Sly Cooper makes a great comeback
Published: Thursday, March 7, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 7, 2013 09:03
The Playstation family has many recognizable faces in the gaming community.
From “Killzone’s” Helghast army to Jak and Daxter to Ratchet and Clank, Sony has given gamers an assortment of memorable characters over the years.
One of these icons is Sly Cooper, a thieving raccoon alongside his two friends Bentley (an intelligent green turtle) and Murray (the brawn of the gang). Together they form a team of master thieves who steal purely from criminals.
Sadly, a new entry to the “Sly Cooper” series has been absent for nearly eight years until “Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time,” the fourth title in the series, made a surprise appearance in June 2011, breathing new life into the Sony icon. However, rather than Sucker Punch (the same development team behind Playstation’s “inFamous” franchise) helming the long-awaited sequel to their “mischievous raccoonus” series, a small team named Sanzaru Games took over the project. This team not only worked on the “Sly Collection,” but before they were officially hired to create “Thieves in Time,” they already began creating their own “Sly 4” because they are enthusiasts of the franchise. In short, Sony liked what they saw, which led to “Thieves in Time” evolving into a Sly Cooper game developed by fans, and it shines in Sly’s latest adventure.
“Thieves in Time” picks up after the events of “Sly 3,” where the gang is living their separate lives. Our charming hero Sly Cooper and feisty INTERPOL officer Carmelita Fox are still together, Bentley and his girlfriend Penelope remain a couple of geniuses (literally), and Murray is understandably a pro in the world of demolition derbies.
However, things become curvier than Sly’s cane when Penelope cryptically disappears along with the words from the Thievius Raccoonus – the book containing the secret thieving techniques of Sly’s ancestors. Using the time machine Bentley began constructing near the end of “Sly 3,” Sly and the gang travel back through time in order to unveil this strange occurrence.
Sanzaru does a fantastic job maintaining the signatures of the “Sly Cooper” series.
The soundtrack still retains the classic jazzy music of the series while adding variety depending on which time setting you are in. Even the original voice actors make a return for their lovable characters, exempting Carmelita’s, but it is ritualistic at this point for her voice actress to change with each iteration.
Animated cutscenes return to the series as well. Although the art style’s vibrancy and details is not as visually pleasing in comparison to Sucker Punch’s works, the cutscenes still look great and involve plenty of animation from characters. Once you have watched a particular cutscene, you may view them any time in the start menu. You can even recap Bentley’s elaborate plans, which are always a delight to watch.
Every character in the game has terrific designs except Carmelita. Not only is she “sexed up” with skimpier attire, but she has apparently not eaten a sandwich since “Sly 3.”
The series still garners its cartoon cel-shaded visuals all while running at a buttery 60 frames per second, which brings up the game’s biggest fault: load times.
The game’s visuals are charming with its comic book style, but it is by no stretch graphically demanding. The excessive load times are quite noticeable, especially since once a job is complete, you are automatically taken back to the hideout where the longest loading times come from exiting the hideout.
Seriously, I should not have time to skim through Twitter and Facebook for the latest news in the wonderful world of gaming.
Scattered throughout the five time zones you will venture through are various collectibles. These entail the series’ traditional clue bottles to eventually unlock safes, treasures for extra coins and masks to unlock extras for use in the game.
Once the roughly 12-hour story is complete, you may travel back to any location and finish acquiring any items missed during Sly’s stealthy endeavors.
However, finding these items is no picnic. Each of the five worlds are expansive enough to make finding the items a challenge and a half to obtain, adding some meaty replay value to the game.
Many of the game’s extras are located in the gang’s hideouts. Here, you will use coins - which are earned in a number of methods - to purchase necessities from ThiefNet. These items consist of new moves, upgrades to characters’ skill set, upgrades for gadgets and more.
If you have a Playstation Vita, “Thieves in Time” comes with the Vita version of the game for free, allowing you to use cross play and continue the game on the fly. If you simply want to play on your console, the Vita acts as an AR Server, a second screen displaying the locations of hidden treasures.