Sony does a pretty terrible job at promoting its first-party games. For instance, take Sly Cooper.
Droves of gamers were not only unaware that Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time launched last week, but they were completely in the dark in regards to the fact that a second Sly Cooper game was actually coming out on the same day.
This is because Sony announced it the day of its launch, buried under a press release for Thieves in Time, never to be seen or heard from again.
That game is called Bentley's Hack Pack.
Bentley's Hack Pack (PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita [reviewed])
Developer: Sanzaru Games Inc.
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Released: February 5, 2013
MSRP: $2.99 (PlayStation 3 - Cross-buy with Vita)
Bentley's Hack Pack is basically a collection of the various hacking mini-games found in the main campaign mode of Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time.
If you've played the game already, you've come across these in the mandatory portions of the campaign, and you pretty much know what to expect going into Bentley's Hack Pack.
There's a twin-stick tank shooter (System Cracker), a scrolling shoot-'em-up (Alter Ego), and a Marble Madness-style game (Spark Runner) -- the latter of which is operated entirely by way of motion controls.
But that's not to say that each game is just comprised of rehashed levels from the Thieves in Time hacking sections -- because they're not. They are all-new levels developed for the Hack Pack, along with some extras.
Specifically, Bentley's Hack Pack contains unique challenges for every level in the game, like no-death runs, high-score challenges, and hidden-mask hunts. Like your average $1-2 iOS game, it provides you with an optional method of replay value, should you be inclined to want to go back and best your prior efforts.
Each game feels fun in its own way, especially System Cracker, which has a degree of exploration to it with the challenges in tow.
As you play through each stage and complete these challenges, you'll start to unlock little cosmetic trophies that you can view and read a little blurb about. If you're a Cooper fan, you're going to get more out of the Hack Pack as you press on to unwrap gifts and treasures that subtly reference old adventures from Sly 1-3.
Nothing is really earth-shattering in the slightest, but neat little factoids on items strewn about the franchise add to the charm of the overall package. There's also a special unlock at the very end, which fans are sure to enjoy.
Control-wise, everything outside of the Marble Madness-style game handles extremely well. Just like Thieves in Time, I found that for the motion-controlled portions of the game, the Six-Axis DualShock 3 controls are superior to the Vita's gyroscope, so play it on the PS3 if you can.
The Vita version's marble game is still serviceable, but on more than one occasion I fell to some pretty frustrating deaths after motion dead-zoning. It makes me long for developers to figure out that they don't have to force specific control methods in their games for the sake of it -- give us options!
Sadly, unlike Thieves in Time, although the game is cross-buy compatible (meaning you get the PS3 and Vita versions with the same $2.99 purchase), it is not cross-save compatible. Meaning, you can't play on the go with your Vita, save your progress, and pick it up on the PS3 seamlessly through through cloud save capability.
As Conrad perfectly stated in his Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time review, Bentley's Hack Pack, like the core iteration this mini-game collection is based on, is at worst, inoffensive.
If you're a retro gamer, you've already played other titles that present the core precepts these mini-games provide, but Bentley's Hack Pack has an interesting enough framework to actually compel you to keep going, with a bit of the ol' Sly charm to boot. For a few bucks, it's worth taking the plunge.