Lucky us, we have been playing Sly Cooper: Thieves In Time for a little while now, and we finally found a bit of time to write a preview about the very beginning of the adventure, which includes the prologue and the first world in Japan. Because the weekend always brings good news, we've also added a couple of homemade videos for your eyes only. Enjoy!
Back in Business
After an HD remake released which is available on Bluray and PSN a little while ago, Sly Cooper is finally back for a whole new episode. The story picks up where we left off with Sly enjoying his retirement with his beloved Carmelita Fox, who used to chase him to put him behind bars. Enjoying, I said? Well, not quite. Soon enough, Sly starts to get really bored and the need to pull a heist resurfaces. Old habits die hard. Right about when he's planning everything, his old friend Bentley pays him a visit and tells him he's very worried about the disappearance of his girlfriend, Penelope. That's not all though, he also discovered that the pages of Sly's precious Thievius Raccoonus (which is some kind of family journal gathering all the info concerning the family heists) are changing or disappearing too. The team decides it is time for a reunion, and there is no time to lose. Indeed, someone is trying to mess up with the past, changing history and endangering the Cooper legacy in the process.
After a short summary of the previous episodes, the player finds himself thrown into a rather straightforward prologue in which he learns the basics of gameplay. If you are familiar with the franchise, you should feel right at home since we find the same mix of action, platforming and even stealth. The game also introduces several types of gameplay mechanics, depending on the character you play (more of them will unlock as you progress into the game of course). With Sly, you'll climb everywhere, you'll walk on tight ropes or try to stay away from the light, while Bentley will make a good use of his wheelchair to overcome the different obstacles in his way. His hacking abilities will also be handy, as proven in our second video with a few examples of the mini-games he will have to complete. As for Murray, well, the game more or less turns into a simplistic brawler, which is probably the part of the game we felt less enthusiastic about. The character is a bit awkward, which is no wonder considering his weight, and the lock-on system could use a bit of work.
On the sly
Because the story revolves around time travel, the trio will visit many different timelines, starting with feudal Japan. The first ancestor Sly meets is called Rioichi Cooper, but before you can free him, you start in the team's base of operations. There, you do a bunch of things, like buying new abilities for you and your crew (a paraglider, new combos, sleeping darts, etc.), or choosing to replay a completed level to find all the missing collectibles. There is even an old arcade machine which first needs to be fixed. We can't say what it's for yet, but we can assume it will allow to play the different mini-games once they are unlocked in the main story, or once the game is completed. Now maybe we are wrong, we'll let your know when we have finished it and when the review embargo is lifted. When you have selected the next mission, you are thrown into an open environment which more or less serves as a hub. There you can either look for the many collectibles hidden everywhere, or follow your main objectives (take a picture of different locations, find the different pieces of an armor, etc.).
Each level is also accessible via this giant hub, but of course, they are all built on a linear structure. Again, it's not any different from the previous games in the series. As we stated before, the gameplay mechanics will vary depending of the character you play, but also on the disguise you're wearing. Indeed, one of the new features of this new opus is the fact that you can now wear different costumes granting you new abilities. Your first objective will be to find a way to steal a samurai armor in order to infiltrate the prison and be able to free your ancestor without raising suspicions. Changing your costume is as easy as pressing the L2 button, so you don't need to pause the game and go through a fastidious menu system to do so. Later in the game, Murray will disguise himself as a geisha to seduce the guard and distract them. A nice tribute to music/dancing games such as Guitar Hero to name but one. The different characters also have specific abilities, like Rioichi and his leaping dragon technique, which allows him to jump from one spot to another in an instant. That's obviously the least we could expect from the famous inventor of sushi.
When people learned that Sucker Punch would not be in charge if this sequel, some fans started to fear it might go wrong. From what we have seen, Thieves in Time is really faithful to the franchise, and though we still have to play the whole game to find out if the added gameplay mechanics are all relevant, we have had fun playing the beginning of the adventure. As you can see in our videos, the game does not only play well, it also looks very nice. So if you like the genre and if you think there is a clear lack of cartoony platform games, then just stay tuned for more in the upcoming weeks.