Friday, January 1, 2021

Deep Look: The Sly Collection

High-definition remasters of videogames from previous console generations would become commonplace around the time the Sony PlayStation 3 and its rival systems came out, some notable ports including Final Fantasy X and its direct sequel, along with most Kingdom Hearts games leading up to the third numbered title. Given my involvement in the furry fandom and wish to broaden my gaming horizons beyond roleplaying games, I decided to give The Sly Collection, a collection of HD remasters of the first three Sly Cooper games for the PlayStation 3, a try, a decision I regret.

The first game follows raccoon protagonist Sly Cooper dealing with a group of villains known as the Fiendish Five, with the gameplay emphasizing stealth along with many minigames and occasional boss battles. Death is fairly easy in The Thievius Raccoonus, and the aforementioned minigames are frequently frustrating, given a dearth of checkpoints and anti-frustration features, but the story is surprisingly well-developed, given the backstory of the antagonists, and along with a film noir-esque soundtrack and decent voice acting including that of the cool, confident Sly Cooper, I very much saw good in the first game.

While the second game does build upon the first’s gameplay, it unfortunately doesn’t mean that it’s better, with a whole host of new issues, among them being many more frustrating minigames with a dearth of checkpoints, and the plot oftentimes feels like a rehash of that in the first game. The third entry is mechanically similar, which naturally isn’t a good thing, given many drawn-out portions including the endgame portion, and a lack of indication as to whether the game is saving, making it nigh-impossible to quit the game and resume where the player left off.

In summation, I really, really wanted to enjoy The Sly Collection, but it just didn’t love me in return, driving me to the point of frustration at many times. The trilogy’s furry content was a major draw for me, with strong narrative potential, although much of the plot in the second and third games contained rehashed content, and the gameplay doesn’t back the experience very well. Players that appreciate challenge in videogames may find the above-average difficulty of the collection to be a lure, although much of the alleged difficulty feels artificial at best, and the games are incredibly hard to recommend to mainstream, casual gamers.


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