Sly 2 Band Of Thieves
Sly 2: Band of Thieves is somewhat of a deviation from the original Sly Cooper. Make no mistake, the core gameplay is still platform-centric action with a dash of stealth styling, but this time around, it's not so linear. The original drew many comparisons to 16-bit side-scrollers for its tight and focused gameplay, but everything's much more open this time around, and in many ways, it's conformed to what a lot of modern platform games are doing. That's not to say Sly 2: Band of Thieves is any worse for the change - far from it. It's all been done expertly, with huge, sprawling worlds that offer up a bevy of unique and engaging missions.
As the title implies, Sly is no longer the lone wolf on his quest: Murray and Bentley, his two sidekicks, are now playable characters. Not only that, but they're almost as crucial to the game as Sly himself, and both offer up a unique brand of gameplay. Murray is the hulk of the operations, and most of his missions revolve around smashing stuff, while Bentley is the brains behind it all and you'll use his many gadgets to tackle missions in a more methodical fashion.
Some improvement, however, could be made integrating the characters into the main quest. For Sly, each environment is a veritable jungle gym of interactivity, and a lot of fun is derived from jumping from rooftop to rooftop, finding the best route to your objectives in a stylish manner. However, for Bentley and Murray, the environments don't yield as much entertainment, and often, it's just a hassle to get the two from Point A to Point B. If there were more unique actions they could use throughout the worlds, then the story might be different.
Sly 2's main (and only big) failing is that it ends ' but when it ends, it ends. Granted, Sly 2 is around 15-20 hours long, but there's not much incentive to play through after it's been beaten. A bit of a downer since the first Sly Cooper offered a time trial mode that extended its lifespan considerably.
If Sly 2: Band of Thieves has anything, it's style. By using cel-shaded graphics and a unique brand of stylized environments, Sly Cooper looks distinctly different, and above all, absolutely beautiful. The worlds are absolutely huge, with impeccable detail and a far viewing distance. The animations, likewise, are fluid and give each character a lot of personality. By the end of the game, you'll become familiar with Bentley's nervous twitching and Murray's bumbling swagger just because the characters' personalities were integrated into the animation so well.
It's hard to keep coming up with accolades for Sly 2: Band of Thieves, but let's keep trying anyways: Sly 2 is absolutely awesome, incredibly polished, terribly charming, graphically gorgeous, and is, without a doubt, worth the price of admission. If you're a platform fan, then this should be a no-brainer buy, but even if you're not, Sly 2 just might convert you - for what was once the stomping grounds for fat plumbers with a penchant for mushrooms now belongs to swarthy raccoons with a hot streak for stealth.