Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves PlayStation 2
Published by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Developed by Sucker Punch Productions
Release Date: Out Now
Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves, an introduction.
It's amazing to think that here we have the third game in the Sly Raccoon series as it doesn't seem so long ago that we reviewed, and thoroughly enjoyed, the original game. The same can be said for the sequel too, although one gripe we've always had with the series is that it's never been as deaf gamer friendly as it could be. Sly 3, unfortunately continues this trend only this time it's more problematic.
What's the game about?
Sly Cooper once again returns only this time there's no Murray (the Hippo) as he left the gang after blaming himself for Bentley's accident (which left him in a wheelchair) at the end of the second game. The game begins with Sly trying to infiltrate a top security island belonging to Doctor M. The reason Sly is on Doctor M's property is that Doctor M has the Cooper Vault, a vault that all of Sly's ancestors used to store the treasure they had stolen. Doctor M has unsuccessfully tried all kinds of ways to open the vault but only a Cooper has the knowledge to open the vault. Sly's attempt to infiltrate Doctor M's island and access the Cooper Vault meets with failure and he decides a new, top-notch team needs to be formed in order to reattempt the mission. Essentially you'll go from location to location (in numerous parts of the world) in an attempt to assemble a new team. First of course you'll have to find Murray who's currently residing in Venice, Italy.
What's good about the game?
If you enjoyed the first two games in the Sly Raccoon series, you'll be very happy with how Sly 3 plays out and will instantly feel at home with the controls and the game basics. One of the most appealing aspects of the Sly Raccoon games for me is that although the game has a lot of platform game elements in it, they are never too frustrating and they don't get in the way. Some games make you want to throw the controller in frustration but that's never the case in the Sly Raccoon games. As we said earlier you'll have to help Sly recruit a new team from various locations around the world. As you'd expect in order to recruit a new member you're going to have to do a number of objectives first. In each location you'll have a base of operations where you can switch characters and purchase upgrades with the coins you'll collect throughout the game (from guards, barrels, boxes and fallen enemies etc.).
There's quite a lot of variety in terms of your objectives and how you accomplish them and some of the activities you need to do feel like mini-games and they are fun. The game comes with a pair of 3D glasses and some parts of the game require you to wear them. Our copy didn't come with a pair and when we came to these sections of the game, we had to choose to not have the 3D variant of the mission. Whether or not this is a good addition we can't say but certainly choosing not to have the relevant missions in '3D' didn't spoil the game. The replay value of the game is pretty high too as on your first play through you're unlikely to complete all of the challenges in each location as there are so many (or you may not have the required ability at the time).
What's not so good about the game?
The biggest complaint with the game is that there are definite obstacles for deaf gamers which we'll come to later in the review. What I will say here though is that I'm disappointed about the lack of consideration for deaf gamers with the series as a whole because both the first two games didn't have any subtitles for the game's story. Whilst we are on the topic of the game's story, it doesn’t seem to have as much depth as the ones found in the previous games, which may disappoint fans of the series. Personally I found Sly 3 easier than the previous two games which is something that might disappoint, although to a certain degree this disappointment is minimized by the game being enjoyable. A handful of mini-games have also been included for a 2-player mode. The games aren't anything that's going to keep you interested though and it's a fair bet that many will only play them a couple of times before completely ignoring them.
How does it look?
Graphically Sly 3 is very much in the same style as the previous two games. The look and level design is very reminiscent of Sly 2 in particular which is no bad thing as the previous games certainly looked good with their strong cartoon like appearance. Quite a few parts of the environment can be interacted with (these are indicated by a blue sparkle), which is good to see as it gives you increased options to explore the various locations. Once again the camera angles can be manipulated with the right analogue stick, which can be a pain at times (especially during combat or if you're trying to pursue a moving enemy) but it's nothing too problematic. The frame rate is generally fine but it can dip from time to time, which is unfortunate but thankfully it doesn't spoil anything.
How deaf gamer friendly is the game?
Sly 3 is not a game for deaf gamers. The cutscenes that carry the story forward are not subtitled. The introductions to each mission are subtitled and some of the important communications from Bentley etc. during a mission are subtitled. However, some are not. Bentley can issue you with new objectives and unless you check the Job Help screen (by pressing the start button) you'll have no idea that Bentley has issued you with new orders. The various tutorials in the game are subtitled. Enemy conversations are not subtitled and sometimes you'll need the ability to hear. Early on in the game you'll have to be able to hear Bentley count to 3, so that on the count of 3 you can simultaneously press a button to open a security door. Failure to time this right will result in the doors not being opened and not progressing. I daresay you might find success through trial and error, although I found it difficult simply guessing as there was no visual indication for the countdown beginning. There are other instances too where the ability to hear is essential. This is all very disappointing as it provides a definite obstacle for those who can't hear and we have no option but to give the game a Deaf Gamers Classification E grade.
Sly 3 is, when all is said and done, a great third title in what has been a very enjoyable series. However, it has been a problematic series for deaf gamers and the third in the series is the most problematic of them all. I daresay the problems a deaf gamer will encounter could be countered through trial and error or from looking at a walkthrough but why should this have to be the case? Sly 3 is a great game but sadly not one for deaf gamers.
Overall Game Rating: 7.0/10
Deaf Gamers Classification:
(Click the letter or here for details)
Whilst Sly 3 is an enjoyable game there are definite obstacles for deaf gamers. Most simply will not want to attempt to play the game because of the problems.