For years, Sucker Punch has been taking the devious Sly Cooper through his paces, performing all the antics of a master thief, but without the need for over-the-top deviance.  His charm is part of his appeal, pulling off crimes while drawing in Carmelita Fox, the police inspector devoted to staying on his trail.  To this point, the only taste of Sly action that the PlayStation 3 has gotten has been in the form of The Sly Collection.  That changed this week as Sony unveiled the upcoming Sly Cooper: Thieves In Time, the continuation of the ongoing series, this time under the new development team at Sanzaru Games.

Before you freak out and worry that Sly will somehow fall off the rails, fret not.  Sanzaru has been taking some solid advice from Sucker Punch on how to make a Sly game right, and from what we’ve played in the demo thus far, it definitely doesn’t feel off at all.

The stage we played on the show floor featured Sly working his way through a circus scenario.  The stage is mostly played out as high-wire antics, so if you fall off you’re stuck performing a forced rewind so you can start back off at your previous checkpoint – a nice saving grace from needing to start your game all over again.

In the stage, you’re able to change your outfit at any time, to an alternate archer’s outfit.  This actually proves useful, as there are some points in the game that you’ll need to hit the circle button to draw an arrow and shoot it at either a non-moving or moving bullseye, depending on what part of the stage you’re in.

What’s cool about shooting arrows is that you can control them either with the SixAxis motion control or using the analog stick.  You can adjust an arrow’s path to the target, occasionally dodging objects like incoming cannonballs.

Once you do strike your mark, you’ll be able to traverse across the gap by walking along a high wire using classic sneaking techniques first introduced in Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus.  Simply hit the circle button and you’ll be drawn to the rope, walking along it like a pro until you need to get to the next checkpoint.  (You’ll need to watch out, though, as cannonballs come flying at you in this part of the stage as well.)

Along the way, you’ll also need to use your lock-on platforming ability to jump on trapeze swings and sneak around ledges.  It’s hardly difficult, as Sanzaru has done a great job modifying the classic Sly control set-up to work perfectly with Thieves In Time.  So far, so good.

The game also looks the part, with a classic cel-shading style that fits with what Sly is all about.  This includes his compatriots as well, like the ever-lovable getaway driver Murray.

Best of all, Thieves In Time will be coming out for both PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita, so players across the board can enjoy the game and transfer saves between both formats.

We’re definitely looking forward to checking out more of Thieves in Time when it releases later this year.  In the meantime, dream of thieving fun from Sanzaru Games until it arrives…