Preview: Sly Cooper

July 28, 2002 2:25 PM PST


To me the hype surrounding this game sounds like so much chatroom blather; "OMG, Sly Cooper is SO much like MGS don't u think? LOL!"

There is little truth in that foolishness. If a 'stealth move' is all it takes to make a Metal Gear Solid title for you, perhaps you'd best return to Tim's editorial and take a closer look. True, Sly Cooper does have some story/dialogue bits which are done in a similar structural way. But take a quick gander at the video and you'll quickly discover that this dialogue could have easily be written by those same chatroom pundits. All of this is NOT however, to say that the game is terrible. Once again what we have here is an average platformer, biting off pieces of many games that preceded it.

Sly Cooper is just a straight platformer. These stealth techniques are nothing new to the genre...Crash Bandicoot is forever avoiding enemies he can't kill, Gex has done the stealth thing, so has Conker. I'm not quite sure what started this idea of Sly Cooper as the platforming version of MGS. Perhaps it was Sony's PR team, that wouldn't surprise me.

The point of the game is to reclaim your family's super-spy book; the Thievius Raccoonus, page by page. Each page you collect gives you a new attack or other move of some sort. Again this is not new territory - Sly Cooper doesn't take the genre anywhere it hasn't been before. But the game *is* rather fun. It's not the best, but it's yet another diversion until the next great platformer comes along (get your act together, Sonic Team!). Nothing about the game will alienate you, and nothing will challenge you overmuch. The dialogue is written like a kids game, and that's the market they should probably shoot for. There are no mature themes or difficult bits in the game once you get the hang of the style.

A bit more on the in-game dialogue...it's god awful. The scripting is forced, devoid of humor (but not attempts at it), and the exposition is so straightforward. The writers' attempts to make boring gameplay descriptions 'hip' consisted of adding phrases like 'super-cool', 'bust out', '24-7' and 'pegged'. That stuff even sounds lame coming out of my teenage brother. Actually the dialogue here makes me rethink my position on Ratchet and Clank...I'm liking the writing more and more in that game.

At the present time there are some collision problems, especially when Sly is attempting to jump onto small platforms. I'm sure these things will be cleaned up in the finished product, but I thought I'd mention it now, in case they aren't. Also Sly's double-jump is often inaccurate. The second jump doesn't always propel you forward, and can lead to unnecessary death (as you'll see in the l33t sk711z video). So there were a few issues here and there, but no exciting glitches of the type I found in Ratchet and Clank though...pity.

Good old cell-shaded graphics. They seem to be all the rage these days, and Sly Cooper has done a decent job with its subtle use of the popular style. The game is not shaded to the extreme of Jet Grind Radio, instead following a thin line between 'cartoon' and 'realism'. The character design is decidedly American, and pretty average. But this is what you expect from a platformer from the US these days.

The music is lame, but unobtrusive. There are some attempts to work with musical cues to signal a shift in the gameplay, i.e. when an enemy notices you, but these are rarely used to good effect. Enemies are so quickly killed that the music stops a couple of seconds after it begins.

So is this a game to wait for? Honestly I'd prefer Ratchet and Clank over this one. The dialogue is funnier, gameplay more engaging, and the atmosphere more believable in the latter. Plus Sony is marketing the game as what it actually is, unlike Sly Cooper. Sly is good, but that's all. If you like how it looks in the movies, the game may be for you. It's no more or less enjoyable than those scenes look.

Brandon Sheffield

 

Developer
Sucker Punch

Publisher
Sony

Release Date
September 2002

 


 
 
 
 
 


Barrel Stealth

(1:52 - 7.87 MB)

Classy Promo

(0:55 - 5.6 MB)

Engaging Dialogue

(0:53 - 3.73 MB)

Game Play

(0:59 - 5.63 MB)

l33t pl4tf0rm1ng sk711z

(0:53 - 5.05 MB)

Sneaking

(0:46 - 4.35 MB)