I was a little worried when I heard that the next Sly Cooper wasn’t being developed by the franchise’s creators at Sucker Punch, but honestly, if I had not been told that the game was being made a different dev, I never would have noticed — Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time plays exactly the way a proper Sly Cooper game should.
Sly has seemingly never managed to attain the popularity that platformers Jak and Ratchet got, but despite his lower-key stature (suitable for a thief, I suppose) he’s still managed to appear in a series of games that are just as good as (arguably better than) his higher profile brethren. Sly’s 3 adventures on PS2 were some of the best platformers made in the last generation, and while Sucker Punch has since moved on to working on the PS3 exclusive inFamous series, I’ve always wished that they would make another adventure starring Sly and company.
I’m not sure what Sucker Punch is doing now that inFamous 2 is finished, but the latest Sly Cooper game is being developed by the relatively new team at Sanzaru Games. This isn’t Sanzaru’s first experience with the franchise, however: they were also responsible for the excellent HD conversions on the Sly Collection.
It’s obvious that the team has spent a lot of time playing the old Sly games, because Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time plays almost exactly like the old games (this is a very good thing, by the way.) Sly still moves with pixel accurate precision, and is still capable of “sticking” to tight ropes or objects with the circle button. Of course, Sly’s learned some new tricks for the sequel: he can now change into different costumes, each of which gives him a new special ability. In the demo I played, Sly could change into a Robin Hood inspired outfit that gave him the ability to shoot arrows. The arrows trajectory could be manipulated in mid-air by tilting the PS3 controller or the Vita system.
The only problem I encountered with Thieves in Time was its camera system: every game needs a good camera, but platformers especially so, and at times it felt like Thieves in Time’s camera would automatically default to the an angle that made it pretty hard to gauge how far away the next platform was. It wasn’t bad enough to ruin the game, but the camera didn’t seem to follow Sly as well as it did in the old PS2 games.
Still, there’s still a few months before Sanzaru ships Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, so I’m hopeful that they’ll be able to iron out the game’s minor camera issues. If you have a PS3 or a Vita and are looking for a solid 3D platformer, keep an eye out for Sly Cooper’s big comeback this Fall.