The original cell-shaded racoon thief is back, as gamers can once again join Sly Cooper and his Band of Thieves as they prepare for the biggest job they have ever taken. Sly 2: Band of Thieves is a comical crime caper that delivers some drama, comedy, romance, and some nice twists in the story. Sly must outmaneuver the gorgeous girls of Interpol, and the evil gang known as ‘KLAWW’.
I thought the first Sly Cooper game was a remarkable leap in graphics technology for the PlayStation2 console … and if that’s the case then Sly 2 does the first game decent justice. This game’s very popular cell-shaded technique to create an amazing “live comic book” feel is slightly than before, still making the game visually stunning to the eyes. The game has a great flow and animation frame rate, so there’s very little (if any) chops or slow downs in the gameplay. The monsters, bad guys, and especially the bosses at the end of levels have such a creative flair to them, it’s impossible not to appreciate the imagination that went into the graphic design of the game. The graphics of Sly 2: Band of Thieves is pretty impressive and gets strong marks.
This time around, you actually get to control more than just Sly. In some missions you get to use Murray (the large purple Hippo) or Bentley (the genius turtle). The game revolves around a central storyline that involves Sly and his gang going all around the world to particular locations. At these locations players will have to perform the missions (one objective) where everything you do in this area is for one particular goal. This makes going through and exploring everything less of a headache, but makes the missions a little easier than what most are used to. Personally, the structure of the game is perfect for casual PS2 fans, or for the kids that love some instant gratification. For die-hard gamers that do nothing but sit around and play adventure games, you’ll find it on the easy side.
Nevertheless, as a die-hard gamer myself, the missions of Sly 2 were pretty fun and rewarding since the storyline was so strong and the element of humor executed so well. The gameplay is fairly varied as well, so you won’t find yourself doing repetitive tasks within missions. The game’s ambiance really makes you believe you’re inside this cartoon world, which makes the gameplay a fantastic experience.
The voiceovers for the game were pretty standard, but the thing that will strike you about the sound is both the Dolby Pro Logic II surround sound (loved it!) and the uber-cool soundtrack. The music is perfect for the “heist movie” feel of the game, and sometimes the music is interactive with what you are doing, as when you are trying to tippy-toe around a baddie, the sound will “pluck” with every footstep. Highly ingenious.
Longevity & Originality:
If there was one criticism that gamers (and reviewers alike) had about the original title, is that it was on the short side. This time around, the game seemed much longer, and reports are that the game should take anywhere from 20 to 30 hours to complete (I’m still working my way to the end!). The game’s ambiance, graphics, and soundtrack are all highly original, and the style the game brings to the PS2 is really unparalleled amongst all the consoles. Sly 2 is a highly original title that has a good length to it to satisfy gamers.
I thought the first Sly Cooper game was pretty good … and I think Sly 2: Band of Thieves is absolutely terrific. I’m a big fan of the cell-shaded graphics, original characters, and fun gameplay. When you break it down to its core, that’s really what makes this title a winner – it’s fun to play and has a wide range of appeal from children to adult gamers. The graphics are very impressive, and the game gets top marks for sound and originality.
Overall, Sly 2: Band of Thieves is one of the more stylish and original titles of 2004 and is surely a no-brainer when it comes to deciding a gift for the PS2 gamer in your life. An Editor’s Choice product to be sure.