Back when this game first came out I was really excited for it. I’m still not sure why as, I’ve still only even played this and the Thievius Raccoonus (despite owning the collection) but I was. I even bought the Ratchet and Clank Collection for the demo (need to beat those too) and when it came out I played it, liked it, shelved it and haven’t touched it since. Until just last week since when I got it I played it on PS3 but now, I own a Vita and since you get the Vita version free with the PS3 version I decided I might as well try it out. While recently I have only played the Vita version I do remember some bits of the PS3 (and I’m fact checking with the PS3 version) so let’s get on with the review!
If you’ve played a Sly Cooper game you’ll understand this. Of course I’m assuming they didn’t change up the formula for the second and third then go back for the fourth. Basically you are a raccoon named Sly who comes from a long line of thieves and when his parents were killed he was sent to an orphanage where he met his now two best friends, Murray and Bentley. The love interest is a police officer named Carmelita (who apparently changes voice actresses every game) and each episode features multiple levels which feature playing as the 4 of these characters and they all play differently with Sly being able to sneak around easier, Bentley has a wheel chair allowing him the hover and he has a couple other gadgets, Murray is slower but far stronger than the rest and Camelita has her gun. There is a fifth option however. As you can see the title has “Thieves in Time” in the title. What this causes is teaming up with Sly’s ancestors from 5 different time periods and areas around the world. Each mostly plays like Sly (with the exception of “Bob” the caveman who plays closer to Murray) with an exclusive move that fits their personality/time period.
The story is Sly and the gang notices the Thievius Raccoonus is starting to go blank so Bentley builds a time machine that allows them to find out why. They learn someone is kidnapping Sly’s relatives and they have to rescue them. While not the most complicated story I am leaving spoiler parts out and the story does work. I’ve only played one other Sly game so I can say the levels flow a lot better than “just random places the key is hidden” and don’t need a story to help them any better.
Now issues. I found I was getting frame rate issues. I didn’t remember this when playing the PS3 version so I went back and checked a few areas I knew it appeared and they were fine. I also found some of the level designs to be a little bland. There was a lot going on in them and a lot of hidden stuff to find but I just found I didn’t care to explore and would go from job to job as quick as I could. Another issue, although not directly related to the gameplay, is the ancestors themselves. When you meet Bob in Ice Age Australia (yes the ice level takes place in Australia) he speaks some gibberish with all his lines subtitles, Sir Galleth in medieval England speaks using old English but the rest speak English. Sure Tennessee should being from the wild west but Riochi from Japan and Salim from Arabia both speak perfect English (with accents and Rioichi adding -san and saying commonly known Japanese words) and I wish they’d speak their native language subtitled like Bob. They wouldn’t even need to change the story as the gang somehow understands Bob perfectly fine and he understands them. My other issue is sterotyping. The Wild West guy is a bank robber, Japanese runs a sushi shop, Medieval is a knight. These don’t sound like the best thieves in history, in fact Salim is the only one who seems like he would be because he runs a criminal syndicate.
The graphics are decent. Nothing special but not bad. I has a cell-shading style graphic style that looks nice but often I noticed weird clipping issues with the Cooper’s jaw bones going up too high or not opening wide enough. I also noticed this happening on some bosses (specifically The Grizz) and it was pretty distracting. Also as mentioned in the gameplay section there were frame rate issues in the Vita version but nothing seemed all that taxing on the system.
Again decent but nothing special. My favourite song on the soundtrack is on the title screen (although it also plays during the final boss fight) and I also like the song that plays in the wild west but other than that most the songs are pretty mediocre. The voice acting I have an issue with though. The voices are fine but the characters like to talk a little bit during gameplay if there’s more than one out (or sometimes they talk to themselves or brag to enemies or something) and normally I don’t have an issue with this in games but if they start talking before a cutscene (which happens a lot) it sometimes doesn’t cut out their bragging and has them talking over the cutscene.