Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time – PlayStation 3
Platform: PlayStation 3
Developer: Sanzaru Games
Release Date (NA): February 5, 2013
Nerd Rating: 8 out 10
Reviewed by Shadow Links
As probably one of the most remarkably well done hand-offs of a franchise from one developer to another, Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time brilliantly avoids the pitfall that often comes hand in hand with that scenario. Sucker Punch, the original team behind the Sly games, switched gears and went with the new IP, Infamous, when the current console generation rolled around. Sanzaru, to my delight, took it upon themselves to create a demo level for a new Sly game, which opened the door for them to create the Sly collection with Sucker Punch and now release their very own Sly. Ok, enough with the history lesson.
The game in and of itself is actually not particularly innovative from previous iterations in any notable way. The humor, controls, actions, and general game-play is all the same from previous games. Quite frankly if it had come out a year after Sly 3, it probably would have been a flat game. However, the timing of the release in terms of the current landscape of games couldn’t have been better. A platformer and cell shaded graphics is somewhat a relief compared to the typical attempts at realistic HD graphics in most games. It truly is a blast from the past of the old PS2 era.
For those of you unfamiliar with Sly games, I’d suggest grabbing all 3 of the old PS2 games or the Sly Collection on PS3. The gameplay is based around a mix of stealth, platforming, puzzles, and some mini-games. The story fleshes out in an episodic nature, each being a time period and location. The player largely spends time exploring each episodes hub map, where collectibles and missions are. The hubs are far larger and more complex that older entries, largely due to and increase in the number of “levels” or layers in each map. Its not uncommon to have rooftops, ground level, below ground, and above the rooftops, which is much different than the previous 2 layer maps. Even with the increase in scope the details are not neglected from writings in the environment to the distant backgrounds (where you may even see an Easter egg if you pay attention) which look like playable maps themselves. Many of the mini-games are familiar such as Bentley’s hacking games, which have gotten an upgrade (Murray’s, not so much I’m afraid).
Many elements from the previous games have been integrated. Sly 1′s extensive hideout interiors, Sly 2′s clue bottles and treasures have returned, and Sly 3′s variety of characters. Each level has its own ancestor to play as in addition the staple 3, and sometimes Carmelita gets her shot at the spotlight. Also in relation to the characters, the combat system got good a shake-up, which I think is one of the primary things that sets this title apart. Moves are still purchased, but no longer are you limited to 3 specials. Most attacks are now integrated button presses or accessed by L2 (costumes for Sly, effects for others). Each ancestor has special individualized moves and limited moves work off of a recharging meter for use.
The story, which by all means, works and connects, but it sometimes had weak reasoning and I didn’t feel a strong desire to see what happened next; I feel the missions suffered from this as well. There is a possibility that this was just because of my familiarity with the series, but I was more engaged with seeing what I could do rather than why I needed to accomplish something.
The humor, as usual, could elicit a laugh from me. I find it difficult to really describe the humor, but it is rather tame and juvenile with Sly’s quick quips and the oddness of all the villians. Appropriate for a T-rated title.
There were only a few complaints I had while playing the game. Mostly it was an issue of jumping on a bouncing structure and flying off in an unexpected direction sometimes. Clue bottles were sometimes very well hidden and treasures in early levels were inaccessible till the end of the game. relatively minor complaints.
Around three quarters of the way to a really great game sounds about right for me. I’d like to give it a higher score since I really enjoyed playing it, but a couple of speed bumps, which were by no means bad since they kept things steady, prevent if from scoring higher. Mostly docking points for minor glitches (.5), lack of advancement from previous titles (1), and the flow that was lost for me caused by the method of hiding treasures and bottles in a manner that seems more along the lines of a Metroid Prime game (.5).
Overall I was very satisfied with this entry and I believe it is a solid start if Sanzaru plans to continue the series. This was a somewhat well executed game, but it did not advance in any significant way since the PS2 titles, so I hope to see more risks taken to try to advance the series and make it their own. A great game for new players or fans of the series, but for some previous fans like me, something more might be desired.
Reviewed by Shadow Links
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