The Sly Collection

The Raccoon Who Stole My Heart

The Sly Collection serves up three remastered classics at one classic price.
Author: Aram Lecis
Published: November 24, 2010
Let's get one thing out of the way right off the bat here. If you want serious details on the games contained in The Sly Collection, you should read Sam's excellent reviews of the PS2 versions. Gameplay-wise, nothing has been altered from the original release, so I will instead concentrate on the quality of the conversion.


Sanzaru games was tasked with taking one of the core "mascot" franchises from the previous generation and putting on an HD coat of varnish, as well as adding in a group of Move-capable mini-games and hoping that those of us with non-BC PlayStation 3's would finally get off our backwards compatibility soapboxes. Whether or not they were successful in putting together a package worth your $40 is definitely up for debate.

For those who missed out on these games (a group that includes yours truly), Sly is a smart and stylish platformer that tells the tale of a raccoon thief (from a long line of raccoon thieves) and his turtle and hippo pals that help him in his heists. The first game was a very linear affair that amounted to running levels to get keys to unlock more levels. The later entries in the series moved to a more open-world style (still a linear path overall) that focused on a more varied set of objectives that would set up the final heist on each level. All three games do a good job of tossing in other scenarios that find Sly and his cohorts playing twin-stick shooters, simple driving games, and FPS sniper sections, all of which add some variety and keep the game from being too repetitive. The levels all contain lots of vertical platforming and you can see that Sucker Punch's surprise hit inFamous took a lot of its cues from this series.

Sly was always a very stylized cartoony game, and because of this the graphics make the uprezzed transition quite well. The cutscenes are super sharp and gorgeous in HD, and the graphics themselves, while not quite PS3-levels, are certainly improved. Alas, not everything made the transition as well as the graphics and gameplay. The sound, especially in the later games, seems very tinny and cut out for me several times during play. The pause menu and other menus seem to have not been rerezzed properly, as they often don't fill the whole screen, which is fine, except for the fact that you can still see the game under the edges of the menus which looks very sloppy when you see it in person.

Those problems pale in comparison to the omission of the commentary track in the first game. In the original, if you beat all the levels under a certain time (Master Thief Sprint), you would unlock DVD-style commentary tracks with the developers talking about the levels as you played through them. Not only is this an egregious oversight due to the humor, they also give you no reason to try and beat those times, as they now offer no reward (other than a "100%" in your completion checklist). Why this was left out will remain a mystery for all time.

In addition to the three full games, there is a (small) mini-game collection available, with 4 games to play (one starts unlocked, and the others unlock as you play each of the games. Truth be told, the less said about these mini-games the better. While they do give you a reason to pull out those Move wands (all games are Move-based), both the games themselves and the calibration and menu systems are strictly garbage. The games are each fun for maybe one playthrough, and each time you go back to the menu you have to go through a rather onerous calibration process, and since the games themselves are so short, you will spend more time calibrating than playing. If you have a regular DualShock plugged in with your Move wands, you cannot even navigate the mini-game menus with the wands, and have to grab the controller again. Each time a game ends. There is no reason to even bother with these, and in fact their inclusion actually LOWERS the overall quality of the package.

For those who no longer have their PS2 versions, or for those who have never played these games, The Sly Collection is a great addition to your library. The games remain eminently playable to this day, and are great for both kids and adults. At the nice price of $40, you really can't go wrong.

TROPHY TIPS: The Sly Collection might have the best ratio of money:time:trophies:fun that we have ever seen. Each of the three games has a full trophy set, including a platinum, and all three will give you the full set merely by playing through the game and buying/collecting all the powers available to you. Most likely you can grab them all on your first playthrough and have fun doing it, and if you miss anything you can replay any level at any time to clean up. There is also the standard 12-pack in the mini-game collection, although I can't imagine suffering through those long enough to get them.
Platinum Difficulty: These are probably the 3 easiest platinums you will get this side of Hannah Montana.
The Verdict
8.5

A great remastering marred but a few technical issues and oversights, and an awful mini-game collection. If you haven't played these games to death already, you owe it to yourself to see what you missed out on in the last generation.

8.5Graphics:

The cartoony style lends itself well to the sharpening the remastering gave it, and you don't feel like you are playing a last generation game.

6.0Sound:

The music is still nice, and the ditty that plays when Sly sneaks is classic cartoon thief sounds, but some stuttering and cutting out make me a bit angry.

9.0Control:

Sly games all control really great (barring the mini-game collection) and the thief moves are all elegantly executed with just the O button. Camera controls are very responsive and tight.

8.5Gameplay:

The games are all fantastic and fast-paced, with enough variety to break up the platforming (which is also top-notch) that you never feel bored even playing all 3 games back to back like I did.