of what instalment may be coming under review, the stealth mechanics make them stand out greatly.
Lifespan – 3/10
Clocking in at a mere 9 hours on average, this is yet another reason why I view this game as being a drastic step down from its predecessor. The second game could easily be made to last around 20 to 25 hours with everything that there was to do outside the main story quests, but since the side quests are different, I think many gamers will have inevitably disinclined to undertake the side quests upon discovery of what they are; as indeed I was.
Storyline – 8/10
Set one year after Sly 2, Sly Cooper, along with his colleagues Bentley and Murray, as well as a plethora of new allies, venture out to seek the fabled Cooper Vault reputed to hold a vast amount of heirlooms collected by Sly’s descendants over the years. Personally, the ending of Sly 2 blew me away, but Sly 3 continued that level of character development, and built upon it even further. For a game series that started by relying on a strong element of comedy, I never thought I would be able to take it as seriously as I ended up being able to.
Originality – 4/10
To me, because the developers took away a lot of the elements that helped to take the Sly series to the next level, there is considerably less originality about the third game. They did try something new with the inclusion of more than three playable characters, a concept that would carry on into the fourth game, but to me, it meant considerably less than what it could have potentially meant if the developers had chosen to handle the side quests in a fashion more reminiscent of Sly 2. I think Sanzaru took this on board whilst developing Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, and I’m glad they changed as much from this game as they did.
In summation, Sly 3, in my opinion, is so much less than what it could have been had the developers not decide to make as many negative changes as they did following Sly 2. Even though the original game had less substance, I think the developers misused what substance they added to the third, making it worse; a classic case of quantity over quality.