#365Games41: Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus – PS3

I’ll admit my Sly Cooper ignorance. The series has been around for years but I never took the time to dig into it until the HD re-release on the PS3 and it’s a decent next-gen platformer. You play as a raccoon thief who travels the world snatching up various artifacts while being chased by a female Interpol Inspector.

The story is this (from Wikipedia:) Sly must recover his family’s “Thievius Raccoonus”, a book listing all the special thieving skills his family has collected over several centuries, which was stolen by a rival gang, the Fiendish Five, led by Clockwerk, a mechanical owl, the “manifestation of evil”. Meanwhile, Sly and his gang must keep ahead of Interpol Inspector Carmelita Fox, who promises to one day capture Sly and put him away for his crimes.

The game is surprisingly good, it blends basic platforming (jumping, collecting items, avoiding bad guys, smacking ’em with a cane) with Metal Gear-ish stealth gameplay and mixes it up by introducing racing, rhythm sequences and first-person shooter elements to the equation. The result is a deep, rewarding game that is challenging enough for experienced gamers but simple enough for casual players. You can add additional abilities by collecting clue bottles throughout a level, a dive attack or being able to jump in slow motion come in handy as the levels increase in difficulty.

The HD graphics are colorful and well-rendered and text are crisp and sharp but the dated cel-shading almost has you wishing they redid the animation to give it the depth of Costume Quest for example. The backgrounds are cool and some of the levels do an excellent job of creating a moody vibe, especially the swamp stages. Oh and the cut scenes are nicely done as well.

The music sort of blends in to the game, it adds a tip-toeing theme whenever you go into stealth mode but none of it really stands out which is probably a good thing as you reach the later stages and need the additional focus.

A decent introduction to the series and I’ll be sure to grab the next 2 HD upgrades.