Steal the treasures of the past to save your future in Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time

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by TRACY-MARK GORGAS / Special contributor to NWCN.com

NWCN.com

Posted on February 15, 2013 at 8:56 PM

Updated Sunday, Oct 13 at 4:54 PM

What would you do if you found out someone was erasing your family history?  Sly Cooper:  Thieves in Time answers that question with “Sly and the Gang.” Polish your stealth skills; we are going to sneak across time.

Story

Sly Cooper:  Thieves in Time picks up where Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves left off.  Each member of Sly’s gang has moved on with their lives.  Murray became a racer, Bentley and his girlfriend Penelope started a technology research lab, and Sly faked amnesia so he could be with Carmelita.  Life was good.
 
But Sly started to get that thieving itch and started casing a museum (and not just any museum).  In keeping with his personal rule of only stealing from other thieves he cased one secretly owned by a thief.  Meanwhile, Bentley entered his lab one day to find Penelope missing.  While searching for her he noticed something else strange.  Sly had given Bentley the Thievius Raccoonus (the history and secrets of thieving of the Cooper family line) for safe keeping.  While looking through it words were literally disappearing off the pages.

Bentley contacts Sly.  He tells him that he and Penelope had been working on a time machine and believes someone else also invented a time machine and is attempting to erase the Cooper line of thieves from history.  To use Bentley’s time machine they need some special components.  The first is Murray and his racing van, who is all too happy to be part of the team again.  The second is an item from the time period they wish to visit.  By sheer coincidence, the museum Sly had been casing has the second item, dagger from ancient Japan. With the dagger they can go back and rescue Rioichi Cooper, one of Sly’s ancestors.  With the Thievious Raccoonus in hand they make their way to the museum and start their adventure across time.

Controls and Gameplay

Like the previous Sly Cooper games, Sly Cooper:  Thieves in Time is primarily a third person stealth action platforming game.  Because the game is aimed at a young audience, the action and platforming is highlighted with the stealth being more simplified than other stealth action games.  However this does not take away from the fun.  It is still better to try to sneak through the levels than to directly confront enemies, and the enemies are not as observant as the more adult orientated stealth action games.

Because Sly Cooper:  Thieves in Time is a “cross-play” game (meaning that your save game for the PlayStation 3 can be saved to the “cloud” and continued on a PSVita for gaming on the go) controls are simple and easy to pick up.  Developer Sanzaru Games created some smart solutions for some of the controls; as an example, the Binocucom.  In the PlayStation 3 version of the game it is opened by clicking on the “R3” button; while on the PSVita it is opened by tapping on its icon on the screen.
 
One fun new gameplay addition to the series is costumes.  Not only do they offer a disguise option to allow players to move past guards, but each costume has its own special ability.  Also, not only do you get to play as Sly, Bentley, Murray and Carmelita, but you get to play as Sly’s ancestors in their time periods.

Graphics and Sound

Sly Cooper:  Thieves in Time keeps the cartoon animated style that the series is known for.  This cartoon style looks like it dropped right out of a Saturday morning cartoon series.  Sanzaru Games even goes so far as to give each level or “episode” its own title sequence that ends with “Sly and the Gang in…”

The sound also keeps that Saturday morning cartoon feel going with its playful music and sound effects.  The voice acting is also top notch, each one giving great performances.

Overall

Sly Cooper:  Thieves in Time had been hinted at for a few years, but because original developer Sucker Punch Productions was busy with their inFAMOUS series, Sanzaru Games was tasked.  Sanzaru Games had previously handled the HD remake of The Sly Collection for the PlayStation 3, so they knew what they were getting into.  That familiarity really helped them make Sly Cooper:  Thieves in Time play and look like a proper Sucker Punch Production entry in the series.

I really enjoyed the game.  It combination of stealth and platforming action seamlessly blended together.  The game is developed with a younger audience in mind, but that doesn’t mean older players won’t enjoy it.  Pop culture references are sprinkled throughout the game, from “Back to the Future” to “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and more.  The humor and the gameplay are equally up to entertaining players of any age.

The cross-play with the PSVita worked flawlessly.  I was able to stop and save the game to the cloud on my PlayStation 3, and the load and play it on my PSVita and vice versa.  Playing on the PSVita was just as fun as the PlayStation 3, the differences being the previously mention controls and then need to pay a closer attention to the screen since everything is smaller.  Spotting small collectables was a bit more challenging, but not impossible.
 
The only problem I did come across was an invisible ledge and even that was actually helpful as I was able to use it to stay hidden from two guards that patrolled below.

I have to say Sanzaru Games really did well with Sly Cooper:  Thieves in Time.  It’s fun, entertaining and a great game for players of any age.  I give it a 5 out of 5.

Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time is rated E10+ for Everyone aged 10 and older for Alcohol Reference, Cartoon Violence, Suggestive Themes, Use of Tobacco by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB).

For more information see the official Sly Cooper:  Thieves in Time web site.

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