Sly 2: Band of Thieves
Sly 2: Band of Thieves is a stealth-action platforming video game developed by Sucker Punch Productions and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. It was initially released on September 14, 2004, for the PlayStation 2. It was later re-released for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita as part of a remastered HD collection, developed by Sanzaru Games, on November 9, 2010, and April 16, 2014, respectively.
Why It Rocks
- Great graphics that uses cell-shaded graphics that give a comic book feel.
- Bentley and Murray's characters are drastically changed for the better. Bentley goes from pessimistic and always assuming the plan will fail to more optimistic, friendly, and occasionally sarcastic. Murray on the other hand goes from a comic-relief coward to a very strong, optimistic, and loyal character and has a much larger role.
- Rather than having separate linear levels, each chapter now takes place in relatively small hub-worlds where you do missions (called jobs) to prepare for a big heist at the end of the chapter. This way the gameplay is non-linear but the worlds aren't so big that you'd get lost or become tedious to travel across. This would go on to become the general structure for future Sly Cooper games.
- Sly's highly acrobatic mobility fits very well with the new open hub-worlds, giving him many different ways to explore them. The new structure also improves the stealth elements of the game.
- The five Klaww Gang members have large roles and frequently appear in the chapters they're featured on, making them more active and fleshed out characters rather than just one-time boss fight characters like in the first game.
- You now have infinite lives and a health bar.
- Really good voice acting with most of the returning voice actors like Kevin Miller sounding more comfortable in their roles.
- Great plot with several genuinely unexpected plot twists, lots of foreshadowing, and a bittersweet ending.
- Clue bottles return and again can be used to unlock new moves and they give you audio cues to know when they're nearby.
- In addition to Sly, the player also takes control of both Bentley and Murray, who now have fully fleshed out movesets, as opposed to their limited gameplay appearances in the first game.
- Sly uses stealth moves to reach areas Bentley and Murray can't, is the most acrobatic member, and later obtains a paraglider. He gets most of the jobs in the game.
- Bentley's methods of interaction are less direct than either Sly's or Murray's. He cannot perform many acts of agility, such as climbing or jumping long distances, but he is equipped with bombs and a crossbow that fires sleep darts. These can be used in conjunction to put enemies to sleep before bombing them, while the bombs alone can be used to destroy enemy equipment. He can also interact with enemy computers to hack them, which appears as a top-down twin-stick shooter.
- Murray uses his strength to fight enemies head-on. He can take out groups of guards with ease using different techniques, such as Diablo Fire Slam, Thunder Flop and Fists of Flame. He is also capable of picking up objects and guards and throwing them, or slamming them on the ground.
- Sly can pickpocket guards to steal money and treasure from them, this brings a Risk-and-Reward system because you have to get close to guards and potentially alert them.
- Because there are no lives, coins and treasures are now used to purchase power-ups (also called gadgets) for each character from an online store known as ThiefNet. Sly's power-ups center around stealth and evasiveness, Murray's centers around power and combat, and Bentley's consist mainly of gadgets and gizmos. Most power-ups need to be assigned to a button via the "Gadget Grid"; others have more passive effects.
- If the player has a Sony PlayStation 2 USB Headset plugged in, the player can use the microphone to distract nearby guards, which is pretty ahead of its time. Additionally, any binocucom chatter coming from a character out of vocal range of the player will come exclusively through the headset, while all sounds from within the player's vicinity will continue as normal.
- The music tracks that play in the episode select are great. Also, the music track played in the episode select actually changes to reflect the darker story arcs in episodes four and later.
- The graphics are dark in brightness and contrast, so if you have poor vision or a TV with a very low brightness (or both) it may be difficult to see the game. Make sure to readjust the brightness of the TV to allow you to see the game better.
- Your characters get knocked back when hit. This is made worse when climbing because if an enemy hits you it'll knock you down all the way to the bottom.
- Unnecessary verticality in some of the chapters making it difficult to access certain areas of the respective hubs, even as Sly. Murray gets a super jump upgrade to help him access higher areas, but Bentley has no such ability so he's the worst off on this.
- In the digital version of the game on PlayStation 3, every single line of dialog fades in from half volume to full volume, and an audio glitch can occur sometimes after loading where all sounds, voices, and music is low quality due to a static effect being applied, which is likely to fix itself after you reload, by dying or failing a job, or going into a different area.
- While she sounds good as Neyla, Alesia Glidewell (at least during some cutscenes) doesn't sound so good as Carmelita. Also, she doesn't do the Hispanic accent that Carmelita has in Sly 1, 3 & Thieves in Time.
- When you start a chapter try looking for some clue bottles first, this is a good way to learn the map's layout before starting to do missions.
- When hunting for Clue Bottles, it might be a good idea to lower down or even mute the music, that way you'll have a much easier time hearing the bottles' audio cues to know when they're close and will know for a fact that what you're hearing is indeed a clue bottle.
- Sly's Paraglider and Alarm Clock are the only mandatory upgrades required for story progression, make sure you save money to buy them as soon as they are available. Bentley's Thruster Pack is also recommended to reach a Clue Bottle in Chapter 8, although not downright required. The other easy way to get it is to wait until Sly has his mega jump, or you can just do normal jumps and hope in vain that you can acquire it (it's possible, but extremely difficult).
- Enemies take fall damage so if one of them detects you while on a roof, simply knock off the roof and they'll immediately die. Also, flashlight guards can't go to the rooftops.
Sly 2: Band of Thieves received critical acclaim and was heavily praised for its significant improvements over the first game. It is generally considered the best game in the franchise.