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Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time Review

Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time is finally set to arrive in Europe, months after our cousins in the U.S got hold of the game. I'd imagine anyone who was desperate to play will have imported this PS3/PS Vita platformer already but if you haven't, then should you bother to play it now?

Anyway, grumblings over the delayed release aside, 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.

We managed to test out both the Vita and PS3 versions of the game and it has to be said that they are practically identical. Starting off in a modern setting, you are reintroduced to Sly's long term friends Bentley and Murray as well as having a brief liaison with his lover and pursuer, 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, The Wild West and other more far out places in what is a familiar but fun platform experience.

In the Ancient Japan, you'll find yourself taking pictures of enemies in order to scope out the surroundings, before eventually disguising yourself in one of the many costumes you'll find throughout each period you visit within the game. Later levels are more fun, with the Wild West feeling a lot more open and bright and the Medieval England level allowing for plenty of arrow firing action. Unfortunately the costumes you acquire along the way are never really inspiring and despite the game's love of switching things up with different characters, allowing you to take part in mini-games and the like, things never really feel as fun as when you are using Sly himself.

The platforming itself is a simple affair, with Sly being able to leap onto anything which offers a glint of blue, allowing him to get around rooftops or scale ledges as he makes his way stealthily through each mission. As well as a wide variety of missions, there's also plenty of treasures to collect, while there are also clue bottles hidden around which allow you to unlock new abilities for your characters. The game seems to be a 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.

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. You'll also be able to spend cash here to upgrade Sly and the other characters, but again there is nothing very inspiring in this respect, other than a few new moves which are passable at best.

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. My younger son, who is three, certainly seemed to enjoy playing and grew quite attached to the character of Sly, however he did require some assistance in order to pass some areas of the game, which surprises me because I swear he is a more competent gamer than I am.

As mentioned, there is not much difference at all between the PS3 and Vita versions of the game, which is no doubt due to additions such as Cross-Save, which allows you to play on the go, then carry on playing at home if you so desire. This is obviously a fantastic function and it's one that hopefully more games will continue to make use of.

If you enjoy smashing up crates for gold, switching between characters and a bit of humour in your platformers, then Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time will no doubt appeal to you. There is also the added bonus that buying the PS3 version snags you the Vita version for free, which can't be bad. However part of me feels that something is missing from this game. I just have the nagging feeling that while most other titles have moved on since PlayStation 2, Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time is still a little stuck in the past. Sure those nostalgists out there may enjoy it, but there is something lacking about the ambition of this title, which is a shame because it could have been so much better.

(Version Tested: PS3/PS Vita)


- Colourful and fun
- Will appeal to kids
- Plenty of Humour


- Feels a little stuck in the past
- Costumes don't add much to the game

Edited On 20 Mar, 2013

( 4 )
Johno Muller's avatar
Johno Muller 4 years ago
I don't need a review, it's Sly Cooper, buying this regardless
Pyroloveridge's avatar
Pyroloveridge 4 years ago
Great review, would be nice to play a little sly for nostalgia reasons
0000000000's avatar
0000000000 4 years ago
top notch review ive got this on my rental list and i look forward to giving it a bash looks so much fun and nice and bright to keep my kids mesmorised for a couple of hours which is an added bonus for any parent :P
troublemaker's avatar
troublemaker 4 years ago
Considering it's £30 for both versions, it's a bit of a steal. But my concern always was the possibility that it'll feel a little behind the times. No doubt Sanzaru (?) done a good job with this game, but I truly believe that Sly Cooper belongs in the hands of Sucker Punch. They would have updated it well I think. Still, it's sly cooper. I'll be buying it anyways

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