Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves – PS2 – Review

There’s been
a constant debate over which game is better: Jak, Ratchet or Sly. My inner
voices can’t make up their mind, and since I make my decisions based on their
consensus, I can’t make up my mind either. One thing I can be sure of is that
I just got done playing Sly 3 and it is the first
drop-what-you’re-doing-and-buy-it-now action game of the season.

Sly 3 begins
as any Sly game should: with clever scenes, inspired camera angles and
high-quality dialogue between the lead characters. I won’t reveal anything
about the story, but I will say that if you’ve played the first or second Sly
then you should have a good idea of what to expect. Lots of Metal Gear Solid-esque
stuff, but in a comedic, semi-silly way. You’ll be laughing your butt off at
times. And although it seems to be completely unnecessary, you may listen to
feedback from your comrades via Logitech’s USB headset. Their feedback will
play through the speakers if you wish, but listening to it through a headset
does make it somewhat cooler.

Sly 3’s
controls are perfection. Seamless, silky smooth, perfectly responsive – yeah,
you’ve heard comments like that before. But there’s no way of praising this
aspect enough. Sly will hop across rooftops, walk on wires, squeeze around
ledges, sneak past or attack enemies, and perform several other tasks more
naturally than any gamer could have imagined. It almost feels like you’re not
even pressing the buttons to make these things happen. Zero struggle, and the
learning curve – what learning curve? Getting the hang of Sly’s tricks and
nuances couldn’t have been more fun. I compare it to the experience of
learning the ropes of Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil, and Mario 64.


The levels
are Sly’s best yet. Visuals change frequently – rarely will you have to look
at something for too long. I went from rooftops to the exploring the town and
then to an underground area in under 30 seconds. There were times when, had I
been the developer, I might’ve chosen to stretch them out a little, but that
would have been a mistake. Their choice to shorten them and keep the game
moving couldn’t have been smarter. Sly 3 is closer to playing like a spy film
than its predecessors.

like myself will look over every tiny detail and conclude: this game rules!
The rest of you will just enjoy the architecture and not even think about all
the work the developers put into it. You won’t think about how amazing the cel-shaded
graphics are, how the interiors have been designed, or how the game takes you
from one place to the next without any lame stops along the way. As one
brilliant artist once said: good art is art that you don’t necessarily realize
is there. It blends into the background so well that it all seems like one

There are
side tasks, extra collectibles and the like, but if you want to run through
this game and experience the action and excitement you can. If you’d prefer to
take your time and look under every nook and cranny, you can do that too and
still experience the action.

Sly’s good
buddies, Bentley and Murray, are both playable at certain times in the game.
Stellar controls for both these guys, and great gameplay mechanics too. I love
Murray’s strength – his ability to throw a fit while throwing objects.
Bentley’s quick movement makes you want to spin around in circles for a bit,
though I’m not sure the boss waiting to battle would be too happy about that.


One of the
competitive two-player games puts Sly in a situation where he must be
exceptionally … sly. He’s on the run and Carmelita wants to catch him. She’s
a fast one, but Sly is always a step ahead of his adversaries. He might not be
in this scenario when two players are in control of their characters’ fate.

There are
other multiplayer modes, but some of them are mini-games that have little
relation to the rest of the game. The single-player mini-games, however, are
very good. The Crash Bandicoot-style biplane is cool, and the way that the
battles and missions are broken up makes some of them seem like mini-games.

Sly 3’s
sound is another striking, memorable feature that has enveloped players since
the first adventure. The quiet, slowly increasing dun-dun-dun sound is
priceless. Sly’s upbeat soundtrack is varied and has hints of other games and
movies, strengthening the connection between the game and the player. Whether
you like the sound of a particular character or not, you can’t deny how good
the voice-overs are. Sly’s the star and his are the best, but I was impressed
by Bentley’s purposely annoying tone. He sounds scared all the time, and he’s
supposed to.


Must-buy. Must-buy. Sly 3 is the only action/platformer stealth game on the
market besides its predecessors. That automatically makes it the best in that
category. The action/platformer category – that’s a different story. In the
end it was clear that Sly 3 has dethroned Jak 3 as reigning champ. Ratchet:
Deadlocked is still on its way, and you can bet your ratchet (and your clank!)
that Sly 3 will be up to the challenge. Loads of fun, tons of clever sequences
and original gameplay moments, an amazing soundtrack, stellar graphics,
spectacular use of sound – if the Academy Awards had a category for Best
Content in a Video Game, Sly 3 would be the one to beat.

Scoring Details

for Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves

Gameplay: 9.3
It doesn’t get
much better than this. Sly 3 is Sly in his prime. Think of all the good stuff
from the last two games, put ’em together and add more and you get Sly 3. The
flawless controls (really and truly – if we rated controls separately this
game would receive something rarely seen on GameZone: a perfect 10) are one
integral piece to the giant puzzle the developers created. No aspect was too
small, no feature was overlooked. These guys went out of their way to make a
game that was enjoyable in every conceivable way.

Graphics: 9.0
beauty that makes other PS2 games look like Dreamcast games. Impeccable
animation, articulate backgrounds, a camera that doesn’t stick – is this
unbelievable or what?

Sound: 9.5
compositions topped off with great sound effects and terrific voice acting.

Difficulty: Medium
An appropriate
challenge that’s balanced for all gamers. The boss battles are no more
difficult than the boss battles in other action/platformer or action/adventure
games. Individual enemies – now they can be royal pain.

Concept: 8.0
Sly refined, Sly
upgraded, Sly that plays with the same high-quality goodness as the first. The
3D glasses are a neat idea, but the technology is decades old (red and
blue/green plastic lenses) and doesn’t add much to the experience.

Multiplayer: 8.0
The true
multiplayer stuff (Sly Vs. Carmelita, for example) is awesome, but the
mini-games leave a lot to be desired.

Overall: 9.3
Spy perfection?
Pretty darn close. Sly 3 pushes the series forward by turning it into more of
an action game. They didn’t take away any elements or lose any of its
originality in the process. All it did was make it better. I know they don’t
have much time to pre-plan these games, but clearly they knew exactly where to
take the series. Now take yourself out of the house and down to your favorite
game shop to buy one of the best games you’ll play in 2005.