It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Sly Cooper, Sucker Punch’s dashing yet likable thief, who first made his debut on the PlayStation 2 long ago. Sony was kind enough to bring him back in The Sly Collection for PlayStation 3 a while back, and now he’s returning with an all new adventure, Thieves In Time, which makes its debut in stores and on PlayStation Network today. But the game doesn’t just focus on the Thievius Raccoonus this time around – he has some help.
Thieves In Time, produced by Sanzaru Games (the same studio that handled the conversion of the original games in Collection), focuses on Sly and his team journeying back in various eras to stop a mega-villain from changing the course of history in their favor. Along the way, he’ll encounter a number of his ancestors, who take a part of the action, along with the rest of Sly’s team.
Yep, Sly Cooper: Thieves In Time actually has some balance this time around. You’ll still be doing plenty of sneaking around with the master thief, but you’ll also control his ancestors, each of which bring a special new move to the table for you to take advantage of. Also along for the ride are Bentley, the brains of Sly’s operation, who gets around on a motorized wheelchair and hurls bombs; and Murray, the getaway driver who’s also quite good when it comes to pounding enemies with wrestling moves.
Sly’s quite handy when it comes to getting around levels. As he could in previous games, he can grab onto ledges and other sparkling items with a press of the circle button, which let him climb up to higher areas or stand on pistons to reach ledges that are otherwise out of his range. He can also attack enemies with his cane, whether he strikes them with swinging combos or does a sneak move to fling them in the air and send them flying to the ground. In addition, Sly is rather handy for pickpocketing (such as for keys or coins), and is a master of disguise in the opening stage’s Samurai costume, which lets him gets by guards with ease.
We won’t list all of Sly’s ancestors for this game (that would be spoiling it a little), but we will talk about Rioichi, a sushi chef who Sly first stumbles upon in the opening stage of the game. He’s just as nimble as Sly, able to jump from point to point with precision, and carrying a cane very similar to his. In addition, Rioichi also has a dash jump, one that lets him leap across large surfaces that Sly couldn’t otherwise cover. It’s also useful in a pinch, especially if you’re standing on an uneasy bonsai tree that’s ready to dump you off of it. Other ancestors will have their unique gameplay skills as well.
Bentley may be in a wheelchair, but he’s certainly not worthless. He can perform melee strikes by spinning it around, and also hurl bombs at enemies to knock them out cold, as well as destroy gates and other obstacles in his way. But with him, it’s all about the technical savvy, as you’ll see in the opening episode. He knows his way around a good hack, utilizing both a computer bug that shoots in multiple directions (using old-school twin stick controls right out of Smash TV) or focusing on rolling an electronic circuit through some boards (utilizing the DualShock’s SIXAXIS rotation). He can also activate a remote control car to record conversations, and also disguise it as a chicken, or use rockets to destroy objects in its way.
Finally, there’s Murray, who’s in a league by himself. He’s capable of pulling off some spectacular moves for a guy his size, including a stomach slam that hurts all enemies within range, and swinging fist attacks. In addition, he can throw items with utmost precision (perfect for deactivating switches or putting sushi in a faraway basket), and, when the situation calls for it, he can really pull off the “hot geisha” look (no, we’re not kidding) to fool an army of guards. This results in the start of a music mini-game where you have to time button presses to the beat of a dance song.
All of these gameplay styles come together quite well for Thieves In Time, and the fact that the experience remains the same across the board – for both PlayStation 3 and PS Vita – is great. You can also Cross-Save with ease, in case you feel like taking your heist act on the road. Best of all, you get both versions for one low price — $40 – through the Cross-Buy feature. Now that’s a steal, as Sly would put it.
Sly Cooper: Thieves In Time is available now for PlayStation 3 and PS Vita.