My overall reaction to Sly Cooper was almost the same as James, the difference being that I enjoyed the game just a bit more than he did. Sly Cooper certainly isn't the most original or innovative platformer to come along in recent memory, but it's one of the few titles that really stand out in my mind. In keeping with the 'thieving' theme, the developers at Sucker Punch went about 'stealing' all sorts of good ideas from Metal Gear Solid and infused them into one of the most charming new platformers to come out this year.
The Metal Gear Solid influences can be found all over the game, and James does a good job of pointing them out. I do want to add, though, that Sly Cooper doesn't just copy moves from Solid Snake. The developers seemed to realize that by making a platformer, they were able to do some interesting things that weren't done in Metal Gear Solid. The biggest advantage that Sucker Punch had over Kojima was the jump button.
Thanks to the jump mechanic, certain elements of 'tactical espionage' were expanded on, making Sly Cooper a unique personality rather than just an imitation. One of the things that impressed me was how well jumping worked with laser security systems. In Metal Gear Solid, lasers were something that Snake crawled under or disabled (by wrecking hardware somewhere in the area). Sly, in contrast, is able to jump around the lasers. The result is more elaborate and imaginative laser security systems than what was seen in Kojima's game. In fact, one of my most memorable moments in Sly Cooper was trying to navigate my way down a shaft filled with lasers bouncing every which way.
A point of disagreement I have with James is his assessment that being short and 'hardly challenging' hurt the game. While Sly Cooper is short and it is easy, those qualities did surprisingly little to spoil my experience. Rather, the relative ease had the pleasant side effect of allowing me to enjoy the immensely creative levels. Instead of being on guard for enemies or bemoaning a difficult jump sequence, I moved through the richly detailed worlds at a leisurely pace, able to observe and appreciate many of the details which I might have missed otherwise. It was also quite nice not to have to masochistically replay difficult areas over and over again. With regards to the shortness of the game, I don't necessarily equate value with the length of time it takes to finish a game. For the time I spent playing Sly Cooper, I was well entertained. However, I suspect that I also have a better tolerance for this sort of thing than other people do. Eight to ten hours of playtime for forty dollars seems reasonable to me as long the game is fairly entertaining, but I can understand if other people don't feel the same way.
The one complaint I have about Sly Cooper that James didn't mention is with the skills that are acquired as Sly recovers each page of the Thievius Raccoonus. There are a few really cool techniques that I would definitely use if given the opportunity. Unfortunately, the game doesn't supply those opportunities, making many of the skills close to being useless.
Although Sly Cooper is partly a parody of Metal Gear Solid, it does have enough unique gameplay elements to stand on its own. And even if Sucker Punch does decide to stick with the Metal Gear Solid parody, they would still have plenty of source material thanks to the release of Sons Of Liberty. However, I do hope that Sly Cooper gets recognized as more than just a parody, with the merit to become its own credible franchise. I'd really like to see a few sequels to this game.
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