The Sly Cooper games for PlayStation 2 were incredible platforming game experiences in themselves, but here we have all three Sly Cooper games in one package remastered in beautiful high definition for the PlayStation 3. Move supported minigames and stereoscopic 3D support are icing on the cake for this must-have collection for all PS3 owners. Join us as we put the slip on the crooks.

Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus is where the story of Sly Cooper begins. Sly has had his birthright the Thievius Raccoonus, a book past down from Cooper generations that is full of thieving master skills, stolen by a gang known as the Fiendish Five. To take on this notorious gang Sly, a nimble and handsome raccoon, has his two best friends Bentley and Murray to aid in this heist to claim his birthright. Bentley is a turtle who is the brains of the operation and Murray, a pink hippo, is the brawn and both assist Sly throughout the games.

Moments after starting up any game on the disc, players will instantly notice that the cel-shaded graphics have made the jump to HD wonderfully. The character modelling and animations are still top notch today and the game environments are themed with multiple levels that all show the talents of the creators at Sucker Punch. Each world has a central hub world that acts as its own level in itself but also has the portals to the sub-levels to collect keys to advance further in the main world until unlocking the boss fight. The environments are abundant with life, with flowing rivers to moving platforms, and the graphics are full of charm that will please any fan of platforming games.

Stealth is a major part of the game as levels are filled with spotlights and enemies to sneak around. Enemies will remind gamers of the Crash Bandicoot series, with opponents following set movement patterns and requiring only one hit to kill. Enemy AI is on the weak side therefore, with enemies only rushing Sly when seen or alarms are tripped, otherwise following their routine patterns infinitely. Platforming is the highlight of the game with Sly climbing up poles, sneaking around ledges, climbing ropes, swinging on hooks and much more. Controls are all spot on and advanced thieving techniques can be found by collecting skill bottles scattered throughout the levels. Collecting all the bottles will reveal a code to unlock a vault in each level that includes a page of the fabled book, granting Sly further skills such as invisibility and invulnerability from deaths caused by water or falling, all of which can be very helpful as the game can get tough in the later stages. Boss fights are wonderful and all involve different gameplay types to defeat, from rhythmic button presses to flying a jetpack. Minigames are scattered throughout the game as well, adding even more variety from racing to dual analogue shooters.

There are few places that the graphics don't make the jump to HD as well. Cutscenes where the story is told through a comic book style have a flat low resolution look, and although it still looks good it’s not as high resolution as the in-game graphics. A few signs scattered throughout the worlds look a bit grainy too, but it’s never a distraction. The platforming style of this game may have aged but it still offers plenty of fun even by today’s standards.

Sly Cooper 2: Band of Thieves is the second instalment in this franchise. Sly, Bentley and Murray are back once again, and after defeating Clockwerk, the leader of the Fiendish Five, the Klaww Gang has taken parts of Clockwerk for themselves. These parts grant them unnatural powers and Sly and gang are out to steal the parts and put the threat of the Klaww Gang to an end.

Sly Cooper 2 graphically is even more impressive than its predecessor, and the cutscenes making the jump to HD this time around. Worlds boast more detail and life than the previous game adding a new level of charm to the series, and a more open world style is another improvement. The large worlds are once again themed based on its location and filled with enemy patrolled streets and multiple buildings for Sly to scurry across. Also new to the series is the ability to control Bentley and Murray: Bentley is very weak but uses tranquilliser darts and explosives to destroy objectives and enemies while Murray is still the brawn of the game. Enemy AI has been improved with guards patrolling large areas and capable of calling for backup when a threat is detected. The enemies are much tougher as well, with one hit takedowns only available from behind when undetected, otherwise requiring multiple hits to take down enemies.

Bentley sets waypoints throughout the worlds and moving to one with the appropriate character will start the mission. All the missions are preparation for the heist or final mission to steal the stolen Clockwerk part to destroy it and results in a boss fight. It’s a fantastic set up that moves the story along in a creative way without ever feeling too open world or sandbox styled, and missions are once again packed full of multiple game play styles and mini games in Sly Cooper style. When not in missions gamers are encouraged to explore the main worlds for skill bottle upgrades as well as making use of Sly's new pickpocketing skill. Successfully picking a pocket or two can acquire coins and rare items to sell on ThiefNet, an in-game service to purchase even more new upgrades. The new additions to Sly 2 are all great, adding many new elements to the series without ever straying from the series' roots. All the humour and great storytelling is still intact and the game continues to push gamers onward without ever getting bored. The difficulty has also been toned down somewhat, while still offering enough challenge to keep experienced gamers entertained throughout this fantastic game.

Sly 3: Honour Among Thieves is the latest and thought to be the final instalment in the series. Once again Sly, Bentley and Murray all return even though things have changed after the events of the previous game. We won't ruin the story, but we can say that the final battle in Sly 2 one of our beloved characters was terribly injured. Sly and friends are trying to break into a mysterious vault know as the Cooper Vault, filled with the masses of wealth passed down by the Cooper family, only to be thwarted by the mysterious Dr. M. From here the gang will travel all over the world in search of new friends to help along the way. Some of the characters even become playable in later parts of the game, the most notorious being foxy Inspector Carmelita Fox, not only Sly's series-long love interest, but as an Inspector is always on the tail of Sly to put him behind bars.

Gameplay in Sly 3 is much the same as its predecessor Sly 2: the open world returns once again with the only notable change the lack of skill bottles to find in the main hub worlds. Sly 3 graphically is the pinnacle of the series and the HD transition here is amazing: once again Sucker Punch managed to pack even more detail into the themed environments and all the character animations are again top notch. The environments have even more things to climb and scurry across and the amount of enemies onscreen has been increased once again.

It’s very apparent that the team loved the characters and series and went all out for Sly 3. Sucker Punch even threw in 3D graphics for the PlayStation 2 version which can now be viewed in stereoscopic 3D in this collection. Sly 3: Honour Among Thieves might very well be the conclusion to the series and the dramatic storyline that brings the game to an end. It is simply fantastic and not to be missed.

As if all three Sly Cooper games in HD on one disc aren’t enough, PlayStation Move minigames are also included in the collection. These are four standalone minigames that can be used with Move or with the standard DualShock 3 and also boast 3D support as well. The games range from grabbing falling items, light gun style shooters and a remote control helicopter race. All the games are fun and best experienced with a second player to up the challenge, as in single player they offer little to no challenge to any experienced gamers. The games are designed for Move use and control very well. DualShock controls work just fine, but the extreme accuracy and speed of the controls that Move offers prevail, especially in the light gun shooters.

The beautiful high definition cel-shaded graphics present the art style of the series perfectly, the musical scores always fit each world and the excellent dialogue and voice acting set the mood for the series perfectly. The humorous cast of characters push the storyline forward and will have gamers gripped throughout the complete story. Gamers can look for around 50 hours of play to complete the entire series with spirit bottles, speed runs and challenges adding even more replay value to the collection. Trophy fans will also be extremely pleased to know that the collection boasts 116 trophies including 3 Platinum trophies, all of which are easy to obtain. The Platinum trophy for Sly 3 hints at a possible sequel which has us all excited at the possibilities of a Sly Cooper game developed exclusively for the PlayStation 3.

Conclusion

The Sly Cooper Collection is a must-have title for any platforming fan such as Ratchet and Clank, Jak and Daxter or Super Mario Bros.. Sure to charm gamers new and old to the series, the difficulty throughout the series is balanced enough to be enjoyed by gamers of all ages as well. This is simply put, a series that is not to be missed. Sly Cooper is sure to sneak into gamers' hearts once again around the world.