I was given the review for Sly 3: Honor among Thieves by my editor. I was quite dismayed at first, mostly due to the fact that I am the worst at sneaking games. It took me fifteen tries to get through the first castle while playing Metal Gear Zelda…err…Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. I’m more of a Three Kingdoms type of fighter, dive right in and destroy the enemy. Oh yeah, did I mention I’m also no good at platform games? But I found my answer. Why not ask an expert to review the game. So I turned to my pal in the pen, Grant. Today’s review will be a guest review from one thievery expert about another. Take it away Grant!
I’d like ta thank Tom for the chance to write up this review. It gave me tha chance to get some practical theory practice type work in when the police won’t let me. Without further extemporizing, here we go!
What we’re looking at here is a case of some very interesting environments. This game does a very good job of giving lots of detail to the environments in which a professional thief must work. On top of that, it gives you decently large areas to work in. Sly 3 doesn’t skimp on the details. It’s no wonder he was able to just walk right up to some of the opponents in disguise. The details in the costumes are so precise and well done.
It took me a little bit to get used to the art style, but this ‘cel-shading’, as Tom calls it, worked for the environment rather than against it. I don’t think I’ve ever fought a Panda that was dressed quite like that, but hey, it did look good. Heck, I don’t think I’ve ever fought a panda before…
Now this part is very important to a professional like myself. If you can’t hear what is going on, then you are going to get caught. Getting caught is bad in this business, but having opera blasted at you is even worse. Especially considering that lion’s opera skills (I’ll just leave the little turtle out of it.) Honestly, the game does a very good job of giving auditory clues about what is going on around you to fit the visual information.
The music is pretty subdued. The louder, more outstanding sound was confined to the animated movie parts and the fights against the gang leaders. This all worked well building the kind of tension that happens. Okay, so I’ve never taken on a gang boss before, but the game did a good job of putting me on the edge of my seat for the fights.
This section is pretty important to those of us who would want to break in and steal your stuff. Being able to precisely control all of your movements to hide and bypass the security systems, or sneak up on a guard, is very important. Sly3 delievers this control, allowing you to run rooftops with the best of them. The control sticks…sorry, analog sticks have the walk/run breakpoint set just right, making it easy to walk up behind a guard and lighten him of his valuables. Other moves were easy combinations of buttons, or special moves assigned to the shoulder buttons. It was all laid out just right, so that even a videogame novice like myself wouldn’t get his fingers tied up in a knot when trying to crack a safe.
Well now, this is where the real treasure is. Tom sat me down in front of this game on a Saturday midmorning, and before I knew it, the streetlights were kicking on outside. I actually had to call my probation officer and reschedule my meeting with him, and assure him I was just lost in a videogame. That took some fast talking…
Anyway, Sly 3 is all about Sly’s attempt to recover the family treasure. This game actually starts at the end, with Sly being backed up in his attempt to retake the family vault by some shadowy figures. This level was very easy to do, and was more of a training level, until a giant mutant baboon (or something) came along and tried to eat me. The game went into flashback mode at this point, and started me at the beginning of this grand adventure, in the city of canals, Venice.
This is a very open game. Each part of the story was a main map with various heists and jobs placed around it. Each job has a certain icon over it, such as Sly’s face or Bentley’s, showing who needs to attempt it. You can attempt the available heists in any order you wish, and these will make others appear on the main hub map.
You can also pratice your thieving skills by stealing from the various guards on the map. Sneaking up behind the guard and lightening his pocket, or outright mugging the guards are valid ways to earn money. This money can then be taken to the hideout and spent on upgrades for your available characters. These upgrades give you special moves like smoke grenades and alarm clocks to distract your enemies, or better combination attack moves.
The whole name of the game is to complete the various heists and put right what was wrong, and put the gold in your pocket. And this game does it well.
Once you have completed a hub, you can go back and attempt “Master Thief” challenges. These challenges put my burgling skills to the test, and were quite fun to do. The end payoff is simply that you completed them, as I could not discover any new items in the menus.
There are two multiplayer mini games packaged with the main game. One is a Carmelita vs Sly game where Sly is trying to steal all the gold bags in the city, and Carmelita is out to stop him. The other is Hackatron (Tom tells me this is basically a Robotron clone) that two players can play co-operatively. Neither game was very fun to play.