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Sly Raccoon Review - PS2

78%
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Sly Raccoon (changed from the less generic Sly Cooper and the Theivious Raccoonus for reasons only known to SCE. Sly Raccoon sounds like an incredibly generic C64/NES title from some two-bit development company that flooded the market in the late 80's. But I digress) is the latest in a long line of Sony endorsed mammal mascots. However unlike Jak and Ratchet, Sly's partner is inanimate. The Theivious Raccoonus is a book that details the history of the Coopers, a long line of thieving raccoons.

This family treasure has been stolen and separated into five pieces, conveniently located in different areas across the globe. Worth noting are the charming cut scenes which feature between levels that are presented in a comic book style which fits perfectly with the games light hearted attitude and represent a refreshing change from the usual full motion video offerings.

Gameplay

If you expected Sly Raccoon to contain something other the standard platforming mechanics then you may be disappointed. Each world does feature some distracting mini-games and minor stealth elements; this is a platform game at heart. Collect coins, earn a life. Collect "clues" and you can unlock skills found in the "Theivious Raccoonus", letting Sly execute more powerful attacks or swifter jumps. Defeat the boss in each world and recover the missing sections of the book. Nothing you haven't seen before, but well executed and delivered in a wonderfully cell-shaded world brimming with life and charisma.

One element that may dishearten some is the designated "sneaking points". Simply they are areas where you can "sneak" like a thin ledge that show up with a blue mist since the Coopers can sense sneaking aura. Combined with Bentley's (the technologically savvy turtle) tendency to tell you everything you need to accomplish on each level (wait is this Agent Under Fire?) it makes the levels slightly unrewarding and even more linear. The only chances to explore are for hard to reach clues that usually aren't hard to reach at all.

Whilst the game is certainly designed for children, this hold your hand style of game play isn't needed. Most challenges would be simple enough for the cerebrally challenged; with the hardest choices being which skill fits the situation. There is very little chance of getting stuck since the levels are restrictively linear and simple. However knowing where you can and cannot sneak certainly takes the frustration out of testing the limits of each level.

Graphics

The camera is remarkably well behaved; however you can't change the pitch of it. Using your binoculars does give you a free look, but it's much harder to assess your surroundings from this viewpoint. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of the frame rate, as the Swamp level suffers some horrendous slowdown in the hub level. It hardly makes the game unplayable but it is in such stark contrast with the rest of the game that has been beautifully put together.
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