|System: PS Vita, PS3|
|Dev: Sanzaru Games|
|Release: February 5, 2013|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Alcohol Reference, Cartoon Violence, Suggestive Themes, Use of Tobacco|
by Becky Cunningham
We may have lost Spyro to action-adventure, adolescence, and what can only be described as a terrible case of draconic acne, but platforming fans can rest assured that no such fate has befallen Sony's Sly Cooper. Heralded by the release of The Sly Collection in HD a few years ago, Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time brings the Robin Hood of raccoon thieves back in his first new adventure since 2005. Although it's being developed by Sanzaru Games instead of Sly creator Sucker Punch Productions, Thieves in Time is sticking close to the original formula of the series, packing the game with loads of classic-style 3D platforming features.
Sly Cooper and his gang of animal assistants are dedicated to stealing from powerful bad guys, defeating their evil plans via skullduggery. The game picks up with the disappearance of one of the Cooper Gang's technological wizards, Penelope the mouse. Soon after that, the pages of the Thievius Raccoonus, Sly's family history of top-secret thief techniques, start becoming blank. Somebody is messing with history in order to wipe out the Cooper legacy, so Sly and his two best pals, Bentley the genius turtle and Murray the bruiser hippo, will have to bundle into Bentley's time machine to find Penelope and fix the past. Sly's relentless police pursuer and love interest, Inspector Carmelita Fox, is also on the case and will have her own playable adventure as part of the game.
Continuing the level design from Sly Cooper 2 and 3, Thieves in Time will feature large, free-roaming levels. The explorable environments are said to be about twice as large as those in previous games, partly due to the inclusion of multiple layers to explore rather than just street and rooftop layers. Sly and the gang will be visiting a number of historical locations, with Feudal Japan, the Wild West, Medieval England, an ancient Celtic setting, and ancient Arabia seen so far. Each time period contains a Cooper ancestor, at least some of which will become playable once recruited by the Sly gang.
As usual, Sly will gain an ever-increasing arsenal of skills and tricks through the course of the game. In this game, costumes found in the various historical periods will give Sly special abilities, such as an archer costume allowing him to shoot arrows and an Arabian thief costume allowing him to slow down time. Some special abilities collected through the game will apply to Sly's playable companions as well as Sly himself, although the companions retain their own particular specialties. For example, Murray has taken up Demolition Derby, and the developers have confirmed that there will be a related minigame available for the hapless hippo.
Thieves in Time is one of Sony's PS Vita Cross-Play titles, so players can swap between playing on the PlayStation 3 and the Vita, sharing the same game save between the two devices. While playing on the PS3, the Vita can also be pointed at the screen and used to locate hidden treasures in the game world. These treasures are findable without the Vita; it's just an option for those who want some help with their treasure-hunting.
That help could be useful, as the game is packed with more than enough collectables to drive a completionist mad. Along with the abilities granted by the collectable costumes, the player can unlock new permanent abilities for Sly and company by collecting hint bottles and cracking safes with the codes they contain. Hidden Sly masks scattered through the world give the player a reward for every five that are collected. Sly also appears able to steal specific treasures that are then displayed on a wall in the Cooper Gang Hideouts.