“Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time”, a PS3 platform-based game, is a long waiting sequel to “Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves” which came out on the PS2 in 2005. It is a single player game but there are some multiplayer aspects to it.
The story follows Sly and the gang trying to figure out why parts of the Thievius Raccoonus are disappearing along with Bentley’s girlfriend, Penelope. Using the time machine Bentley and Penelope built, the gang set off on another adventure. Along the way, the gang encounters Sly’s distant relatives and acquires costumes that give him certain powers like the ability to slow time with the help of a staff in the Arabian level. The villain, Le Paradox (hint, hint), is taking the staffs of Sly’s ancestors and making his own legacy by erasing Sly’s. The standard clue bottles and treasures make their appearance once again with a new addition of masks. These are just another set of collectables that give you costumes in the options menu. The levels are very well done and the gameplay is good as well.
For those Sly Cooper fans that waited long and hard for next game in the series, you got your wish. Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time is for you. Those same fans that wanted a good story with a bit of the same funny characters got their wish granted as well, sort of. Now, those same fans that wanted closure or a clear ending will be disappointed. There wasn’t a hint of a clear ending in the last few minutes of the game. The story was not terribly written but they could have done better.
Considering the fact that Naughty Dog had nothing to do with this new sequel made me worry. I loved the three previous games and when I heard that there was going to be a new Sly Cooper, I assumed I would be getting more of the same. I would have Sly explaining his backstory, again. I would have Bentley and Murray questioning themselves in their role with Sly, again. And I would have random set of villains trying to revive that freaking bird, Clockwerk. This is what I get for assuming. Never assume.
A company called Sanzaru is responsible for this game and I wish they would have just followed in Sucker Punch’s footstep with the story. The story is only real fault I found with the game. The gameplay and graphics are a different matter altogether. Though I should stress that if your selling point for a game is that is has “pretty graphics” and a “wonderful backdrop” of whatever kind of scenery, then you need to find a different selling point. Graphics, while important, do not make a game. It is a part of a game. But going to back to my original point; the story just left me with a lot of unanswered questions. Not only that, but it brought up questions that I did not think needed to be asked. For example, in the fourth level of the game, the gang finally encounters Bentley’s girlfriend, Penelope, that has missing since the game started. Whether you know or not, she was with Bentley at the end of Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves and disappeared at the beginning of Sly 4. When Bentley sees her, she is working with Le Paradox, the villain, building his weapons and posing as the Black Knight. Everything happens for a reason. And with that being said, why in the hell would Penelope work with Le Paradox after being happy with Bentley for so long?
Considering the dramatic moments of the game (as dramatic as you can get with Sly Cooper) there should have been some fight, argument, or at least a conversation as to why she left. The reason we are given as to why she left after Bentley beats her, like with giant robot sock-em-boppers, is that she never believed in “Honor Among Thieves” and that Sly was brainwashing him.
What? That’s the best you have? After a whole game, with the best ending out of the three, you tell us that you never believed in the one thing that the whole gang was fighting for and that you just wanted Bentley to go to the dark side? That’s a load of crap. That was question that I had in my head from then on until the rest of the game. Why did she do that? I thought she was happy but she was just fooling us all. And the end of the game did not help with that
At the end of the game, we are left with Le Paradox jumping off of his flaming blimp, beaten, with Sly’s parachute only to caught by Interpol and Sly gone. He was not in the wreckage so we can safely assume (There I go again…) that he made it off but did not let anyone, not even his close friends, know where he was. That just about pissed me off at the end of the game. But that was one thing.
The gameplay and difficulty was definitely kicked up a notch. With the previous game, it would not be such a bad thing if you got into combat with the smaller enemies. I did that a lot in the previous games as I was a smaller, younger, version of myself and just wanted to beat the crap out of all the guards and collect the coins. In this game, you are punished for that. The enemies hit harder and are that much smarter when you get in their very small line of sight. My advice is that you just sneak on by. There will be some missions that will agitate you with their heightened difficulty curve but it still is a fun game.
The graphics are what should be expected from a PS3 though the way the characters were drawn is still something to get used to. Also, I would like to know how short they are going to let Carmelita’s clothes get and still let her be a cop. A miniskirt is a bit ridiculous for Interpol.
In short, “Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time” is a well needed snack for the waiting hunger fans have had for a new Sly Cooper game. But that’s what it is; a snack. There needs to be some roughing out of the edges with the game like answering all the questions that the game gave us, but all of the comparisons aside, it still is a good addition to the series.