Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time Review

Thieves

 

Title: Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time
Developer: Sanzaru Games
Game Type: PlayStation Vita
Download: 3.3 GB
NA Availability: 
Digital Download | Retail

EU Availability: Digital Download | Retail
PSTV Support: Yes

If you look in past generations, you will notice that there are some first-party franchises for Sony that aren’t around anymore.  Some have become multi-platform franchises, or have just dropped off the face of the planet.  Others pop up here and there, while others give us a bit of a surprise.  Some PS2 franchises have done that as well, including the Sly Cooper series.

Sly Cooper debuted in the PS2 generation and it rarely went a couple years without getting a new release.  However, after the third game released, it was nearly a decade before it came back from its grave and released on the PS3 and PS Vita in the form of the franchise’s fourth entry.  Having released not long after the first three games were remastered in High Definition, here is my official review of Sly 4, officially known as Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time!

Story

2015-07-02-021751

Following the conclusion of the third game, the gang of Sly Cooper the thief and his companions Bentley the hacker and the hippo called The Murray, are reunited when the pages of Sly’s family history begins to fade from existence.  Sensing a plot, the three of them adjust their van to become a time machine and travel through the past and present to find out who is tampering with Sly’s family line and stop them.

Despite being a sequel, Thieves in Time does an excellent job at summing up all of the characters of the series.  This way, you can jump in and enjoy the game just as much, even if this is your first Sly Cooper game.  The story is also entertaining, containing a lot of humor and witty remarks aside from the overall time travel plot.

Gameplay

2015-06-26-231145

Like the previous entries of the series, Sly Cooper: Thieves in time is a 3D platformer with puzzle, stealth and combat elements.  The mini-games included in the game also make the game very diverse, drawing elements from a multitude of genres, like pinball, twin-stick shooters, rhythm, and more.  The base gameplay though, is that of a 3D platformer.

When you play through the game, you will have a Hideout as well as a Hub World containing the current timeline you’re in.  The Hideout is where you can purchase new abilities, play mini-games, and choose missions, be it new missions or replaying older missions.  The Hub World, however, is an open area where you’re free to explore to collect medals, collectibles, fight enemies, and unlock safes for bonus content with the collectibles you’ve found.

Your missions will take you around the same hub worlds, but centered around story events and the ability to go inside buildings in the form of dungeons where you have specific tasks, such as planting charges, sneaking past security to infiltrate a facility, or taking on boss fights.  These missions will also be around a specific character, whereas you can explore the hub worlds with any playable character.

The game has a strong emphasis on stealth.  There are many missions where your goal is to sneak past guards or tail someone to eavesdrop on them and will automatically fail if you’re spotted by anyone.  This is how the missions differ.  Sly and the other Coopers’ missions rely more on stealth while Bentley’s missions focus more on puzzle-solving, and The Murray’s missions focus more on combat.  This gives the game a bit of variety in what you’re doing, rather than always doing the same thing over and over again.  The bosses also differ with specific strategies required for solving the puzzles of their stages.

All in all, Thieves in Time has a good amount of content to it.  It should take you around 10 hours or so to complete the game, and you can add plenty more if you wish to find all the collectibles and see the secret ending.  It’s pretty long for the type of game that it is.

Controls

The controls for the game are innovative at times, but can also be adjust-worthy at times.  First of all, the game uses many features on the Vita from AR for a mini-game to the touch and tilt controls for specific mini-games.  The tilt features, for example, are quite awkward to use and get used to at first.  Since the controls differ on the PlayStation TV, I prefer to use that console for those sections.

The rest of the game is easy enough to get used to.  The Left Analog Stick controls your character and the Right Analog Stick moves the camera.  The L and R triggers are used for using specific abilities as well as dashing.  The X button is used to jump and Square is used for physical attacks.  Triangle is used for stronger attacks and Circle is used for interacting with objects like doors and computer terminals.

Overall, it’s not a very hard control scheme to learn.

Presentation

2015-06-28-001426

There are mostly good things to see here.  Visually, the game looks good.  There is an occasional jagged edge, but overall all of the environments and characters look nicely done.  On top of that, there aren’t any lag issues to be seen as you play through the game.

The biggest hindrance on the presentation is the load times.  Each time you load a new mission or area, you could be waiting for as much as 20-30 seconds.  This isn’t the case for all load sequences, but is for many.

Summary

Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time is the latest entry of the Sly Cooper franchise.  On the downside, the load times can be lengthy and the tilt controls are pretty awkward to get used to.  Outside of this is a solid and entertaining platformer for the Sly veteran and newbie alike.

8/10