Published on February 10th, 2013 | by Kyle Spencer, Editor
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time Review
Developer: Sanzaru Games
Platform: PlayStation 3 [Reviewed], PlayStation Vita [Tested]
Release Date: Feb. 5, 2013
We have gone almost an entire generation cycle before we saw the famous studded raccoon make his return. With the rumored PlayStation 4 imminent, a hungry developer took Sucker Punch’s favored franchise and gave it a breath of fresh air.
The one question with a series that has seen three previous entries is, “Does it hold up to the others before it?” Thankfully, the answers is a resounding “Yes.” Sanzaru Games kept all of the elements that made Sly Cooper great to begin with and polishes them up. The stealth and 3D platforming are prominent. You will be glad to know that the story is fresh and expansive. For those who are curious, if you complete the game 100 percent in its entirety it will take you well over 20 hours to complete.
The world of Sly 4 is vast and open. Gamers have the ability to funnel through the story without doing much exploring, or they can explore the open world and find secret items. There is a variety of cast members to interact within the environment.
The story has Sly and his group of thieves hunting the stolen pages of the “Thievius Raccoonus ” which translates to the “Book of Thieves.” It is the “Bible” of Sly’s organization. The clan must then come back together, after going their own separate ways in the third installment in the series, and save the Cooper Clan legacy from being destroyed. Even though the story may not seem all that impressive, it’s the games characters that draw you in and keep you connected to the experience. Sly, Bently and Murray round out the Cooper Clan and with the impressive voice acting, the cartoonish character really come to life and are a big standout.
The dialogue is witty, especially when you listen to the interactions between Bently and Sly. Many times you will find yourself chuckling along with the characters. However, it’s not just the familiar faces of Sly that you run into throughout the course of the game. Thieves in Time offers gamers a few new characters, Le Paradox, Tennessee and Paramount, who are animals as well, but are a full representation of the territory they come from. Take Tennessee for example, who is a representative of the Wild West territory and dresses as a cowboy.
There isn’t much to say about the combat of the game since there is no difference between any other game, but just features standard attack and combos. Much like you would find in a Ratchet and Clank game. Boss battles are really the only time you need to use your fighting skills. Exploration and sneak is the way that you play any Sly Cooper game. It is a basic function of the game for Sly to crouch and keep hidden in the shadows while using some of the tools given to him to pick pocket and distract. If you are a veteran in the series then it will be an easy transition.
Sly does learn new abilities, which are used more so for how he maneuvers through the environment and gets to his objectives. The object is to rob your targets, and the abilities you learn will help you in these areas throughout the environment. Dodging confrontation and exploring the world are the basic gameplay mechanics. Each character you play as can level up their abilities, and each have different maneuvers. When you count Sly’s five ancestors and then Paramount, Le Paradox, Bentley and Murray, there is a nine-character roster for you to toy with.
Aside from the variety of characters available, the game has five territories to explore. Each are in a different time frame, from ancient Japan to the Wild West. You must travel to all five different territories to fix Sly’s family tree and collect all the missing pages from his families torn book. If you choose not to follow the more linear main quest, you can choose to look around the areas. In terms of exploration, side objectives are non-linear and open up the each territory. This is where a vast amount of time will be spent in Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time.
Thieves in Time does take part of Sony’s Cross-Buy program, which gives buyers of the PlayStation 3 version access to a free digital copy on the PS Vita. Both actually work well with each other. The games share the same save files and work seamlessly utilizing the cloud based service. When playing the PS3 version, it will give you the option to save the data to your memory or storage device or to the cloud. If you save it to the cloud and start up the Vita version, you can load the save file from the cloud and pick up right where you left off. This option works great especially if you want to continue playing and have to leave your house, or heading out of town.
The other great thing about Sly is the price. Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time sits on the shelf at a very pleasant $40 (with free Vita version) and $30 on the Vita alone. Both versions play very similar to each other, although the Vita version is not as pretty.
Sly Cooper makes a triumphant return to this console space, and makes a big slash into this generation of gamers with Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time. Even though he has come very late into the game, and being priced at $40, there is no reason to overlook our favorite Raccoon. From lovable characters, to a vast open world that has many hours of gameplay, and being part of Sony’s Cross-Buy Program, there is plenty that will keep you busy as a gamer and give you a big bang for your buck this spring.
+ Open-world gameplay
+ $40 price tag
– Long load times