Sly Cooper and his friends are back. It's been a good few years since the PlayStation's most famous cartoon thief has been in the game, however with pages of the Thievius Raccoonus, the family's crime bible, turning blank, it's time for him to come out of retirement and travel back in time to resolve this problem.
Obviously being a thief he'll be doing what he does best, stealing. This is all the more important since to use their makeshift time machine Sly and Friends will need an item from the period to which they are traveling. So you can expect to be part of plenty of sneaking around as you try to avoid being caught out.
The first level we're allowed to talk about takes place at the start of the game where you are reintroduced to Bentley, Murray and Camelita Fox. During this level you take control of Sly as he scours the rooftops, avoiding security as he tries to break into a museum and steal a rare Japanese artifact. This requires a great deal of stealth as you try to avoid spotlights, enemies and helicopters. Most of this sneaking requires quite a bit of dexterity as you balance on pipes and ropes in order to get to the goal.
Once you reach a certain part of the level, you'll then take control of Murray, which in turn sees you playing a small mini game in order to hack the museums firewall. Finally you'll also use the muscle of Bentley and his van in order to clear an escape route. Stealing the artifact which will then lead you on to Japan and other adventures in what is a familiar but fun platform experience.
The Japanese level mixes things up a bit more, at the beginning you'll be tasked with taking photos of certain areas and other objectives. This level is a lot different from the previous one, which was based in Paris. It also provides a lot more to find and explore. I gave my son a go but all he wanted to do was find the boat and jump in and out of it. Not much progress then, but at least he was having fun.
To help you throughout the game, Sly gains access to new costumes from each of the periods he visits, this gives him access to new abilities which in turn help you to get through the levels a little easier, there are numerous costumes to unlock, although these are pretty limited in the opening levels.
As well as the above, in between each level players will be greeted with a hideout. In the hideout you have the ability to travel back to previous levels and replay jobs, while you can also play mini-games, buy new combos and equipment and check out any items which you have unlocked throughout the game.
Based on the two levels we are allowed to talk about, Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time provides plenty of replay value. There's plenty of treasures to collect, while there are also clue bottle hidden around which allow you to unlock new abilities for your characters. The game seems to be pretty open world outside of missions, so when you are not 'on the job,' you can pretty much wander around wherever you want in order to find these collectables and strengthen your characters.
Unfortunately we have so far been able to test out the PS Vita version which is apparently identical to the console version. It'll include cross-save and even better comes free for anyone who purchases the PS3 version. It does run at 30 FPS but this shouldn?t take away from the experience too much.
With some fantastic voice acting and humour, as well as some of the most colorful graphics around, Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time is sure to appeal to players of all ages. It can be a little tricky in places, however first impressions suggest that this will be a game that's tough to put down. Only time will tell just how well it'll be received upon release, but so far so good.