Sly Cooper Thieves in Time
(Available on PS3, PSVita - Reviewed on PS3)
With all the spotlights focusing on the
absolutely brilliant Bioshock Infinite this month, games like
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time have slipped by relatively unnoticed.
Itís a shame really as this is the first Sly Cooper sequel in nearly 8
years, and in a way highly anticipated as well. But is this anticipation
all worth it or are Sly and the gang as worn out as the artefacts they
try to steal? In some ways yes, and in some ways no.
Thieves in Time picks up right after the last game, Honour Among
Thieves. New series developer Sanzaru were obviously aware that itís
been a long time between drinks for the franchise which is why they give
you the option of watching a back story cut scene to bring you up to
speed. Itís a nice touch and shows off the impressive and high quality
2D animation the game uses to bridge the gap between levels.
Sly, Murray and Bentley are back in the business of stealing things off
people who steal things. Sly is just as Ďslyí as ever, Bentley is just
as nerdy and Murray is just as good at eating things. All is well until
Bentley notices that words from the Thievius Raccoonus, the beloved
heirloom of Slyís ancestors, are starting to disappear, which means that
something is happening in the past thatís not quite right. In order to
restore order Bentley invents a time machine so the trio can go back in
time, meet Slyís ancestors and defeat the person (or anthropomorphic
animal) responsible for it all.
Players travel back in time with the gang to a total of six ancient
locations including feudal Japan and medieval England. Gameplay is
stealth focused as it always has been with core combat being brushed
aside except for boss battles; thereís nothing stopping you from going
all out guns-blazing to complete your goals but donít expect to come
back without some bruises. For the majority of the game you can choose
from Sly, Murray or Bentley to roam around the world in order to collect
coins and collectibles to unlock things, but I usually stuck with Sly as
the stealth mechanic works far better than the combat.
terms of missions the game is very Ďcut and paste.í Each time periodís
mission structure is as follows; observe your surroundings, find a
costume that has an ability specific to the time period, find Slyís
ancestor, get their cane back, and beat the boss. By the third time
period most players will feel the dťjŗ vu settle in, and while the
missions arenít exactly boring itís just an issue of repeating the same
thing over and over again.
Thieves in Time also features your favourite thing in the world,
motion controls! Thatís right- motion controls on the Playstation 3,
something that hasnít been heard of since the likes of Motorstorm.
While again these elements of the game are not actually that bad itís
just odd to see them being used by a game. Itís a gimmick and itís
obviously aimed at a younger generation than mine, but my generation was
the one who grew up with Sly so it would be nice to consider us when
adding these features.
previously mentioned the 2D cut scenes which are fantastic. The rest of
the game adopts the same cell-shaded, dark outline look of its
predecessors although itís a hell of a lot prettier than them. That
being said characters donít move their mouths during gameplay when they
talk which seems lazy and there are often drops in the frame rate, but
itís still 100% playable.
the original voice actors are back, for our relief and for themselves
(they donít get much work other than this). They all do a great job
regardless and thereís great entertainment value in listening to the
characters banter between one another. My favourite character was The
Grizz, a gangster rapping grizzly-bear who was voiced superbly by voice
acting veteran Fred Tatasciore. Youíll be sick of puns by the end of the
game though, because thereís a lot...it can be Ďpuníishing at times.
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time is a good game but not as good as it
should and could have been. A repetitive mission structure and motion
controls damper what is otherwise an enjoyable trip down memory lane for
fans of the series. Hereís hoping Sly sticks around a little bit longer
before once again slipping into the shadows.