Few phrases create a more elegant image than "master thief," and few heroes are as elegant as Sly Cooper. Over the years, the raccoon cat burglar has used stealth, team strategy and ninja-like skills to pull off his capers, and in Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves, he's got more resources than ever to snatch treasures from canine mafiosi, dingo miners, and other cartoon lowlifes.
Ramping up the charm and the underhanded tricks, Sly 3 takes Sly and his accomplices on a globe-trotting, platform-hopping adventure. The action is Metal Gear-meets-Mario, with players sneaking past guards (or stealing from them, or knocking them out from behind, or just smacking them around), squeezing into hiding places and leaping onto rooftops, all while laying the groundwork for Sly's massive capers. Like Sly 2, the game is divided into hours-long, free-roaming "episodes" packed with missions that set up the episode-ending heists. Each mission requires the skills of a certain character; Sly's sneaking, jumping and climbing abilities are the mainstay, but sometimes you'll need to use Murray the big pink hippo -who's good at throwing things and hitting people -or Bentley, the wheelchair-bound turtle genius who excels at demolitions and computer hacking.
This time around, though, they're not your only options. Sly 3 is the story of the Cooper Gang's biggest job yet, infiltrating the lair of an evil genius who's set up shop around Sly's gigantic ancestral vault. A caper that big takes a big group of specialists, so in a nod to Ocean's 11, Sly 3 has players seeking out and recruiting a psychic guru who controls enemies with his mind, a heavy-weapons expertwith a vendetta againstSly, a scuba diver whofights sharks and recovers treasure in first-person sequences, and a mechanic with a fleet of remote-control vehicles. At certain points, you'll even get into gunfights as Sly's love interest/nemesis, Inspector Carmelita Fox. None of these newcomers are as versatile as the three main heroes, but riding around on hypnotized enemies or blowing up Chinese vampires with fireworks does make for nice changes of pace.