Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time Preview
Sly Cooper is a well respected name in the world of gaming; specifically, the realm of platformers. Most will quickly recognize Ratchet & Clank and Jak and Daxter, but we can’t forget that the mischievous blue raccoon was involved in some fine adventures during the PS2 generation. In fact, many will argue that the Sly Cooper franchise never got its just due in terms of sales, although most critics usually responded positively to a new installment (plenty of solid scores). Maybe that’s why it has taken so long for Sly to return…
But whatever the reason for the delay, the wait is almost over. Sanzaru Games will deliver Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time in early February. It was initially slated to arrive this fall but has since been delayed. I’m good with that, because it doesn’t have to clash with the autumn heavy hitters, and this sort of niche title could definitely use a bit more breathing room. The cool part is that Thieves in Time is coming to both the PS3 and Vita and from what I’m hearing, both versions are shaping up to be fantastic. And don’t forget about that Cross-Buy promotional program!
So Sly and his little band of thieves is back – that includes Bentley and Murray – and they’re ready for a new time-traveling quest. As it turns out, the Cooper family’s book of master thievery, the Thievius Raccoonus, is literally disappearing; the words are falling right off the pages. So before the legacy is gone forever, the shadow masters must travel through time and reestablish the legend. This new world will be twice the size of any environment found in a previous title, and the developers are staying true to the franchise’s coveted roots: Stealth, platforming, exploration, puzzles, and a bit of sweet, fluid combat.
One of the more interesting facts is that we’ll play as multiple characters in the game. Each episode will introduce you to a new Cooper clan member, and each boasts “unique and powerful abilities that open up a whole new range of gameplay.” So for instance, in the Ninja Spire Landing level, you’ll check out Roichi Cooper, who was first seen in Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus. The master wasn’t playable, though, so it’ll be cool to finally give him a whirl. He’s got the Leaping Dragon technique, which lets him go long distances in the air, but that’s hardly his only effective ability. I wonder what the other characters will be able to do…
As for the differences between the PS3 and Vita versions, you can anticipate the same game content-wise, but as you might expect, the controls are a little different. You’ll be using the touchscreen and tilt functionality on the Vita and as always, it’s critical that those nifty handheld controls are reliable and don’t necessarily dominate the experience. A few other interesting points— The two version will share the same Trophy sets and the same save file. So in other words, if you’re playing on the PS3 and you’ve got to leave the house, you can pick up right where you left off on the Vita. And that’s all the more feasible with the aforementioned Cross-Buy deal.
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time will be ready to go on February 5.
10/22/2012 Ben Dutka