When I got my PlayStation 3 earlier this year, it was mostly because of Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, a game I’ve dabbled in here and there, but just don’t have the time to commit to properly. However, all along, I’ve had my sights on Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, the long-awaited fourth game in the comically colorful sneakfest franchise that I’ve ate up since the PS2 days. Well, it took me some time, but I finally ended up nabbing a copy, along with Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection, several weeks back for a pretty good deal from GameStop, but I told myself I couldn’t play until I at least put Primal to bed. And lo, that also finally happened.
Right, okay. Thieves in Time picks up immediately after the final events of 2005′s Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves, so you best brush up on that game’s story details or you’ll be a bit confused as to why Penelope is not hanging out with her new boyfriend Bentley. Anyways, something is wrong with the Thievius Raccoonus, a book containing all Cooper history and secrets; words are just vanishing from its pages, forcing Bentley to get the gang back together and uncover who is behind the wrongdoing. This eventually leads to them using their iconic van, which can now travel through time thanks to some nifty enhancements by Bentley and Penelope, going back to different specific periods to rescue some of Cooper’s ancestors.
I’m actually burning through Thieves in Time as I’m wont to do with these types of mission-based collectathon sneak-platformers, now just starting in the third world, which is stuck in the cold, frigid Ice Age. There’s dinosaurs and penguins, so it’s pretty much like Pennsylvania right now. The previous two worlds were set in the Wild West and Feudal Japan, and you are basically given a large hub world to run around, collect things like bottles and Sly masks, return treasures to your HQ, and pick up missions. Or you can also just kind of run around and explore, which I like to do for a little bit before starting the first mission. Get a lay of the land, y’know. Find as many clinking bottles as I can because I must have all the bottles.
The original PS2 games were developed by Sucker Punch Productions, but the company eventually moved away from the master raccoon thief to shooting aliens with guns and men with superpowers. Thieves in Time was developed by Sanzaru Games, the same company that previously ported the original games into HD versions for a special PlayStation 3 collection. I might have to get those one day, despite already having all the games. Grrr, but Trophies. Hmm. Anyways, Sanzaru Games seems to have the right touch, as one might not even realize the switch in developers, as Sly Cooper runs, talks, and plays just like he always has, with a bombastic story, zany, anthropomorphic characters, and goofy one-liners and puns that many might sigh at, but I enjoy greatly.
Other than lengthy load times, I’m loving everything Thieves in Time is throwing at me. Well, maybe not the Grizz, just yet. But the missions are varied and short enough to gobble up quickly, and I can’t truly express the joy I feel when Sly jumps in the air and I press the O button and he instantly lands on a roof edge or wire or pointy thing. Sneaking is fun, as is pick-pocketing. You can go out into the hub world as Sly, Bentley, Murray, Carmelita, and one of the Cooper ancestors, regardless if they have a mission to attend to, and they all play very differently. Maybe, if anything, there are too many different special moves to remember across the slew of playable characters, plus Sly can put on time period costumes to perform additional actions. I like the jailbird outfit, because he can roll around on the ball and chain.
My plan is to get all the way to the final world and its final boss mission, and then go back to all the previous worlds to collect the remaining treasure, bottles, Sly masks, and locked safes. I collected all the stuff in the previous games despite not having Trophies to prove it, but I swear I did, and this one must follow suit. Perfect for putting on a podcast and just collecting leisurely. I suspect I’ll get there soon enough, as Thieves in Time does not appear to be very long considering I’m already halfway through it, but that’s okay. Quality over quantity, really. And the quality here is strong.