- Sony PlayStation 3, Vita / Rated E10+ / $39.99 / released February 2013
- OFFICIAL SITE: slycooper.playstation.com
- PURCHASE LINK: Amazon
- FINAL: You NEED this game. 5 out of 5 stars
Bargain-priced, packed with play, and suitable for all ages, “Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time” is everything a family of gamers could want. Following a gang of cartoon animals across history, the game pits noble, Robin Hood-ish thieves against scheming, world-dominating criminals. The story zig-zags between “Ocean’s Eleven” heists, broken heart romances, and fond buddy comedy, almost as if watching a full season of a modern animated television series.
The action begins when Sly and his pals discover Sly’s treasured family heirloom – his “thiefing” manual – is vanishing, one word at a time. The villain Le Paradox is behind it, stashing his cronies across time to steal the secrets of Sly Cooper’s long line of thief ancestors. From the dawn of time to the Wild West, Sly heads back in time to save his family members, re-learn their tricks, and challenge Paradox’s series of criminal lieutenants.
Beginning with Feudal Japan, the game tees up a nice mix of free-roaming platforming and mission-based objectives. You are allowed to explore each city in search of hidden treasures and collectibles, while picking away at the storyline-focused goals that take you deeper inside each area. The environments are finely detailed, but always in service the game’s animated cartoon ascetic.
Being a thief, Sly Cooper relies on sneaking, crawling and hiding. He is acrobatic and stealthy, able to climb up drainpipes and leap across parapets while escaping detection by the roving enemy thugs. Sly’s entire gang is playable, but “Thieves in Time” wisely concedes that Sly is the fun one. Genius hacker Bentley, amiable tough guy Murray and crackshot cop Carmelita each play very differently, but are usually kept to specific missions. Sly is the only one who can reach all the secret areas, so you’ll be running around as Sly most of the time. As Cooper ancestors are introduced, they become playable within their own locales; as you might expect, they’re just slightly altered versions of Sly.
“Thieves in Time” scales wonderfully between the younger gamer who just wants to do missions and the older player who needs to collect every single hidden object. The game helps you along with frequent level checkpoints, and you never “run out of lives.” The game’s most difficult areas are boss fights that require some old-fashioned pattern memorization, but even those are checkpointed so you do not have to replay wide portions of the game after a failure.
The PS3 version and the handheld Vita version of “Thieves in Time” are identical games. In fact, Sony has implemented an online cloud function that lets you transfer your progress from one to the other. This allows you to play the game on your PS3 at home, and then pick it up again on your Vita at exactly where you left off. You need to own both versions of the game, of course, but every PS3 copy of the game includes the Vita version as a free bonus.
Although priced considerably under most new videogames, “Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time” is not compromised in any way. It masterfully strides the line between ease for kids and challenge for adults, all driven by well-developed characters and a fun, theatrical storyline.
This review is based upon product supplied by the publisher. “Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time” is available for both PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita. Image courtesy Sony Computer Entertainment America.