Sly 2: Band of Thieves
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|Sly 2: Band of Thieves|
North American PlayStation 2 box art
|Developer(s)||Sucker Punch Productions|
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Engine||Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus|
PlayStation 3 (HD)
PlayStation Vita (HD)
|Genre(s)||Platform, stealth, action-adventure|
Sly 2: Band of Thieves is a platform stealth video game developed by Sucker Punch and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. It was released in 2004 for the PlayStation 2. This title is a sequel to the game Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus and part of the Sly Cooper video game series. The game received critical acclaim and is often considered to be one of the greatest PlayStation 2 games of all time.
The sequel has a variety of changes, particularly in level design. The ultimate goal is to acquire Clockwerk parts, one or more of which can be found per "world". Sly 2 features a health meter for characters such as Sly, Bentley and Murray, replacing the "charm system" of the first game. It also takes several attacks to defeat guards. Other changes include missions where the player controls Bentley or Murray, who have their own unique skills and are able to do much more than in the previous game. However, Sly remains the main character despite these changes to character roles. Skills can be unlocked by opening safes in each world, as the previous game allowed (collecting clue bottles), but skills may also be acquired by collecting coins and purchasing them from safehouses via Thiefnet.
Band of Thieves brings several new gameplay elements into the fold. In addition to Sly, the player can play as Bentley and Murray. Bentley follows a more cloak and dagger approach to stealth. He can't climb poles or jump very far, but he is equipped with a sleep-dart crossbow and countdown bombs to defeat enemies or sabotage enemy equipment. Bentley can use his computer skills to hack villains' computers, bringing the player to a top-down shooter-like mini-game. Murray is much more direct. His brute strength allows him to take on groups of strong enemies by himself with powerful hooks and upper cuts. He can pick up objects and enemies to throw and his "thunder flop" attack can stun and destroy enemies. His strength allows him to help the gang with heavy-duty tasks.
Each character now has a health bar and a special bar. Health is diminished every time the character is attacked or hits a hazard. If it is depleted entirely, the player must restart any current mission and respawn at another location. The orange special bar depletes whenever a character uses some gadget moves. If the special bar hits zero, gadget moves can not be used. Some gadgets are required in order to complete certain missions. Both bars (health and special) can be refilled by finding red "health" icons.
Missions are now connected to a main hub of the location Sly and the Gang are operating. A safehouse located in the hub is where the player can choose which character to use and get away from pursuing guards. The hub can range from a city to a lumber camp in the wilderness. Enemies patrol around this area, although it's usually a secluded spot. Characters can explore the hub world freely or begin a mission at certain locations.
Another new feature is pickpocketing. When Sly sneaks up behind an enemy, he can reach out with his cane and grab coins out of the enemy's pocket. The coins come in clusters. If there is an aura around an enemy's pocket, it is carrying a valuable item (e.g. ruby, diamond, gold watch). Once Sly gets all of their coins, he can grab the enemy's item and sell it later back at the safehouse.
Most powerups and extra moves are now bought from the safehouse instead of found in safes. Using collected coins, Sly can buy powerups for each character from an in-game online store, Thiefnet. Sly's powerups focus on stealth, Murray's powerups on brawn, and Bentley's powerups on technology. Most powerups need to be assigned to a button, but some provide automatic bonuses. Items stolen from guards can be sold for coins in the safehouse to help fund upgrades. Characters can unlock special upgrades by opening safes. To open a safe, the characters must determine the code to unlock it by collecting clues hidden in the hub world. Certain very valuable items can be found in the world and can be stolen and then sold at the safehouse for a large amount of money; these valuables range from portraits to vases.
The game also makes use of the PlayStation 2's optional USB microphone allowing the player to use the sound of their voice to distract and attract in-game enemies. This in turn adds a new twist to the stealth elements, as the player has to refrain from noises such as talking or coughing to avoid creating in-game noise.
Two years after defeating Clockwerk, Sly Cooper breaks into the Museum of Natural History in Cairo to steal the Clockwerk parts and destroy them to end his threat against Sly's family for good, but discovers that the parts are already missing. Inspector Carmelita Montoya Fox and her new partner, Constable Neyla, confront Sly, but he escapes before Carmelita and Neyla can arrest him. Before making his escape, Sly hears Neyla suggest that the evidence actually suggests that the Klaww Gang stole the parts for their own use.
The Cooper Gang heads to Paris, where the first Klaww Gang member Dimitri is using Clockwerk tail feathers as printing plates to create counterfeit money. Sly and the gang shut the operation down and Dimitri is arrested by Interpol. The gang then heads to India, where the second Klaww Gang member Rajan puts Clockwerk's wings on display at a ball he is hosting. Rajan is also the kingpin of a local crime syndicate that grows and sells "spice", an illegal plant indigenous to the Indian jungle. Also present at the ball are the other Klaww Gang members and several undercover Interpol agents, including Carmelita and Neyla. The gang steals the Clockwerk wings in the middle of the ball room while a disguised Sly creates a distraction by dancing with Carmelita. After the Cooper gang escapes with the Clockwerk wings, Carmelita blows her cover and starts making arrests. The Klaww Gang flees the scene, and Rajan goes into hiding somewhere deep in the jungle. The gang tracks him to his spice-growing facility in a long-abandoned temple, where he is using half of Clockwerk heart to super-irrigate his spice crops. He carries the other half of the heart on the end of a staff that he carries with him at all times. The gang steals both halves of the heart and incapacitates Rajan, but Carmelita, Neyla and the Contessa arrive. Neyla frames Carmelita of working with the Cooper Gang on the night the Clockwerk wings were stolen. She betrays the Cooper Gang and puts Sly, Murray, and Carmelita under arrest.
Bentley tracks his teammates down in Prague, where they are being held in the Contessa's prison. He learns that she is a secret member of the Klaww Gang, using her position as a high-ranking prison warden to hypnotize inmates to tell her where they've hidden their stolen fortunes. He frees Sly and Murray, but the Contessa escapes to her castle estate. Locating her there, the gang arrives to find the Contessa besieged by Neyla and a team of mercenaries, who have come to arrest her for corruption. Sly also discovers that the Contessa is keeping Carmelita imprisoned in her castle's "re-education tower". There, the Contessa is using Clockwerk eyes to hypnotize Carmelita to become her mindless servant. The gang frees Carmelita and steals the Clockwerk eyes, while Neyla is promoted to the rank of Captain and arrests the Contessa for what she did.
The gang heads to Canada, where shipping baron Jean Bison is moving spice using Clockwerk's lungs and stomach to allow his trains to run indefinitely. While in Bison's hideout, Sly overhears a phone conversation between him and Arpeggio, the Klaww Gang's chief inventor and the only other Klaww gang member not in police custody. Arpeggio inquires as to whether the "northern light silo battery" will be ready when he comes to pick it up; Jean Bison says that it will. After the Cooper Gang sabotages Jean Bison's trains and makes off with the three Clockwerk parts, he flees to a lumber camp, where he puts Clockwerk's talons up as a prize in the Lumberjack Games. The Cooper Gang discovers the northern light battery at the camp and modifies it so that they can stow away inside it when Arpeggio arrives to pick it up. The gang also attempts to win the Clockwerk talons at the Lumberjack Games, but are caught cheating and captured. Bentley escapes the saw mill control room where the gang is being held and confronts Jean Bison. Before Bentley defeats him, Bison tells the gang that he found their hideout on the outskirts of his lumber camp and sold all of the Clockwerk parts they had stolen up to that point, including the talons to Arpeggio, who now possesses all of Clockwerk. After defeating Jean Bison, the Cooper Gang escapes his saw mill and stows away inside the northern light silo battery before Arpeggio's blimp picks it up.
On Arpeggio's blimp, Sly discovers that Arpeggio has reconstructed Clockwerk and discovers that Neyla has been Arpeggio's agent the whole time, attempting to steal the Clockwerk parts to aid his attempt to join his frail body with Clockwerk and be made immortal. The two reveal their plan: to use the Northern Light battery to power a hypnotic light show over Paris. Using the hatred generated by the hypnotized Parisians who have eaten food covered in illegal spice, Arpeggio hopes to power Clockwerk, which had previously sustained itself on Clockwerk's hatred for Sly's family. Neyla betrays and kills Arpeggio, enters Clockwerk, and becomes Clock-La. The gang disables the blimp's engines to weaken Clock-La, and Sly teams up with Carmelita to shoot the bird down. Unfortunately, Clock-La flies into the blimp, taking Bentley and Murray hostage who were in the battery that served as a safehouse and causing the blimp to explode.
Clock-La crash lands in Paris, where Bentley removes Clockwerk's hate chip, the source of Clockwerk's immortality power. Unfortunately, the beak snaps shut on Bentley's legs, seriously injuring him. Carmelita, angry that she missed Constable Neyla, smashes the hate chip, which causes Clockwerk to disintegrate and ends his curse on the Cooper family forever. She attempts to arrest the gang, but instead agrees to a deal: Sly surrenders himself without resisting, so that Carmelita let Bentley and Murray escape. Sly, now arrested, and Carmelita board a helicopter to the Paris police station, but Bentley and Murray dispatch the driver and sabotage the helicopter so it flies in circles. When Carmelita goes forward to ask the pilot why the journey is taking so long, Sly picks the lock on his handcuffs, jumps out of the helicopter, and paraglides to safety. Carmelita tells Sly that she'll be seeing him soon.
The game received critical acclaim from numerous publications. Its varied gameplay, intricate story, and unique graphics were praised, but was criticized for its lack of difficulty and length when compared to other platformers. GameRankings gave it a score of 87.92%, while Metacritic gave it 88 out of 100.
It was awarded IGN's editor's choice award and GameSpy placed the game as #23 on their list of best PlayStation 2 games of all time. Steven Petite of Digital Trends named Sly 2 one of the best PlayStation 2 titles, praising the game for its “laughs, charm, and excellent stealth mechanics.” Twinfinite included Sly 2 on a list of the 100 best PlayStation 2 games, applauding the additional playable characters for keeping the gameplay fresh.
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