We’ve seen many games get the remastered treatment over the last few years. What people may not remember is which game set this trend in motion: the Sly Cooper Collection on the PlayStation 3. This game set a high standard for how remastered games should be handled and it still holds that distinction today. Fitting then that its counterpart on the PlayStation Vita is itself a perfect example of how remastered games should be done on handhelds.
The main concern I always have when playing ported games on a handheld are the controls. Concessions have to be made during the transfer but I didn’t notice any of that with this game. As soon as I started it up everything felt right and I didn’t even notice that I was playing on a handheld. The Vita’s touch features were seamless integrated (tapping the front screen brings up the binocucom for example) and were intuitive. The controls are spot on and some of the best handheld controls out there, easily.
Graphically speaking the game is a bit of a mixed bag. I would say it’s about 80% solid and 20% wobbly. That last part comes from heavily jagged cutscenes (the comic book ones) and some slow down during the actual gameplay. These weren’t a hindrance but they were noticeable given the fact that this game ran perfectly on the PlayStation 3. Aside from that, the game looks beautiful on the PS Vita’s screen. The stylized look of it helps to make the graphics have a way of really standing out. Some things like blocky polygons are signs that this was made a few generations ago but in a way they also help give the game a certain charm.
As for the games contained in this collection — Sly Cooper and the Thievius Racoonus, Sly 2: Band of Thieves and Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves — what can I say? These three were some of the best titles on the PlayStation 2. No surprise then that they withstood the test of time. The games are still a joy to play. Sucker Punch created something special with these titles and Sansaru Games did a masterful job of re-creating the feel and look of them.
When I originally played the Sly Cooper series, I remember immediately falling in love with the first but it did take me some time to warm up to the sequel. I didn’t like the fact that I had to play as Bentley and Murray. I just wanted to play as Sly the entire time like I did in the original. Halfway through, it finally clicked with me and I loved the more expanded gameplay that playing as three characters offered. By the time that I played the third title, which easily packs the most varied gameplay of the series, I was fully on board with the ideas of playing as multiple characters.
One thing that I really enjoy about the series is its emphasis on the characters. The Sly gang itself would be enough but all of the various villains and allies help fill these games with rich personalities. The writing may be a bit corny at times but it’s done so well that even the silliest lines brought a smile to my face. I also liked the sense of continuity within this trilogy. It’s nothing heavy but you definitely feel like you go on a journey with these characters through all three titles.
Not only is this a great remastered collection but it’s also one of the best collections for the PS Vita. Sansaru Games nailed it when they remastered these games on the PS3 and have done so again. While not as tight as the PS3 version, this is still a top notch port that is a great example of how remastered games should be on handhelds.