Developer: Sucker Punch
Release Date: 9/14/2004
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Sly, Bentley, and Murray return in an attempt to obtain the stolen Clockwerk parts from the Klaww Gang. After defeating Clockwerk in the first game they were obtained illegally and the gang must get them back to destroy them. Along the way, Carmelita Fox is still trying to capture them while a few new faces show up. The game is the same at the core, but everything around that has completely changed. This really feels like a whole new game.
For starters, you will notice there are no individual levels anymore. The game is more sandbox with various missions you can take on when you want. You can play as all three characters this time around, and each one has its own specific missions. Each character feels different, Murray is a huge lumbering hippo who can’t use stealth and instead whacks away enemies in just a couple of hits. Bentley is equipped with a sleeping dart crossbow and has various gadgets he can use to get around. In fact, they all have gadgets and abilities you can purchase with those coins that were useless in the first game. 100 no longer gives you life because that whole system is gone. Instead, you now have a life bar and when you die you restart at the last checkpoint. This game plays a whole lot easier and relieves a lot of the frustrations from the first game.
Additionally, the interior areas of the game are mission-specific so you won’t be going back. I honestly preferred the individual levels because navigating these hub worlds can be a pain. Getting to certain places requires climbing around certain areas to get to. Some areas are a real pain and you have to figure out how to get there. Just to get to the main mission, this is pretty lame. I don’t want to spend 5 minutes climbing around a confusing level just to start a mission. It doesn’t help that enemies respawn all the time when you kill them and they are everywhere. It gets really frustrating when you just want to get on a mission and you have to keep killing the same enemies all the time. Thankfully some abilities like a smokescreen, shock cane, and the paraglider help Sly get around easier, but the other two have to find their way completely via the ground which means long roundabout ways to get to a mission marker.
When you start a mission you will notice they are varied and pretty fun. Bentley has a new hacking mini-game that is a dual-stick shooter, Murray punches things a lot, and Sly has a new pickpocketing ability which he can use to get coins and loot from guards to sell for abilities and to get those keys. A lot of the gauntlet-style levels are really fun and require quick reflexes. There are 8 episodes and the game is just as tough as the last one. Boss fights now have meters and don’t go down in a few hits anymore. You have to slowly chip away at their health to beat them and it requires patience. Overall, the game feels mostly the same with missions just varying from hacking mini-games, beat this or that up, or pickpocketing X amount of keys. It starts to feel old towards the end, plus the navigation of hub worlds will just drive you nuts after a while.
There are still clue bottles and vaults to be found, but they just have extra abilities in them and really aren’t worth searching for. The clue bottles will take over an hour to find on each level because the hubs are so difficult to navigate. There are 30 in each hub, but good luck finding them all without throwing the controller. Besides this, there are no extras in the game like the last one which is disappointing. Despite all this, I think the large open-hubs are what hurt the game the most because of how annoying they are to navigate. The mission variety is really nice, but by the end, they just repeat themselves.
The graphics are upgraded greatly with better physics, better-looking textures, and higher resolution models. The controls are a little tighter and the camera was fixed a little, but it can still get stuck or lost sometimes. Overall, Sly 2 is an excellent game but just feels too similar to the last game. With the whole sandbox idea, I feel they are hard to navigate and get in the way of getting around to different missions.