Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time sneaks its way to the top

William Voorhees, Staff Reporter

Have you ever wanted to commit some form of theft, but didn’t like the serious implications of going to prison?  Then Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time is exactly the game for you.

Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time is a stealth/platformer game developed by Sanzaru Games and published by Sony Computer Entertainment.  It is the fourth instillation in the Sly series.

In Thieves in Time, you once again follow the antics of Sly Cooper and his gang, which includes Sly, Bentley, and Murray.  This time around, you have to travel through time in order to restore the legacy of the Cooper Clan, who are at the mercy of a mysterious villain known as Le Paradox who also has the technology to use time travel.

While going back in time, you get to meet many of Sly’s ancestors, ranging from a ninja master in feudal Japan to a caveman during the ice age.  Each one of Sly’s ancestors has an ability that only they have mastered which cements their difference in skill from Sly; no matter how similar they may look to him.  Sometimes though, Sly gains an ability that is very similar, but has its own uniqueness.  An example of this is the ability to shoot arrows compared to Tennessee Kid Cooper’s ability to use a gun.  While the gun and bow are both used as weapons and to hit targets from afar, the arrows can have their trajectory changed after you shoot them and they can also be used to form a rope to walk across.

In addition to Sly’s ancestors and their unique abilities, Thieves in Time offers a handful of changes from the first three games in the series.  One of these is the removal of the gadget grid, which only allowed you to use three gadgets/special abilities, for a more natural inclusion of these in the control layout.  Another difference is a slight change in character design that flows perfectly with the game’s cel shaded graphics.  At first, the new designs seem strange, but after playing for around ten minutes they seem just as good, if not better, than the old character designs.

While the main theme of the game is thievery, there are many other types of missions to make the game play more diverse.  These include things such as sabotage, reconnaissance, and hacking.  Each character has a general set of skills which aid them in different mission types.  Sly is better at stealth based missions where you need to remain undetected, Bentley  usually covers missions involving advanced technology and explosives, and Murray is better at missions which require an immense amount of strength.

Thieves in Time only has a few issues that detract from the experience of the game.  The first is the load times.  If the game has to load something, you might find yourself waiting for twenty to thirty seconds.  This is really no big deal though if you played the earlier entries in the series.  Another issue is the difficulty.  While the Sly games are not really known for being that challenging,  Thieves in Time can feel too easy at points, offering only a little bit of challenge to players.  The last issue is occasional glitches.  There aren’t that many glitches in the game, but when you run into one, it can be rather frustrating.  One or two of these glitches can hinder your progress through a level until you finally overcome it.

Overall, if you like platforming, cel shaded visuals, and PS2 related nostalgia, then you will love Thieves in Time.  While it has a few issues, none of them really affect the experience of playing too badly.  If you are new to the Sly series, I would recommend picking up the Sly Collection before playing Thieves in Time, but this is a great jumping off point in the series if you need an amazing current generation platforming game.