Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time Review (PS3, PS Vita)
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A faithful send-up of cartoon humor and polished platforming, Sly Cooper's long-awaited return keeps things fresh with astounding and compelling variety.
- Creative stealth platforming in vibrant worlds
- Endless variety and surprising gameplay mechanics
- Witty dialogue and cartoon humor
- Lackluster music
- Narrative missteps
- Derivative skills and upgrades
(continued from previous page) ...England. This cel-shaded tapestry is woven together with impressive animations and a near-flawless framerate. As a result, Sly's latest adventure is a cartoon production in the purest sense, perhaps more so than any game before it. To this end, character design is uniformly superb; Thieves in Time's boss enemies may not be the most compelling in the series, but they are certainly the most visually interesting.
The musical composition of Thieves in Time is less impressive. I've never associated the Sly Cooper franchise with particularly memorable soundtracks, but I frequently noticed the absence of compelling music during my time with Sly's latest. In any production of narrative importance, music should be used to feed a sense of urgency, boost suspense when appropriate, or – at the very least – play some small part in engaging the player. Far too often, boss fights, foot chases, and moments that should be high-octane fall mostly flat, either because I can't hear the music, or it's too low-key to care. That's not to say the game's soundtrack is universally bad; indeed, many of the game's retooled jazz compositions are quite good. They're just not used properly, and an overreliance on the jazzey nature of previous entries harms crucial plot moments more than it helps general exploration. Thankfully, witty dialogue and not-so-subtle innuendo contribute to a fair helping of laugh-out-loud moments throughout the game. Thieves in Time may not be the funniest entry in the series, but it certainly holds its own.
I hope Sanzaru Games is proud of what they've accomplished with Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time. What could have been a crippled imitation of former platforming glory is a faithful sequel that succeeds in bringing a beloved character to the high-def era. More importantly, Thieves in Time is a great deal of fun, and takes the series to bold (and unexpected) places. This new frontier isn't always a smooth ride, but you'll be glad you made the journey.
The PS Vita difference
--Ben Shilabeer-Hall, PSU Staff Writer
Thanks to Cross-Buy, the PS Vita version of Thieves in Time comes bundled with the PS3 version. As such, there aren't many gameplay differences to speak of. Some control features – such as using the motion sensor to balance or using the front touch screen to swap costumes - are exclusive to PS Vita. At times, these control changes can frustrate, though it's mostly a matter of adjusting between versions. The PS Vita version, while lacking some texture detail, still looks gorgeous on the OLED screen. The framerate keeps stable even in very dense, action-packed areas, but you'll notice drops from time-to-time.
The game also supports Cross-Save cloud syncing, which allows you to save and load game data instantly on PS Vita and PS3. This works exactly as advertised, and offers a seamless experience (with shared Trophies!) wherever Wi-Fi or 3G follow you. You can also use your PS Vita to find treasure in the PS3 version using an Augmented Reality feature. We had trouble connecting to AR servers pre-release, though we expect that launch day buyers will have no trouble.
Ultimately, the PS Vita version of Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time is a fine accompaniment to the console release. Given that the two are bundled together (for only $40!), there's no reason not to buy the PS3 version and get both.
Note - PSU recieved the PS3 and Vita review codes from SCEA.