Thieves in Time Save Nine...
and the Cooper Legacy!
The PlayStation 2 was an embarrassment of riches for 3D platforming fans. Sony debuted and published not one, not two, but three unique platforming franchises on the system. The first was Naughty Dog's Jak & Daxter, then there was Insomniac Games' Ratchet & Clank, and the final in this all-star trio was Sucker Punch's Sly Cooper. Each series possessed its own strengths and charms, and while Ratchet has appeared in multiple games on the PlayStation 3, Sly Cooper has been waiting in the wings for his own brand-new title. That day has finally come, but this time around, Sanzaru Games (the folks who developed The Sly Collection) are the folks behind Sly's latest caper, Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, available on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita. Does Sanzaru Games do Sucker Punch's series justice, or does the latest Sly Cooper need a time out?
The Thievius Raccoonus is a book containing all of the family secrets of the Cooper clan. One day, however, while perusing the book, Bentley the Turtle notices that right before his eyes the words on the pages seem to be vanishing. It turns out someone is trying to erase the Cooper legacy by going back in time, causing trouble, and doing his or her best to stamp out the Sly Cooper and his ancestors for good. Packed with a new time machine, the Cooper gang and their van hightail it into the past to attempt to right the wrongs of this vicious villain. Thieves in Time tells its tale through a number of means: traditional in-game cutscenes as well as marvelously done hand-drawn cartoon animations. Perhaps the only quip one could make about the story is that most scenes can be skipped through the pause menu, but it isn't consistent. Not every scene can be skipped, meaning that replaying jobs can be quite annoying when you have to sit through a 45 second scene.
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time consists of five episodes taking place from Feudal Japan to the sunset-soaked Arabia, sandwiched between a prologue and an epilogue. Like past games in the Sly Cooper series, each episode is a fairly contained but fully explore-able area where Sly and one of many other playable characters can venture around, smashing 30 clue bottles strewn across each episode, collecting treasure, and just having the pure, unadulterated freedom to explore.
The hub worlds offer a grand
opportunity for exploration.
|So this is what thieves do on their downtime...|
If platforming is your passion, Thieves
in Time definitely has you covered.
Outside of the traditional platforming that makes a platformer a platformer, there are parts of jobs where you participate in mini-games. One you'll be serving sarsaparilla to some very thirsty saloon patrons, another you'll be shaking Carmelita's booty, timing your button presses in beat with the music to distract the guards. There's multiple hacking mini-games like Alter Ego, a side-scrolling 2D shooter; a tank game using both sticks, one to move and one to aim; and Spark Runner, where you tilt the Sixaxis controller to move a spark through a maze. The latter type of hacking mini-game can be frustrating, as the tilt controls are not the best.
During Sly Cooper and the gang's trip through the past, they will comes across Sly's ancestors, of which there is one in each episode to rescue and have join your merry crew of thieving animals. Each ancestor has abilities that make them indisposable, as they can reach areas that other characters simply cannot. For one, Tennessee Kid Cooper can fire his guns at both faraway foes and faraway targets to activate nearby contraptions. Meanwhile, the oldest Cooper ancestor, known lovingly as Bob, has the ability to scale icy walls to reach higher areas.
Riochi can use his Focus Jump to cross
over larger-than-normal distances.
|Ready... aim... fire!|
|"The Murray" can handle any physical job.|
While I was playing the game, I had a coworker ask me which game of the PlayStation 2 trilogy I was playing. He honestly couldn't tell that I was playing a PlayStation 3 game. That said, Thieves in Time is a gorgeous game, using a timeless art style with its cel-shaded. It gives its areas more pizzazz, and it makes the characters come to life wonderfully. The voice acting is also well done with clever dialogue thrown in to keep even the oldest of players entertained. Lastly, the music is a dynamic mix of styles that accentuate the platforming action well.
|Forsooth, my fine ring-tailed friend!|
[SPC Says: 9.0/10]