My Year in Time Travel the Third

My Year in Time Travel the Third

Trophies and achievements are still a big motivator for me. Whether they are guaranteed through the story or require me to go out of my way with no in-game reward, I will usually at least try to get them all. Every time I’m hunting one down though, I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like to have them on the games I played as a kid.

Lucky for me, Playstation is determined for me to know.

As you all know, I am a huge Sly Cooper fan. If you didn’t know, click here for my self-imposed credentials. As I might have also mentioned, I played through the HD collection this past summer. And even though pickpocketing vultures and sliding on jungle vines never gets old, it could have had new content.

In Sanzuru’s defense, they were not the original publishers. They got permission for Sucker Punch to put this collection together. That means they might not have been able to get away with making many changes. It also negates to opportunity for previously-unreleased content. But with how true they were to the source material with Thieves in Time, I wish they would have taken more creative liberties.

I mean, the game still had the awkward fourth-wall-breaking of Bentley asking if you want to put on the 3D glasses that came with the third game without any actual 3D mode. The smoother graphics and controls were excellent and appreciated by a longtime player, but Sanzuru didn’t even take advantage of the one system they had complete control over: trophies.

Roughly ninety percent of the trophies could be achieved just by completing the game from start to finish. Then the only extra trophies were completing the few in-game challenges and finding the collectibles. There are so many intricate platforming mechanics and minigames that they could have gotten more creative. Sly 3 at least did the work for them by creating its own challenges and time trials for Sanzuru to use, but this should have given them ideas for how to apply this concept to the previous two titles.

Now for another Sony-exclusive Playstation 2 platformer: the Ratchet and Clank games.

These are games I never played before the HD collection, so any differences I talk about were only figured out through roaming the Internet, not firsthand experience.

This series’ fresh take on extending gameplay makes you think Insomniac was psychic and able to see achievements coming down the pipeline years before they ever heard a peep. Each game has its own challenges which consist of time trials, collectibles, and odd tasks you would never think to do. In one game, you have to speed through a hoverboard race, destroy literally everything on a planet, and use your weapons to shoot down birds that you’d think were only part of  the scenery. Not all at the same time, of course, the variety is outstanding. Completing each of these gives you a skill point which you can spend on artwork and dressing up Ratchet in a tux.

Of course this game also translates to the modern trophy system more easily than Sly Cooper, and granted, none of them introduce new content. But for example, the first Sly game had some of the most painful speed runs I have ever encountered and yet you didn’t have to touch them to obtain the Platinum trophy–or a hundred percent if Sony’s lack of numbers is at all confusing to you. Here you have to get a majority of the skill points, weapons, and still have a billion bolts leftover.

Speaking of which, considering the best weapons are locked behind insane pay walls (one million bolts? Let me just pawn Clank instead. I’ll buy him back eventually.), it lets you experience all the game has to offer with New Game Plus which I enjoyed more than the first playthrough. Now I could breeze through the main gameplay and focus solely on the hidden secrets and the golden weapons.

Of course you all know my bias, meaning my high expectations for the Sly collection and next to none for Ratchet and Clank has affected my perspective. They are both great ways to experience old games, but I wish game developers would look at adding more content to these releases. Some have done that exceptionally well. That is at least localizing content previously exclusive to Japan. But again, more on that next time.

Stay tuned.

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