Over the past few years Sony has really been able to build up a large portfolio of quality platform game titles and the advantage to them is that because they have been first party published, exclusive rights was never going to be a problem. Games such as Jak and Ratchet and Clank have shown that the PS2 console for the moment at least, is the platform gamers choice. Later this year Sony is going to continue their platforming tradition with not only the next and final Jak and Ratchet and Clank but also the second in the series for Sly Cooper, a master cat burglar.
The storyline behind Sly 2: Band of Thieves features one of the world's most famous intelligence organizations, Interpol. They have discovered the remains from Clockwerk, and are trying to piece him together and considering he is the ultimate nemesis of Sly, the team don't want this to happen. So they set out again on a journey to not only collect valuables from unsuspecting enemies, but also the pieces of Clockwerk so he never causes sly trouble again.
For those who aren't aware of the Sly franchise, the basic gameplay revolves around the platforming genre but there is a lot of unique traits to the series which makes it one of the more popular. For instance in this game rather than doing good deeds, you play as a thief trying to get around without being caught. This allows the developers to introduce some unique game mechanics such as the ability to steal items from foes when they aren't looking before fighting them or sneaking past. The game is also open ended and depending on the location you are currently in, you can travel around picking up missions to complete (over 80 will be featured in the final game) while also trying to complete the main task of finding parts of Clockwerk.
The team in Sly 2 is made up of three characters; Sly the Raccoon, Murray the Hippopotamus and Bentley the wise turtle. Each have different traits, for instance Murray is strong while Bentley relies on his wit and brains to get tasks done. Throughout the game you will have the opportunity to play with each of the characters and use unique weapons such as the Bentley's crossbow. You will also have the ability to find costumes to change into for a disguise and the developers are promising new gadgets for the crew to help you stop Clockwerk being rebuilt. To pull off the heists the team will have to work together and we are guessing that each character will be able to get past certain puzzles that the game may throw at the player. New moves include pick pocketing and stealth attacks and new gadgets include a parachute and spy camera.
However it's not all fun and games for Sly in the second title as Interpol agents are out to stop him including a female character with whom the developers are hinting a love story will form. Inspector Carmelita Fox leads the team but the other characters differ greatly from each other which should keep the game fresh right until the end. Of course there will be other enemies encountered such as the basic foot soldier type character but these ones will give you the toughest time. Enemies will now also work together by calling in reinforcements if they catch you.
Sly's journey is a global one and you will visit famous places such as Paris and Egypt and see the relevant architecture such as the Pyramids in the background. The levels are completely open ended and you can choose to run through the streets or run across the rooftops in a stealth manner. Sucker Punch have used a mix of 3D graphics and cel shading to construct the characters in the world the game is set in and the result is a game which looks fantastic. Between levels the storyline is played out in a comic style format giving the game an even more authentic feel for the comic style the developers are obviously trying to reproduce. Despite the fact the levels are completely open ended the game is played in an episodic fashion again leading it to be compared to cartoons.
Sly 2: Band of Thieves should become another quality addition to the PS2 range of platform games. With the new graphics engine, ability to play as three characters and stronger AI, it seems like yet another game that platform fans will want along with Jak 3 and Ratchet and Clank 3. Sly 2: Band of Thieves is set to ship later in October 2004.