I have recently completed Sly Cooper And The Thievius Raccoonus on my PS Vita, after buying the Sly Cooper Collection about a year ago and pretty much forgetting about it until I started fancying playing a platformer some time ago and suddenly remembering that I had it.
The game itself is not that bad. As a matter of fact, I quite enjoyed playing it and I think that if you are a platformer fan, you should probably play it (and it’s very likely that you have done so already). The think in this game, playing it in 2015, is that it feels like it has aged pretty badly.
The controls feel very clunky, and all this is made worse by the fact that you can’t make Sly run. It’s not that you are walking, but only that you have one single speed to move around, and this keels some of the fun of this genre in my opinion (this has been fixed in the next episode by the way).
The level design is very linear, although this is not a bad thing per se, and the only exploration allowed is that to gather all the bottles in the level. If you manage to gather them all, you will be able to open a safe somewhere in the level that will grant Sly an extra ability, like being able to roll or not to die when falling in the water (yep, Sly can’t swim, so no underwater levels yay!)
The game is not the typical platformer, there are some stealth elements which make it slower than an old Mario game to make an example. In fact, most of the time Sly will die after receiving just one hit from an enemy, to stop you from rushing through the levels swinging your cane left and right. Also, there really are not many enemies in the levels.
The graphics are in a nice celshading, something I am not a huge fan of but I don’t mind them either. The smaller Vita screen does a good job to make the game look nice with cool colors.
The thing that I hated the most about the game, however, were the non-platform levels. There are some sections in the game where, instead of hopping around and collecting bottles, you have to perform some other actions, like winning a 3-lap race or shooting at enemies while on a moving vehicle. Well, I found these pretty terrible to be honest, and there are quite a few of them. I couldn’t wait to complete them to move over to another normal level, which is where the game is most enjoyable.
Finally, the boss fights deserve an honorable mention. While they are inconsistent in their difficulty (I found a couple of them extremely easy, killing them at my first try with no deaths, and a couple of other quite challenging, requiring multiple tries), I found them quite original, especially the one that has you play a Parappa-the-Rapper-style music game to defeat it. Kudos for the interesting change to the developers.
Overall, is this worth playing? Well, I think so, yes. The Sly Collection can be found for reasonably cheap nowadays, and if you are a platform fan you are likely going to enjoy this. Do not expect a masterpiece though, and I still consider the first Jak and Dexter a better game.