Being one of the tent pole franchises in the Sucker Punch stable, Sly Cooper has more attitude in its whacky and colourful world than a fairly mischievous thief could dream of. So, with the Sly Trilogy hitting PlayStation Vita, you might be wondering how these classics hold up and if they are worth your time. With the franchise dating all the way back to 2002 (around the same time other great characters jumped onto our screens), the Sly Trilogy brings Sly Cooper, Sly 2: Band of Thieves and Sly 3: Honour Among Thieves to Sony’s latest handheld platform. For those of you that have been sneaking away over on the PlayStation 3, you can now pick up and go with Sly. The development of the port for Sly Cooper Collection was handled by Sanzaru Games, who were also the masterminds behind the well-received Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time. With Sly now joining the ranks of HD collections to making their way to PS Vita from its console brother, there has never been a better time to jump in and see one of the greats from the PlayStation 2-era.
As soon as the games are in and raring to go (bearing in mind my copies were digitally downloaded), Sly 1 and 2 are contained in one menu whereas Sly 3 is completely separate. I don’t know if this is deliberate for any reason and it is not much of a bad thing; more of a slight hindrance when switching from one to the other. Regardless, you’re mere seconds from being in the game and on your way, and coupled with the abundance of Trophies and cross-save functionality with the PS3, there is plenty to sink your teeth into. There is one thing to note, though: upon starting any of the three games, it seems to disconnect you from the network, so if you’re downloading anything else it will stop until you leave the Sly game you are currently in.
All three classics bring their unique villains, intriguing characters and let us not go forgetting the rather wicked boss fights. This is something I’ve always found to be particularly compelling about the Sly Cooper universe; every character you meet, every villain you must cross paths with, plays their role exceptionally. Needless to say, their antics will have you glued to your screen for hours, laughing away at the comedic spin thrown in for good measure. There’s plenty of highlights, whether it be hunting down the family "Thievious Raccoonus" in Sly 1, sneaking around the world in Sly 2 searching for the Clockwerk parts, or reuniting the team in order to get into the Cooper Vault during Sly 3. There is certainly heaps of content and a great time as ever to jump in or revisit for some nostalgic playtime.
Don’t be thinking that any of the three games perform sluggishly in handheld form; each title handles wonderfully, featuring a solid frame rate and fluid controls, while everything is mapped out perfectly to enjoy this great journey into the past times of the Sly world. The only minor gripe is that the camera can at times prove irritating, but it can be controlled to shift your view in a 360-degree motion really easily.
Visually, all three games have stood the test of time well, although this might be part and parcel of their distinctive art style. Sly 1, however, does suffer from looking somewhat jaggy, and being the oldest of the bunch, it is of no surprise. Still, like every great franchise, technical polish tends to improve as the sequels come out, and sure enough, Band of Thieves has Sly looking brighter and crispier than ever. Sly 3 is undoubtedly the most visually impressive of the three games, with the HD makeover really flexing its muscles on PS Vita’s screen. Do keep in mind the cut scenes shift back to 4:3 ratio and can be a little off-putting when jumping back to gameplay, but apart from that, the Sly Collection remains a visually-stunning package.
The Sly Trilogy is covered in all the classic Sucker Punch stylings and Sanzaru Games has done an awesome job bringing the sneaky raccoon into the HD world. With solid framerates, great visuals, memorable characters and heaps of Trophies, you’d be mad to pass this up.