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Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time Review

Paul Goodman | 12 Feb 2013 17:00
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Platformers aren't as popular a genre of videogames like they used to be, but when it comes to games like Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, it's a little confusing to see why. Featuring a wide variety of gameplay styles, minigames, and collectibles to gather up, Thieves in Time is a fun and relaxing platformer that's a nice deviation from the more serious and gritty game titles released so far this year. It may start to feel repetitive towards the later parts of the game, but its cartoony humor and accessible controls help make up for it.

Several pages of the "Thievius Raccoonus", an ancient tome full of master thief Sly Cooper's family history (and trade secrets) are disappearing, almost as if time itself is being rewritten. Sly, his friends Bentley (a genius turtle with a high tech wheelchair) and Murray (a pink hippo who really, really likes to punch things) figure out they'll need to do bit of time travelling to sort things out and restore the past. While adventuring through feudal Japan, the medieval era and the Wild West, Sly and company will meet up with his various predecessors and of course see if they can't nick a few precious treasures along the way.

If Thieves in Time happens to be your first foray into the Sly series, don't worry too much about having little clue as to who Sly and his friends are and what they're all about, as the game starts off with a very lengthy animated introduction explaining each character's backstory and their motivations for pursuing a life of crime and riches. This is actually the biggest drawback to Thieves in Time. You're going to have to sit through tons of exposition, as the game very much likes to tell you what's going on in the story rather than show you. Adding to the annoyance, Thieves in Time is also fond of reminding you how to perform certain in-game actions or abilities, even if you've done them few times before and already know how they work . But as overdone as those parts can be, there's still a certain amount of charm to each of Sly's time-warped adventures, and you'll get quite a few chuckles out of the Saturday morning cartoon-style hijinks Sly and his friends keep getting into.

Each of the game's levels are set up in a quasi-open world environment, filled with enemies to steal from and collectibles to hunt down, along with various "Jobs" that fill out the game's story missions. As Sly or one of his ancestors, you'll be able to jump, swing, and crawl your way across the game world with ease, as the game will highlight areas you can walk or jump on with blue sparkles and let you lock on to them with a simple button push. You'll still have to develop a good sense of timing for some of the more complicated bits of platforming, and on rare occasion wrestle with the camera to get it set to a good viewpoint. But thankfully, you'll hardly have any problems getting to where you need to go in any given mission, or sneaking up behind some unsuspecting guard and stealing all their cash. Thieves in Time feels very much like a simplified version of Assassin's Creed, only with far less stabbing and more grand larceny. There'll also be times where you'll play as other members of Sly's crew for several story missions or for exploring the game world, and while they quite aren't as mobile as Sly, have their own unique attacks and abilities, such as Bentley's love of hacking computers and Murray who, again, really likes to punch things.

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