Old Made New: The Sly Cooper Collection on PS Vita

A couple of years ago, development team Sanzaru Games made a name for itself by taking three of Sucker Punch's finer PlayStation 2 efforts, namely The Sly Collection, and compressing them into perfect form on the PlayStation 3. In fact, Sony was so impressed, it put the team in charge of an all-new adventure featuring the extraordinary thief and his friends, the underappreciated but wonderfully made Thieves In Time. Now, the team returns to the old stomping grounds once again, this time bringing the original Sly trilogy to the PS Vita. In this package, you get three unique adventures in one flail swoop. The original Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus introduces us to the unlikely hero, who sets out to recapture parts of his family heritage, which has been snagged by villains who broke into his house and killed his father. Along the way, he'll learn new maneuvers from the book, while at the same time receiving assistance from a likable duo. They include Bentley, a turtle with captivating technical know-how, and Murray, a hippopotamus who's a little clumsy but a great getaway driver. Though the original shows some age (especially compared to the other two games) it's still a terrific adventure from the PS2 era, and a reminder of just how far Sucker Punch has come since its old Rocket On Wheel days on the Nintendo 64. Of course, it's grown leaps and bounds since with Infamous: Second Son, but Thievius Raccoonus was no doubt a great stepping stone for the better things to come, and a great game to revisit in this compilation. After you get through the original game, which is optional if you want to get into the other ones, you can check out Sly 2: Band of Thieves and Sly 3: Honour Among Thieves, which opens up not only the Sly storyline as we know it, with new locales, but also playable characters, including those who used to be Sly's mortal enemies, but have since joined up under the unlikeliest of circumstances.

See those beams? Be careful around those or BZZZZT.

It's with these two sequels that the gameplay solidifies, and really shows you what all Sly and his gang is capable of. Sanzaru Games have managed to keep this completely intact for the PS Vita, without any super-fancy touch-screen items needed (aside from minor stuff, like waypoint marking, which is optional). It's just an old-fashioned set of platforming adventures that'll keep you busy, without the need to master any sort of rear touch-pad swipes or anything like that. What the game lacks in technical ingenuity, it makes up for in replay length. Each of the adventures will take quite a while to finish, especially if you're a completionist who lives to find every last clue and treasure. It's here that the package will give you your money's worth, right down to climbing up to that last bottle and getting everything wrapped up nice and neat. For the PS Vita transfer, Sanzaru Games pulled out all the stops to get the games up and running, and for the most part, they're quite satisfactory. Sucker Punch's environments still look great after all these years, and the voice acting is still excellent. There are times where the compression can look a little bit worn, with some of the movies playing at less-than-high-quality, and the voice acting slipping out of sync for just a moment. Aside from that, however, this is way better than the slipshod work we saw in the Jak and Daxter Collection earlier this year. Way better. If you're a fan of the Sly games (or you want to discover more about the devious but lovable cartoon after beating Thieves In Time), The Sly Collection is a must-own. It's value-priced, and even though you'll need some space to download the third game (it's not in the retail package for some reason, just has a code supplied), it's well worth it, especially when you start busting criminals and cleaning up the cash. Nothing beats a job well done. This impression is based on a PS Vita review code provided by the publisher. The Sly Collection is available now as a digital download through the PlayStation Store, as well as in retail form. The game is rated E10.