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Review

Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time Review

  • Game release: February 5, 2013
  • Reviewed:
  • PS3

Graceful controls and well-designed levels make Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time another satisfying entry in the series.

by

Thieves sure do lead enviable lives. Not only do they get to explore exotic locales and caress exquisite treasure, but they can even mingle with their ancestors. Yes, in Sly Cooper's latest foray, he steals priceless artifacts while thumbing his nose at scientific law. Zooming through history's pages brings plentiful, and often welcome, diversity to this horological adventure. There's a continuous flow of tantalizing environments to wander through and crooked schemes to take part in, though there are times when this variety serves as a detriment. Graceful as Sly's thieving crew can be, when it comes to fisticuffs, they're nothing more than blundering buffoons. Nevertheless, Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time is a lengthy and exciting caper through the eyes of good-natured burglars.

The Thievius Raccoonus has served as a comprehensive account of the masterful exploits of the Cooper clan throughout history. As the brilliant turtle Bentley peruses this encyclopedia for information one day, he realizes that entire passages are being wiped clean. Who could so brazenly tamper with history? Bentley rounds up the rest of the gang--plucky Sly and the always hungry Murray would never turn down an opportunity for tomfoolery--and ushers them into his newly built time machine to investigate the cause of this historical whiteout.

No one blinks at this off-the-wall premise, and the humorous situations and dialogue ensure that the zany vibe continues until the game's end. Characters embody specific archetypes, which means they don't evolve over the course of the game, but their diverse personalities do a good job of creating a comedy well. Tennessee, Sly's cousin from the Wild West, represents cowboys well, albeit while only participating in family friendly situations. His false modesty and aw-shucks charm around women is a sharp contrast to his "best of the West" boasts when apart from the fairer sex, and it's amusing to see him do an about face. Salim is the funniest member of your assorted crew. Muttering sarcastic complaints under his breath, he reluctantly scurries up poles and across treacherous traps while pining for his forsaken retirement.

Sly must travel to five places throughout time, ranging from ancient Japan to a prehistoric ice land, to fix his ailing family tree. Each episode sports a massive hub world that's much more than a link between stages. These areas are littered with enemies, collectibles, and all manner of hidden goodies, and scavenging for all the mysteries is one of the greatest joys in Thieves in Time. Yes indeed, there are plenty of tangible rewards to strive for. Racing back to your hideout with a valuable urn adds more coins to your bank, allowing you to unlock new maneuvers, and nabbing every stray bottle unlocks the secrets hidden within the safes. But there's inherent pleasure in scouring the landscape that goes beyond completing a checklist. Keen eyes and deft maneuvering are required to reach the most elusive treasures, so there's an irresistible delight in exploring every inch of the land.

Bentley loves to flaunt his high-tech wheelchair.

It's in these zones that you learn how to slink through shadows and balance on precarious ledges. Sly is an adept leaper who sees the ordinary construction of a city as a beckoning playground. Guide wires and poles call to him like inanimate sirens, and you jump and run through these environments with smooth elegance. Once airborne, you can latch on to surfaces with the tap of a button, though the suction doesn't remove platforming skills. You still need to be relatively accurate to land on your target, so once you master movement, you can rush through ancient streets without a worry. Dance along rickety poles, sprint across a perilous wire, and then land behind a bewildered henchman. Creep behind your prey (complete with the appropriately sneaky music), pluck gold from his tantalizing purse, and then vanish before he senses your presence.

Such espionage is one of the core pleasures luring you in, but Thieves in Time often struggles to balance the carefree joy of movement with appropriate difficulty. Punishment is no more than a slap on the wrist, so there's little fear of being caught red-handed. If a guard happens to lay eyes on you, it takes no more than a leap and a dash to hightail it from your pursuers, and though the brief chase is sure to make your pulse race, being able to so easily escape diminishes the satisfaction of careful thieving. When you reach later sections of the game, guards are more alert and trickier to deceive, and such attention makes you appreciate the deft controls and intricate level design that make escaping so enjoyable. But the enemies are ill-tempered scarecrows early on: quick to anger with little fear of repercussion.

However, it's when combat is necessary that Thieves in Time takes a serious step back. Whether you're knocking enemies with your cane as Sly, shooting from afar as Carmelita, or going fist-to-face with Murray, the forced conflicts land with a dull thud. There's little sense of impact or danger when enemies become feisty. Just slam on the appropriate buttons, collect the plentiful healing power-ups downed enemies invariably cough up, and repeat the process until you're the last one standing. Such situations are present no matter which character you control, though the encounters are so brief they're just a speed bump on a long and winding road. But when you assume the role of Murray, it's nothing but bash bash bash. These are the weakest portions of the game, making your time-traveling hijinks momentarily hit the skids.

You take control of a bunch of characters through the course of the adventure, and all of them have their own ways of dealing with problems. Sly's under-evolved ancestor Bob may not be the most articulate mammal around, but he can climb sheer cliffs without breaking a sweat. Rioichi prefers more graceful endeavors when he's not rolling sushi. He leaps across vast expanses with spry determination, serving as the most gifted of Sly's athletic relatives. And then there's Tennessee. Though not a standout in maneuverability, he's a crack shot with a gun. You meet, and control, one of Sly's relatives in each episode, and each visit to the past also gives you a new costume. Whether he's tossing his ball and chain as an escaped prisoner or deflecting fireballs as a samurai, Sly has a wide assortment of different moves to play around with.

Bentley may be the most unpredictable of the lot. Being confined to a wheelchair doesn't slow him down at all. With rockets affixed to the wheels and robotic arms coming out the back, Bentley's enhanced chair allows him to keep pace with Sly's thieving crew. Hovering across treacherous pits and tossing explosive darts empowers the eager turtle, but it's when hacking is necessary that Bentley gets to show off. Short minigames that are shallow but enjoyable let you open locked doors without a computer science degree. A side-scrolling shooter, a motion-controlled maze, and a top-down tank blaster offer a counter to the sneak-and-steal core action, and they wrap up before they overstay their welcome.

Carmelita doesn't break a sweat even when she's surrounded by angry apes in the desert.

A scheming boss waits at the end of each episode, and it's in these showdowns that the combat finally shines. These pattern-based encounters require fast reflexes to survive, and they do a good job of layering the difficulty without providing a crushing leap from the relatively easy levels. Each boss has a similar way of fighting. They send out unblockable waves of attacks that you must avoid before the bosses tire themselves out, leaving them open for some retaliatory blows. It's a formula that has been around for decades, but that doesn't diminish the appeal. Comedic exchanges keep a smile on your face, and a few gameplay surprises shake up any predictability.

Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time doesn't mess with the foundation set by its enjoyable predecessors. Rather, it adds an assortment of characters to the mix, each with his or her own moves, and this makes for an exciting and diverse adventure. Each location provides a number of eye-catching sights to please your artistic senses as much as your fingers, and considering all the collectibles to uncover, you can spend hours exploring this colorful world. There are occasional stumbles, but Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time is another good entry in the platforming series.

The Good
Intricate and diverse levels
Each character has his or her own appeal
Lots of collectibles to unearth
Colorful, striking artistic design
The Bad
Tedious combat
Easy difficulty diminishes the fun of thieving
7.5
Good
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193 comments
kishen95
kishen95

Still havent gotten this yet but I might pick it up soon, I waited YEARS for this game and its surprising how I still havent played it yet.

Latiran
Latiran

This is easily the best and most enjoyable PS3 game i have ever played so far, hell it beats all that adult garbage (COD, Halo, Gears of War, Resident Evil etc) by a mile.

VGF498
VGF498

It's astonishing that this game wasn't made by Sucker Punch, and yet you can't tell the difference between its original developer and the new developer, since the folks at Sanzaru were dedicated to making a game as equally good as its predecessors.

hellangel_boy
hellangel_boy

I'm gonna buy the game anyway, but if the game is easy as the review says....I think I would miss old days when you would die of one hit and can extend your life to take only 3 hits in Sly1........good old days.

symphony4flamez
symphony4flamez

What the fuck, a 7.5 for early game  easy difficulty? Might as well change the score of every god of war  and Elder Scrolls game a 5.0 then.

JangoF-76
JangoF-76

It's a next-gen Sly game (finally!)... this is a no-brainer. Already pre-ordered my copy.

Also, Sly games were never about the combat or the difficulty. And playing as anyone other than Sly was always a bit of a drag - but that didn't stop the previous games from being awesome, and I doubt it will stop this one. Can't WAIT for this!

Cronotimeshero
Cronotimeshero

Sigh this review seems like an out-liar to me as all the others I have seen as well as all the player reviews have been extremely positive. Guess that's why reviews are an opinion. In my opinion maybe have someone else review these games in the future.

Supabul
Supabul

I downloaded the demo, it looks like a PS2 game in HD

OneManDynasty81
OneManDynasty81

Once I saw Tom reviewed this game I knew he gave it a 7.5. Pretty much the score he gives every ps3 exclusive he reviews.

02050muh
02050muh

LOL..he would give this game Editor's Choice if it's on Nintendo system!!

DeViLzzz
DeViLzzz

I look forward to picking this up as it is the only action series my daughter wants to play. Hopefully it is some good fun for her.

chuckls
chuckls

Another great review..thanks Tom:)

PSPFAN14
PSPFAN14

If this was an XBOX exclusive I bet you anything they would of gave it a 8.4 or 9.0

Warsilver
Warsilver

Great review! It sums up the game pretty well.

painpas
painpas

Now that I am in the last of the 5 main worlds I think that this game is actually really good. If you are an old school Mario, Jak, Ratchet even Zelda player or familiar with the series this is a no brainer you're going to like this game. Be warned there are some I want to throw my controller or Vita moments so be warned. I will not spoil the wario ware lite suprise but man it will test your patience. Any fan though of Sly or this proper production to an old style game is going to LOVE this game VERY MUCH. Tons of personality, character development, and pure light hearted comedy. Truly a pleasure to play a platformer that is semi-mature in its subtly and fun. BUY THIS GAME because at the price it's a STEAL easily could have spent more on this game for sure. 

blaze_boy30
blaze_boy30

Good times going through the previous games. Can't wait to get this one on the Vita.

WoZe
WoZe

Never played slycooper until I tried this demo. Loved it. They should release a SC collection for ppl like me that skipped the others. I'll be getting this one anyway.

Morphine_OD
Morphine_OD

@tommcshea

 No mention of 40 bucks for a game BOTH on Vita and PS3?

marting265
marting265

Im playing it right now as we speak..and i love it..it brings me back..yea grpahics are not top notch but thats not the point in this game..for 40 bucks cant beat it..usually il trade my games back after i beat them but not this one..

jesuschristmonk
jesuschristmonk

Glad I got a PS3 around Black Friday. Can't wait to play this (just after I beat the other 3 @_@)!

LinkLuigi
LinkLuigi

#$%^ you PS3 owners! Damn I want this game!

jark888
jark888

I like this game for its unique charming artistic design, scores, atmosphere, voice acting, and characters.

LAnoirFAN
LAnoirFAN

as much as i love sly trilogy, i think they should to reboot it, i mean come on the gameplay won't be like this forever, i liked this game but it felt the Same.

ADO300
ADO300

can't wait to get this game =)

Rotondi
Rotondi

Looks like a modern Psychonauts 

Warlord_Irochi
Warlord_Irochi

On my wishlist, because I know I will enjoy it. not because of a review's number.

Ironic how you; those who complain for a stupid number, are giving that same number the same credit as a final word or a sentence.

I play the games I like. Don't care about number. Sorry for you if you can't do the same...

benbuckley
benbuckley

Good Review. I am unsure why people are unhappy with the score:

IGN = 8

Eurogamer = 6

Gamespot = 7.5

Seems like  consistent scoring from all sites

goldmask
goldmask

gamespot reviews ... gamespot staff hate sony


Nvzman
Nvzman

@Latiran Hmm... "adult" garbage?
Try playing Conker's Bad Fur Day, it was made for the N64 in 2001 but it is probably the best game I've ever played, and it certainly is "adult".

painpas
painpas

@02050muh Sadly... you're right. You forget how polished these PS2 platformers were. LOL! Nintendo do not make games with this sort of production value. I actually LOVE this game. 100% bottles, safes(obviously) and treasures. Just working on Masks and trophies. Excellent game overall. 

JangoF-76
JangoF-76

@WoZe How do you not know abou the Sly Collection? Buy it immediately!

Bgrngod
Bgrngod

@Rotondi Buh... how so?  They've both got platforming, but are quite different.

Slim_Lyrics
Slim_Lyrics

@benbuckley Try this for consistancy

Gamepro = 9.0

Gametrailers = 8.0

IGN = 8.0


It looks like GS and the other lower end sites are inconsistent.I personally don't care about the review. I tried the demo on my Vita and i freaking loved it. I'm planning to get it.

Xx_Kares_xX
Xx_Kares_xX

@benbuckley People are morons who don't know how to look past a simple number... that and the fact that a review is ONE persons opinion, not the over arching be-all-end-all evaluation of the product.

Warlord_Irochi
Warlord_Irochi

@goldmask That is why they gave GoW, Ni no Kuni, MGS4 and Infamous such good scores.

Does a low score here prevents you from playing the game? just buy it and quit crying, have COMMON SENSE!

some "gamers" this days...

painpas
painpas

@Bgrngod @PSPFAN14 This game is more entertaining and fun than any platformer on any console right now. GUARANTEE IT! LOL! This was a reminder that the PS2 platformers were polished and great. This game may not beat Sly 2 BUT Jeff Gertsmann underated that game however his reviews are somewhat consistent. He would rate a Mario game a 6 and would not give 2 craps what anyone has to say about it. 

goldmask
goldmask

@ClaudiusCaesar@Morphine_ODYou are right ... this site must be renamed to xboxspot

SixTwoOne
SixTwoOne

@Slim_Lyrics yes... McShea has minimal credibility at best.  Just read through the forums.  Kevin probably has to help him log into email and set out his clothes for the day.

goldmask
goldmask

@Warlord_Irochi for your feedback, uncharted 3 and ni no kuni get the lower score ever just on this fucking site ... Xboxspot

newkillerstar27
newkillerstar27

@Warlord_Irochi Yes but those are games specific to the PS3. Other games that have come out recently that are on both the 360 and PS3 that don't score well tend to be posted on the PS3 page and not the 360 page. For games that score well, it's the opposite. I don't know why Gamespot thinks of Sony as being second-rate, but it is very evident in everything they do. That's why I depend on IGN for a lot of my reviews. They don't crap all over handheld systems like Gamespot does either.

TomMcShea
TomMcShea

@ClaudiusCaesar @musalala @goldmask Did you miss the editorial I wrote ripping Xbox Live Gold? I have no idea where the idea that I favor the Xbox 360 came from, but it doesn't have any factual grounds.

markh117
markh117

@ClaudiusCaesar They love Xbox so much that most of the Game of the Year winners have been PS3 exclusives.  


Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time More Info

First Release on Feb 05, 2013
  • PlayStation 3
  • PlayStation Vita
Sly Cooper Thieves in Time continues to chronicle the adventures of the Sly Cooper gang from where Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves concluded. When Bentley discovers that the pages of the treasure Thievius Raccoonus book have begun to disappear in front of his eyes, he round up the gang in order to save the Cooper Clan legacy from being destroyed forever.
8.4
Average User RatingOut of 220 User Ratings
Please Sign In to rate Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time
Developed by:
Sanzaru Games
Published by:
SCEA, SCEI, SCEE, SCE Australia
Genres:
Action, 3D, Open-World, Adventure
Content is generally suitable for ages 10 and up. May contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
Everyone 10+
All Platforms
Alcohol Reference, Cartoon Violence, Suggestive Themes, Use of Tobacco