August 03, 2013

Sly Cooper Thieves in Time Review

This excellent game released earlier this year... did you play it? Read the review inside in case you missed it

Back in February of 2013, Sanzaru Games released a sequel to the original three Sly Cooper games, "Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time."

It came out for the PS3 (with cross buy for the Vita) as well as a card for the Vita. This review was done with the Vita card. 

First off, if you haven't played the Sly Cooper Collection on the PS3 (and sometime to be released Vita version) then I will catch you up on the story. You've also missed out on a fun treat. 

Sly is a racoon, last in a long line of thieves. You've got a couple of friends, a pink hippo named Murray (who is the brute of the bunch), and Bentley the turtle (he's the brains). Sly has got the moves and skills of an expert thief. Together, all their skills are used to complete various missions, which involve some sort of heist, and avoiding the police (led by a fox named Carmelita Fox. Yes, an actual fox). 

The Thieves in Time game picks up after the 3rd story and, just as it sounds, finds you and the gang traveling through time, unraveling a mystery and meeting your ancient relatives as you go. Don't worry if this sounds preposterous, you won't be questioning he validity of time travel because of the fact that you have talking animals kind of running the place. It is all good fun. 

It is also engaging, too. If you've played the games, you have come to really enjoy the interactions between the characters (all the voice acting is the same as the originals). This story line is no exception to what you played in the past (no pun intended). 

This is a platforming adventure game, similar to how Jak and Daxter as well as Ratchet and Clank play. You can follow the highlights on your screen to just get right to the story and finish the missions, or you can seek out hidden bottles and treasures all over the world map. (I found the treasures harder to locate than those found in the Sly Collection). 

Each "world" or "time" that you go to has a separate relative that needs your help. You'll find yourself in the old west, in prehistoric times, feudal Japan, to name a few. You get to play as each of the relatives here, too, which shakes up the already varied gameplay. (they have a special move like wall climbing, using a gun, etc). 

And there is a costume in each place, too, that you need to utilize in order to get past certain places. These allow you to go back to other places in time and reach areas you couldn't quite get to before. Fantastic replay in this respect.

Missions are varied, depending on which character you are controlling. Sly can use his thief skills to scope out the scene, climb on hard to reach places, use his paraglider to float around, pickpocketing enemies, etc. Murray is called in when something needs to be blown up and pummeled. Or ice skate with timed button presses. Or have a montage workout scene. That was pretty funny. And Bentley has these cool missions to hack computers. The Vita makes good use of its tilt function for some of these hack jobs, although some use the sticks.
One of the hacking missions

This is a third person platform adventure game. You walk around with the left stick, twist the camera with the right. Pretty easy controls to get. And jumping is pretty tight, and there is a move from Sly that when you push a button, you immediately dart to a glowing blue landing spot (if you're close enough). That really helps.

I ran into a couple of control snags however with the paraglider. There was one part you have to maneuver along these updrafts, and it didn't feel like I had any control in it, and only by luck (and anger) did I get past the point. This was the only place I felt frustration in the controls. There were other parts I got frustrated, but only because some of the platforming, timing, bosses, etc. got pretty hard.
Yes, Murray is ice skating

The bosses in this game are pretty fun. You spend the entire level tracking them down, figuring our how to outsmart them, and then you confront them in the end. They are colorful characters with lots of attitude. The ice skating Griz was a bear to beat.

Vita controls: 
With the Vita, there are some touchscreen controls for menu items, activating costumes or binoculars, and some of Bentley's hacking missions. I didn't play this on the PS3, so I can't compare them, but it felt like a good fit and not overdone.

Great theatrical mood set up with amazing voice acting, fun music that fits with each time period, and fun sound effects. It feels like you're taking part in a movie adventure.

You will like this game if: 
  • you enjoy games like Ratchet and Clank or Jak and Daxter
  • you like difficult puzzles and hard to find collectibles
  • you want a fun story that does the original series justice (this was made by Sanzaru Games, not Sucker Punch)
  • you need varied gameplay with unique characters
You might not like:
  • long initial load times
  • some movie/cinematics with graphics that look like they should have been smoother

As of the last couple of weeks, this has been on sale for ~$20 on Amazon and Gamestop. You owe it to yourself to add this to your Vita library.

Have you played this? Are you on the fence on whether to pick this up or not? Comment below!

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