PlayStation 2


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System: PS2 Players: 1 ESRB: E Publisher: Sony CEA Developer: Sucker Punch Studios It seems these days, with the growing attitude of "darker is better", the simple fun of games is slipping away. Don\'t get me wrong, I love first person shooters and M rated action games as much as anybody, but my gaming roots are in the Marios and Sonics of yore. With all the big video game companies investing their resources in the more profitable mature market, the quality of the more innocent games has taken a dive...for the most part. Thankfully, Sucker Punch\'s Sly Cooper series peranially proves that E rated games featuring cute, woodland characters can be just as fun and innovative, if not more so, as any game about running over prostitutes or sawing the heads of zombies without dumbing down the experience for children. Sly 2: Band of Thieves is the most fun I\'ve had with a platformer on the PS2 and, on a machine that Jak and Ratchet call home, that is saying a lot. Sly 2 continues the tale of the honorable raccoon thief Sly Cooper and his pals Bently the brainy turtle and the dim-witted hippo, Murray. The mechanical body parts of Sly\'s nemesis, Clockwerk, are being used by the Klaw Gang to fuel an evil plot that involves mass-hypnosis and mood-altering spices, and it is up to Sly and the gang to stop them. Saying anything more would ruin the silly story that, though utterly ridiculous, is well told and leads our heroes to a variety of interesting locations including the streets of Paris, the towers of Prague, a logging camp in Canada, and more.


Like the first Sly Cooper game, Band of Thieves mixes platforming with stealth. Unlike the previous iteration, however, the levels are not linear obstacle courses with the only goal being getting from point A to point B. Instead, the worlds in Sly 2 are designed to be large playgrounds in which the player is free to explore, sneak, and progress as he or she chooses. Throughout the environments are "jobs" that can be completed in whatever order the player likes. The series of jobs in each stage leads up to that level\'s "heist", which is always an over-the-top plot to steal a Clockwerk part from a Klaw Gang member in the style of a Hollywood robbery flick like The Italian Job. The mission objectives are so diverse that you will rarely be doing the same thing twice. Bently and Murray are now playable, and their unique styles bring even more variety to the game. Sly is always the most fun to control, however, because of how nimble he is. Sucker Punch has done a bang-up job of not only making the player feel like a thief, but a RACOON thief. Sly can climb, swing, or slide on almost anything, and it all controls like a dream. When Sly reaches the Prague levels (which are huge jungle gyms of pipes, wires, lamp posts, and spires) the brilliance of the level design sinks in. Despite all that, there are a few things that I wish were different about the game. For one, it is impossible to replay old missions without starting a new game. This hurts the replay value of the game because I would have liked to tackle old missions with newly acquired abilities like I could in the original Sly Cooper. Also, because of Sly\'s generous life bare and frequent checkpoints, some parts of the game were too easy for me. Some gamers might see this as a positive, but adjustable difficulty levels would have been great. Even so, this game is so fun that these flaws seem very small.


The graphics are cell shaded, so the game looks like an interactive cartoon. Sly 2 is the best looking game I\'ve seen using this technique on the PS2, but the Wind Waker for the Game Cube blows it out of the water. Sly 2 looks good, but it didn\'t knock my socks off. Special credit has to be given to the animators, however. Sly\'s ever-twitching tail is almost mesmerizing. The art direction is also inspired, with fantastic use of color, lighting, and level design. Few games accomplish this level of raw style.


This is a bold statement, but Sly 2 might just have the best voice acting of any game. Bently sounds exactly like what a nerdy, asthmatic turtle should sound like, and all of the game\'s villains pull off their unique accents and personalities quite nicely. It helps that the dialogue is as good as it is. I\'m not saying that this is Oscar winning material, but some of the one liners ("I will bend it like the truth!") tickled my funny bone like no other. It should also be noted that the humor is achieved through wit and delivery and not low-brow crudeness. Anyway, back to the topic of sound. The score is pretty good too. The main themes evoke the old spy movies, and the in-game music ranges from nice-but-forgettable to stirring and epic. It all balances out to an auditory experience that is far above average but not in the same league as God of War or Final Fantasy X.
When it comes to sound effects, I couldn\'t ask for better. The bass notes that mark each footstep when Sly tiptoes across a ledge or around an oblivious enemy made all the difference in making me feel like I was being sneaky. All the splashes and smashes sound fine too. With these effects, the great voice acting, and the almost-great score, Sly 2 is very pleasing to the ear.


Cartoon-type silly violence (-2) No Gore (-0) Sly whacks enemies with his cane and they hit the ground while a big, comic book style "WHAM!" word appears. Murray punches someone and he is knocked out with little birds flying around his head. Enemies disappear after they are defeated and it isn\'t clear whether they are killed or just beaten up, but it seems innocent enough and its no more violent than Crash Bandicoot. Boss enemies are always captured by the police rather than killed, so the game is rather child-friendly. Foul Language: No foul language (-0) Sexual jokes are made once or twice (-2) You wont hear any words that you wouldn\'t hear on a Saturday morning cartoon. I caught one brief, mild joke. A character tells Sly that a (female) police officer would fall out of her dress if she knew he were there, and he says that doesn\'t sound so bad. Nudity/Sexual Content: No nudity (-0) No sexual content (-0) Even if these characters were completely naked, it would be fine because they are fury animals for goodness sake! The fact that they are wearing clothes at all is the disturbing thing. There is no sexual content which is a very good thing, because no two characters in the game are of the same species. Occult/Supernatural For the most part there is nothing supernatural in the game unless you count talking animals as supernatural. There is one mission in which Sly must capture ghosts by taking pictures of them with his camera, and there is also a mission in which Bently sneaks into tombs and gathers "bad mojo" energy to make a bomb powerful enough to destroy a villain?s hypnosis device. Both of these missions combined take up 20 minutes of a 15 hour game, so it wouldn\'t be fair to take away the same amount of points as is required for when a "Game takes place in an environment with minor occult references." So I\'ll just create a new category: Game contains one or two references to the supernatural (-1 pts) Cultural/Moral/Ethical Game requires rejecting authority figures or laws (-2) Good value decision making is required to progress in the game. (-0 pts) Sly and his pals are technically criminals, but they have a code of ethics that is honorable. They only steal from criminals, and they always do good. I think of them as kind of like Robin Hood in this way. At one point, Sly is offered a large amount of cash by a villains to look the other way from his criminal activities. Sly rejects, and that made it pretty clear to me that he is motivated not by greed, but by making the world a better place. Anything he swipes off the bad guys is just a bonus. None-the-less, Sly and the gang live outside of the law and are always on the run from the police. No Prejudicial bias in the game (-0) The game does a good job of having a culturally diverse cast of heroes and villains without resorting to stereotypes. No gross humor in the game (-0)

Final Scores

Gameplay: 18/20 Graphics: 8/10 Sound: 9/10 Control: 5/5 Stability: 5/5 Overall: 45/50 Violence: 8/10 Language: 8/10 Sexual Content: 10/10 Occult/Supernatural: 9/10 Cultural/moral/ethical: 8/10 Overall: 43/50 <

Total: 88/100

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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