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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Review: 'Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time' - Better Than Ever

The story behind the creation of Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time is an interesting one. Sanzaru Games, being the massive Sly Cooper fans that they were, grabbed a dev kit and created a demo level for what they thought should be the next Sly Cooper game.

Once this level was complete they took it to Sucker Punch Productions, the original creators of the Sly franchise. With heady anticipation they waited for the review - and it was great. Beyond great actually. Great enough that Sucker Punch Productions gave them full control of the next game in the franchise we all thought was dead.

That next game would be titled Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time.

Thieves in Time starts off where Sly Cooper 3 ends. Pages of the Thievius Raccoonus begin disappearing and its up to the team to figure out what's causing it. The only true way to discover its origin is to go back in time, changing the course of history and saving the Sly legacy along the way.

You'll head back in time with the classic gang (Sly, Bentley, and Murray), picking up new allies along the way. I don't want to give the story away by dropping names, but each time period has their own Cooper persona that you'll be introduced to.

What makes Thieves in Time the best Sly Cooper yet is the attention to detail. Not only in the crisp platforming gameplay elements, but the art direction, classic dialogue, and set pieces as well.

Platformers tend to have their issues with controls. Whether it's poor character detection or camera issues, it's rare that a platformer actually performs all that well. This isn't the case in Thieves in Time. The folks over at Sanzaru Games really nailed it. There were very few times during my initial playthrough where it felt as if my failure was due to poor controls. Moving in and out of stealth works flawlessly as well, with every character having their own abilities that never fail to produce.

Each level is fairly open world, giving you the freedom to pick up all the collectibles scattered around at your leisure. You can pickpocket enemies, collect coins to purchase upgrades, and retrieve treasures hidden throughout as well. What I'm trying to say here is there is a lot to do outside of finish missions as quickly as possible.

Take your time. Enjoy the worlds. There's a lot of detail asking to be loved.

Everything you love about the previous Sly Cooper games has made their return. Sly Cooper's stealth moves, Bentley's mini-games, and even Murray's ability to smash objects and talk in third-person are included. The witty, sarcastic dialogue is more present than ever, and each character is brimming with personality. My only real complaint is that it can be somewhat repetitive.

Thieves in Time is a massive homage to the Sly Cooper legacy, and one that fits oh-so-nicely. What Sanzaru Games has done with the fourth game is worthy of high praise. Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time is a must-play game, especially if you're a fan of the franchise. It's also only $39.99, making the deal that much sweeter.

Update: I completely forgot to mention what is quite possibly the greatest piece of Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time - PS3/Vita Cross-play and Cross-buy. By purchasing the PS3 version you are given free access to the Vita download. All you have to do is upload and download your saves from the Cloud and you can play your save file across both systems. It's a beautiful application. It also helps that Thieves in Time is a fantastic game on the Vita. So much in fact that I find myself playing it on that instead of the PS3.

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