I mentioned in my Top 10 Favorite Video Game Franchises article that I love the Sly Cooper series. At the time I had written the article, I stated that I had bought the HD collection of the original Sly Cooper trilogy for the PS3. Well, now I’ve had a chance to actually play those HD remakes and, while I still love Sly 1 and 2, I have recently had my eyes opened. Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves is a travesty. Despite being the only game I ever completed in the franchise when I was younger, this is easily the worst of the original trilogy. So, instead of the usual review format, allow me to list off the multiple, MULTIPLE shortcomings of this heinous game.
STORY: While this is my most nitpicky bullet point, I just felt the story of Sly 3 was simply not as tight and well thought out as the first two were. The first game was relatively straightforward: Bad guys took your stuff, you have to take them down and get your stuff back. Sly 2 felt like a true sequel, continuing the story of the first game and expanding on it. Sly 3 has little to no connection to the first two games. Sure, they have some recurring characters, but these characters simply do not follow the continuity of the first two games. The villains were also generally weaker than the villains of the first two. There was no set “rival gang” anymore, which made the levels feel even more disconnected than usual. The main baddy of the piece gets hardly any screen time and we never really develop an appreciation for how powerful or bad they were. Simply put, Sly 3’s story was just the weakest of the bunch.
MISSIONS: This nitpick is best explained through examples. Sly 1: The missions were simple and straightforward (if a little repetitive for the game itself). You go to each stage in each level, collect the keys, get to the bad guy and defeat them. These missions were between 5 to 10 minutes long and felt quick and easy. Sly 2: The missions got a bit more complex and felt a bit longer but still felt manageable and fun. The story got a bit more complicated and it stood to reason that the missions would as well. These missions could be about 15 minutes long, 20 if it’s a bit difficult. Sly 3: In short, each mission was simply TOO FUCKING LONG. A single mission in a level will take up to half an hour to complete with multiple stages within said mission. The checkpoint system was AWFUL as you lost a lot of progress (be it in killing of a certain number of enemies or collecting a certain number of items) if you die once. The other two games simply did not have that kind of problem. It was beyond frustrating.
GAMEPLAY: The core gameplay of Sly 3 is, thankfully, a lot like the first two. You sneak around as Sly and pull off heists with your buddies. One plus this game has is that the worlds felt better planned out so that they were easily playable with any of the characters. One of my biggest gripes with Sly 2 was that controlling Bentley or Murray felt clunkier, especially when trying to navigate each level. Sly 3 fixed that problem. However, they added an even BIGGER problem. Sly 3 constantly has levels where a new mechanic is added for no good reason. You have to learn an entirely new control scheme in order to drive a car, fly a plane, even one of the worst swimming mechanics I’ve ever experienced in a game. I wouldn’t mind this so much if they didn’t IMMEDIATELY disregard the new mechanic so that you pretty much NEVER HAVE TO USE IT AGAIN. Or at least they wait just long enough in the game that you don’t remember the controls at all and then WHAM there it is again and you have to relearn it and the level is even HARDER. The new mechanics were simply not needed and made the game feel way more complicated than it needed to be.
GLITCHES: Okay, simply put, the HD remake is glitched to the point of insanity. I came across MULTIPLE game breaking glitches that forced me to reset the game and pray that it didn’t happen again. A few examples: Bentley not equipping a gadget that I had just bought and NEEDED to complete a mission despite definitely buying said gadget, Murray just stopping and not moving at all at a part where I needed to protect him with a turret, two pirate ships just DISAPPEARING out of nowhere meaning I was stuck in a battle screen with no way out and no way to progress in the game. Just, seriously, there was absolutely NO reason for the game to be THIS glitchy when the first two HD games had no problems.
I’ll say it again. Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves is a TRAVESTY of phenomenal proportions. With a highly convoluted and, frankly, boring story, gameplay that just got overly complicated, missions that took small eternities to complete, and glitches that make the game unplayable, this game makes me sick. It should be ashamed to be part of the Sly Cooper family. If it were up to me, I’d take every copy of this game in existence and put them in a vault at the bottom of the ocean. And hopefully no thieves would be able to crack that vault in my lifetime.