I’ve had the game in my possession for a while now, but only started to play it yesterday; and I just finished playing it. I decided to hold off my ranty blog post until I had completely finished the game so I could be as thorough as possible.
HISTORY This is the fourth entry in the “Sly Cooper” Series. The first three games followed up on each other fairly quickly- but this entry took 8 Years to come out.
The demise of “Sucker Punch Productions”, who developed the first three games is probably the cause. The Sly Cooper trademark was sold, and the fourth game in the series was made by “Sanzaru Games Inc.”
THE STORY First, the story that spanned the first three games, explained in short. In Sly 1 you went after a gang, The Fiendish Five, that attacked your father and took away the Thievius Raccoonus, the book of the Cooper Thief Clan with all their history, techniques and secrets. Their leader, Clockwerk, has been hunting the Coopers for ages and ages, he has become immortal because of his hatred towards the Coopers. Sly ultimately defeats him in the end. In Sly 2, Sly and the gang wanted to steal the Clockwerk parts out of a museum to make sure they were gone forever; but they were already stolen, by the Klaww-gang. They followed the members of the Klaww-gang and recovered the Clockwerk parts one by one, only to have them stolen again by the leader of the Klaww-gang, Arpeggio. They sneak on board of his blimp, and find out the Interpol officer Neyla was working for him too. They managed to reassemble Clockwerk’s parts, but Neyla double-crosses Arpeggio and fuses with Clockwerk to become Clock-La. Sly defeats Clock-La by destroying the hate-chip. Clockwerk’s parts dissolve into nothing. Bentley got severely injured during that battle, putting him into a wheelchair permanently. In Sly 3, They find out Dr. M has bought up the island the Cooper Family Vault resides on, and has built a fortress to protect it- as he tries to open the vault. Bentley suggest recruiting more members for their gang who are masters in their field to face Dr. M. First, they try to get Murray to come back, who blamed himself for Bentley’s injuries and left the gang to go meditating in the Australian Outback. They also recruit Murray’s Guru, who helped him, and has the ability to control guards if he can jump on their backs. Bentley meets someone online who is a remote control expert, named Penelope; she wants to join them but is afraid her boss, the Black Baron. After fighting the Black Baron it is revealed that it was actually Penelope in disguise. She disguised herself as the Black Baron so she could participate in the tournaments. They go to China and recruit the Panda King, an original member of the Fiendish Five, who killed Sly’s father and stole their book. Finally, Dimitri, who was a member of the Klaww-gang. He used the Clockwerk tail feathers as money printing plates. They all work together to infiltrate Dr. M’s fortress; even Inspector Carmelita Fox; who has been chasing Sly for many years, decides to help him out and stop Dr. M. It is revealed Dr. M was Sly’s father’s sidekick- just like Bentley is for Sly. He was resentful of being part of the “Cooper”-gang; never getting any glory. He is ultimately defeated by Sly, Sly pretends to have amnesia when Carmelita finds him, and she takes him back home and lives together with him.
Now; 8 years of ‘development time’ later, Sly 4 is released, and I shall describe the story of the game as best as I can. In Sly 4; Bentley notices the Thievius Raccoonus being emptied of it’s writing, and Penelope, who was now Bentley’s girlfriend, mysteriously disappears. He alerts Sly and Murray. Bentley made a Time Machine they use to go back in time to investigate what happens; The evil gang, which doesn’t have a specific name, has it’s members planted in past periods and they have screwed things up for Sly’s ancestors. They steal their Canes, and threw them in jail; it’s up to Sly and the gang to save his ancestors, but he barely misses their canes each time.
At one point, they go to Medieval England- where a villain by the name of the Black Knight (you can already see where this is going) rules now- and Sir Galleth Cooper was reduced to a jester. Bentley discovers the Black Knight was Penelope in disguise; she monologues conveniently where he can hear her, and reveals she stole Bentley’s plans of the time machine, joined up with the evil gang because she was sick of Bentley being involved with Sly’s gang and not in the billion-dollar illegal arms dealer business for some reason.
After a showdown between Bently and Penelope, both in mechs, Bentley is victorious, and Penelope was locked away. (the criminals are transported back to the present day, and locked up there) Sly manages to miss out on saving two more of his ancestor’s canes and after some double-crossing by the evil group’s leader who’s name is “Le Paradox” (omfg really?) it is revealed he was travelling through time to set up a fake royal history for himself, to uncover it in the present day so he can rule supremely over everything. It was also revealed near the end that Le Paradox is also part of a thief clan- but his father was locked up in jail after Sly’s father stole a valuable gem seconds before he could rob it and frame the coopers. Le Paradox is ultimately defeated by Sly and locked away. Sly was never found after the blimp crashed into the Paris river. In the credits sequence, it is revealed Penelope was locked away in a European High Security prison, but she escaped quick. Bentley had been receiving weird postcards with her insignia all over.
GAMEPLAY I’m just going to discuss tha gameplay in Sly 4, since this is a review of that game; the History lesson was just to compare the stories to the previous ones. Okay, so. The main gimmick is stealth-based missions in a world hub, you can pickpocket guards to earn cash, find collectibles, progress the story through missions etc. You can buy upgrades for the characters on ThiefNet with the coins you collect from the guards. Sly 4’s engine resembles the ones used in Sly 2 and 3 closely, but there are a few differences you notice if you have played those two previous games. I’ve found the characters sometimes get stuck on ledges, the jumping arc is a fixed angle and distance no matter when you release the joystick, jumping to other platforms is finicky , the sparkly blue lines for the Thieving Opportunities don’t always lock you in place, making you fall to your death, etc. I’ve encountered a number of glitched duing the game; I wasn’t even looking for them. One required me to restart the PS3 because it was literally stuck after I died and had to respawn. Those were kind of minor complaints- but they do irritate me when I’m playing.
MY PERSONAL ISSUES WITH THE GAME My biggest issue with the game is Penelope’s story arc. (left: Penelopy in Sly 4. right: Penelope in Sly 3.)
Most characters got a slight redesign for the new HD game; but Penelopy got a complete make-over. but not only her appearance was changed for the worse, her character and personalty were completely changed, effectively making her a completely new character. In Sly 3, her debut game, it was explained very well that RC was her passion, she mastered it, she was a nerd. She even disguised ehrself to enter a competition, that’s how passionate she was about her hobby. You could immediately see she wasn’t a throw-away character, or even a minor character; you even fight a Boss as her- not Sly, not Murray, not Bently, as Penelope, on top of a Ship’s mast, against a pirate, in a dress. She was a really cool character; she easily became my favourite non-main character of the entire series. She and Bentley became a couple of some sort, they fixed the cooper vault up for Sly and lived together. In Sly 4, she is portrayed as a bitchy, greedy and jealous woman who only wants billions of dollars by making and selling weapons of mass destruction. She hates Bentley for not pursuing that 'dream’ and staying close to Sly and the gang; resulting in her theft of his plans and treason.
Now, I don’t care if you like her or not; but those two don’t sound like the same character to me, like, at all. That’s not Penelope, that’s someone else. I wouldn’t have minded this arc if it was reveiled she was being brainwashed into doing those things by a member of the evil gang. (there is a member sho specialises in music-based hypnosis.) But no, now she’s a villain,… hooray?
Sorry, but I just can’t stand this. When I found out about this as i was playing the game I was extremely angry; I wanted to post this review up then and there but decided to wait until I finished the game.
This is unacceptable; you can’t just completely flip a character’s personality around and say “now she’s evil, deal with it” that’s not good story writing, that’s just plain bad.
CONCLUSION: If you enjoyed the Sly Cooper Franchise and it’s story, and haven’t played Sly 4 yet; don’t. Just stay away from the game, don’t spoil a great story and great characters because of the lazy writers of this game.
The game mechanics aren’t bad, it’s fun playing as the Cooper Ancestors. The loading times are horrific, they are about a minute long and happen every time you enter or exit the hub worlds. People who think Sonic '06 had bad load times haven’t played this game yet. It’s 2013 for fuck’s sake, fix your damn game before you release it AAAHHH I get so angry about this. There is noticeable SLOWDOWN during gameplay, especially when rotating the camera.
I give this game a 3/10. - Playing the actual game was fun - The story was a confusing mess - Good characters are completely ruined - Main Plot is weak - Boss Battles are interesting, and look great but are a pain to play. - Final Boss is a quick-time event. FFS NO QTEs IN BOSS BATTLES!! - Music wasn’t that great. - Noticeable slowdown during gameplay. - Unbearable and Frequent Load Times - Cliffhanger Ending, Possible Sequel? …Again? - Confusing Hubworld design (easily get lost in them if you don’t use the radar/compass)
Sly Franchise games ranked according to how much fun I have with them: Sly 4 < Sly 1 < Sly 3 < Sly 2
This is a video review of the game by The Super Psy Guy Super Show; I agree to pretty much everything he mentions, plus my own issues with the game I explained above.
Terrible. Just fucking terrible. I can’t even think of any saving graces I found in the film just painful flaw on top of painful flaw. The characters and environment were poorly rendered making it look like a Barbie movie. Even the movements were clunky and twitchy. However I think what I detested the most were the characters.
Elsa and her unexplained powers made her extremely withdrawn despite all the care and support from her family. She never bothers to learn to control it, she just isolates herself. This seems to work fine until she frees herself and “lets it go” which some how manages to freeze and entire kingdom despite her now positive feelings? Now she is free to express her never before implied sassy personality (which is never seen again). Then when Anna again tries to show her support, Elsa is fearful she will hurt her. Naturally, her only option is to create to giant snow monster to chase her sister off a cliff. You know, for safety.
Kristoff, which is for some reason the first character we meet, is just a tough guy with a heart of gold. Or maybe he’s a jerk for no reason who thinks he’s justified to judge a stranger’s life. He continually tells Anna what she can’t do and just shows a general lack of faith in her based solely off her wanting to marry a man soon after meeting him. He only seems to change his attitude after bashing his head on a cliff. Then his exceedingly randomly appointed family tells Anna she should love him because he’s a “fixer upper” and apparently he’s not mature enough to take care of his own jazz.
Then there’s the much hated Hans. I could totally see how him being the antagonist blind-sided everyone, it came out of fucking no where. There was absolutely zero implication he had ulterior motives, no foreshadowing, no subtext. It was pure crap writing that his character suddenly shifted for no reason. He had every opportunity to “accidentally” kill Elsa OR Anna or do a number of other villainous things. He even had the kingdom already if he only hadn’t intervened and spared the woman he later intended to kill. Yet he shows time and time again that he not only cares for Anna but for the people of the kingdom. Really, you just cut out the ONE “if only someone loved you” scene then suddenly he’s not a villain, just a guy doing what he thought was right to save the kingdom. It wasn’t his conniving that was the big twist in his character, just terrible writing.
At this point, it’s hardly personal speculation that the writing is terrible, it was admitted. Writers were heavily revising the script, songs, and characters even still in June 2013, a mere 5 months before the release of the film. It’s utterly ridiculous and shameful the project was even green-lit without a solid story. It makes sense why the story felt so chunky and stitched together. All of the story and characters are just comedic relief, but it still doesn’t quite feel like a comedy. When it was trying to be dramatic, the stakes felt disproportionally high in comparison to the petty conflict.
Not even the songs could glue this mess back together. The opening number is rather epic and more derived from Scandinavian and other North European cultures. After that, it’s all campy Broadway numbers with simple lyrics that more stop the story than move it along (cough cough ‘Fixer Upper’). The grand piece “Let it Go” felt like it was from a different movie entirely. It did not fit Elsa’s character or back story at all. She was rejected by no one but herself but she makes it sound like everyone oppressed her. It just didn’t gel.
The theme of the movie isn’t even cohesive. The writers say it’s “love will thaw a frozen heart” but they try so hard to be clever with it, it just becomes stupid. They try to throw you off into thinking Anna’s true love would be one of the men but instead of aiding the theme, it’s distracting. Kristoff served no purpose. He could have been cut from the story and it would have panned out just fine. By bringing this element of romance, it distracts from Elsa and Anna’s relationship (which was hardly there considering they hadn’t talked in a decade). If they really wanted the movie to be about sisters, they should have spent more time of them actually getting to understand each other, not just conveniently fight ( I use the term loosely) and make up at the right times.
I really could go on and on about why I think this movie is terrible but I’ll stop here since I have finals and I’m making myself angry. I can’t decide if I’m more disappointed in Disney for releasing something so slapped together or that film critics and viewers ate it up all the same. Over all the film pales in comparison to all of Disney’s past work in substance and execution. At this point, all I wish is for Disney to do as Elsa says and just let it go.
Out of curiosity I decided to google dating tips for men and I stumbled upon a few results that made me extremely upset. Specifically this post from author David DeAngelo. The post is on a site called AskMen.com and it is titled “Dealing With Psycho Ex-Boyfriends & More”, it is found in the Q&A section of their website where readers can write to him for advice about dating and relationships. Feel free to read the post, but I’ll give you a quick run down. A man writes to DeAngelo asking for advice on how to deal with a girl that he likes who has a psycho ex-boyfriend. According to him this girls ex-boyfriend is a “control freak” and the girl may be “afraid to break up with him”. What DeAngelo replies with is shockingly uninformed, and blatantly ignorant. DeAngelo asks the reader, “Why in the world would you want to be with a woman who has a fetish for suicidal control-freak boyfriends?” Hold up. EXCUSE ME SIR? Let me ask you a question, have you ever been in an abusive relationship? How about another question: how would you feel if you told this man to walk away from a woman he cares about only to find later that she has been put in the hospital because her ‘psycho ex-boyfriend’ decided to physically harm her? Let’s start with the word fetish. Yes Mr. DeAngelo, any woman who may be involved in an abusive relationship must have excessive and irrational need for said relationship. NO. If a woman is afraid to end a relationship for any particular reason that can stand for physical or emotional abuse I do not recommend that you ask the male population to walk away from her. The question you pose to the readers is alienating. It is going to make women who are victims of abuse feel neglected and even more like victims. This question portrays the idea that being in an abusive relationship is the victim’s fault. Regardless of gender, an abusive relationship is not something you can blame on the victim. This post causes readers to think that people who are being abused should be ignored and treated as a disease. When in fact, as a bystander any person should feel obligated to lend a helping hand. Not turn and walk away from someone need. I am utterly disgusted by DeAngelo’s response and I hope the website eventually chooses to take it down. It is sending the wrong message and it is completely unacceptable. I am honestly disappointed that a man who calls himself an author would write such a harmful thing. If you’re an author don’t you realize words have power? Words make a difference, and the fact that you are giving people poor advice that can harm others is absolutely saddening.
Oh look how inviting this blue berry muffin is “eat me go ahead I’m yummy” it taunts.
When you eat it the brand like flavor invites you as you anxiously wait for the blueberry to hit, though it never came confused you take another bite without looking still the blueberries are missing.
Upon closer inspection, you notice that the edge of your blue berry muffin is nothing not one single blue berry although some twist mother fucker decided to put all the damn blueberries into the center!!
The FUCKING CENTER!!
I need a BLUEBERRY TO MUFFIN RATIO
Not some piece of shit tasteless you call a muffin! No this is hell This is the fucking word of satan in disguise as a tasty muffin like treat.
So fucking eat that garbage and sob in tears as you eat that fucking blue berry muffin it’ll never satisfy you ever.
A angry muffin lover. (Eating a costco blueberry muffin)
An amateur review of Star Trek: Into Darkness, aka KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANN!!! – Part Two
(HEAVY SPOILER WARNING)
As I have noted before, whenever a studio decides in their infinite stupidity to reboot a famous movie/series, it is wise to get away entirely from the first widely successful one, and therefore not deviate into the realm of compare and contrast. Enter exhibit A: Total Recall. This little turdsicle entered the porcelain throne in 2012, back in the day when everyone was worried about being destroyed by the Mayans or the Aztecs or whatever. Other than trying to change a few details around, the plot remained almost exactly the same: a terribly-not-good storyline. The only saving grace of Total Recall the First was the main actor. With his heavy Austrian accent and overall charm as an action hero typecast, Arnold Schwarzenegger elevated the movie to something of a cult classic. You can’t help but compare and contrast both movies and see how superior the first one was, despite noting the paper-thin plot. Or is it because you note the paper-thin plot? Regardless, now that we were left with Colon Faralone, it went back to being a terribly-not-good storyline with some cameos of the three-tit lady and the two-weeks girl.
With the somewhat odd success of their first reboot in the Star Trek franchise, Paramount and J.J. Abrams decided to make another film to continue with this quote-unquote “alternate universe” where everything is the same, but not really the same, and it’s actually quite different, just don’t look too closely at the man behind the curtainsWHATDIDITELLYOUABOUTLOOKINGOVERTHERE. Again, the fatal syndrome of “compare/contrast” springs up and the viewer cannot help but do exactly that with this movie and its thinly-veiled predecessor.
Now, I will admit to reading a review of the new movie before watching it, and this review kept on mentioning revenge this and revenge that. Then, as I watched it in the theater with these god-awful-3-D-but-not-really-3-D-glasses-because-this-movie-isn’t-really-made-for-3-D-because-3-D-is-just-a-very-poorly-disguised-money-gimmick-glasses, a little voice within the recesses of my head popped up and said, “this all looks familiar, it’s as if this character is–” But no. No, it couldn’t be. There’s no way this rather tall, super-fast, super-strong, and super-intelligent man could be HIM. No, this man’s name is Robinson, and he’s just this terrorist who is trying to save his crew of super-humans who were hibernating from the late 20th Century— Okay, let’s stop dancing around the issue: it’s Khan. No, not the Khan from the 1980s movie with the gray hair and the odd shirt revealing the strange nipple, but one of Tumblr’s many unrequited stalker crushes, David Cumberbatch.
As someone who never watched a single complete episode of LOST in his life, Abrams’s skill at hiding the plot is like a man who’s stuffing a dead body into a closet full of smelly corpses, and then putting up a sign reading “I didn’t do it, I swear!” with a donut attached. Like right before the camera pans up to see a human face within a torpedo tube, it’s like you already know what’s there. Thus, all shock value is diminished to a robot intoning in a monotone voice, “I am a robot. I am not human, therefore you should be afraid of me. My logic is undeniable. Beep, boop.” And one of the things that clued me in on Cucumberbutch’s true identity was none other than the ALTERNATE version of Dr. Carol Marcus herself, who was also in the older version of Wrath of Khan.
Even Khan himself didn’t seem all that intimidating in this version. COMPARE/CONTRAST MODE:ACTIVATE. When Ricardo Montalbo first revealed his face, it was a little creepy and his very appearance demanded a modicum of fear and respect. Now that Abrams is desperately trying to reconnect the dots to make a new picture, Cucumberman enters very unsuspicious-like into the plot of another movie, and just as he’s about to reveal his name, Abrams plays homage to the Monty Python phrase, “and now for something completely different”. Well, shit. There goes my twelve dollars down the drain.
For all the talk of an alternate universe, only the finite details have changed at all. Take Khan as a character, for instance. It turns out the Federation woke him up to speed up their militarization to take on future attacks from alternate universe just about anything these days, and he goes rogue in order to save his other crewmembers. “That’s rare,” I thought to myself. “Maybe they’re taking a more mature route with this plot. Perhaps Khan is a merely misunderstood rebel fighting against evil officers threatening to corrupt the Federation as a whole, and Kirk and company are forced to choose between tough decisions”. For a while, I was lulled into this false sense of security in enjoying a truly unique Star Trek sequel-to-a-remake. But then the director said, “New plots? What are those? We can’t have those, we must stick to the tried and true!” So now Spock goes to contact TOS Spock and they have a quaint off-screen discussion about all the bad things TOS Khan did. It turns out they were right the whole time to demonize him because this Khan suddenly turns around and steals the new ship from the not-so-evil captain i.e. testing his head’s squishiness and goes off to kill everyone else in revenge. Well, never fucking mind, there.
Afterwards, it becomes a script of the Wrath of Khan all over again. No, seriously, that’s all it really is. “B-b-b-but wait!” Abrams cries out in desperation again, using his clever used car salesman tactics. “It’s Kirk, this time, who goes out to fix the reactor and makes the ultimate sacrifice and save the Enterprise. I bet you didn’t see THAT one coming.” Nice try, but I saw that coming a million miles away. They even make all the roles reversed as Kirk is dying and Spock touches the glass door that separates them, and they talk about how they’re all friends and shit like that. It’s a stupid shame, really, because the scene would have been SOMEWHAT nice, had Spock not decided to take that moment to cry out, “KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!!!”
And do you know what about the ending changed? Absolutely NOTHING. Through some arbitrary bullshit involving a Tribble cameo and Khan’s superhuman blood, they bring Kirk back from the dead and thus ruin another opportunity to prove to the world of its legitimacy as an alternate universe. Khan and his people are put back into their refrigerators, and the day is saved once more.
So maybe it’s not exactly the Wrath of Khan script, but it’s too damned close to be anything else. It’s like the writers found the old script, scrambled all the pages around, then took some time to write three new pages of material before haphazardly stapling them together and presenting them to Paramount. I thought this was a chance to start anew, to boldly go where no man has ever gone before, and make some truly remarkable changes to revitalize Star Trek. It is NOT a chance to shoehorn in storylines from back in the day of the golden era, then try to pass that on as a FEATURE-FILM. I bet I can go to Fanfiction.net and find a story where all the characters have constant furry-midget-elf sex with a self-insert character and find something that had a little more thought put into the plot.
If I had to describe this movie in just two words, it would be “Missed Opportunities”. That’s what it all felt like to me. There were too many missed opportunities to truly make this generation of Star Trek stand out from the rest as something with its own merits and values. All of the tools are present and up to warp speed (most especially in the CGI department, which felt completely wasted and over-abused here, but then again when is it NOT abused these days?), and there are plenty of talented actors and actresses willing to create new characters audiences could get attached to (and also make love-pillows of). So what happened? Three factors: The first are the writers: they’re too chicken-hearted to create something new and exciting with heart and spirit. The second are the banks: they’re too stingy and cautious to lend money out to these promising upstarts and would rather throw their weight behind milking old cash cows until they can’t even fart out puffs of air. And the third are the consumers, themselves: they’re too dumb to know the difference or demand for more quality in strong plots and characters. Well, hey, look at that: I just made the makings of an alternate universe Wizard of Oz! All we need is to convince Michael Bay to play the Wicked Witch of the West.
And in case anyone complains that I didn’t cover the other important people, here you go: Kirk has an extra set of balls in place of brains; Spock is there to portray an emotionless telephone pole; Bones is there to object to everything and speak entirely in obsolete metaphors; and Uhura just wants some Vulcan cock.