Developer: Sanzaru Games
Release Date: 2/5/2013
Rating: Everyone 10+
Also Available On
The Sly series was one of the best on PS2. It was original, artsy, had slick controls, and clever humor that you could only find on Sony’s consoles. After Sly 3, the series went into limbo during most of the PS3’s lifecycle with no sign of a new game in sight. With Sucker Punch powering away at the Infamous series all fans lost hope. Thieves in Time was finally announced with much rejoicing, but once the game arrived everyone was scratching their heads. Why was this is a game almost identical to the previous three in every way shape and form?
If you’re familiar with the Sly games you know how this game plays out. 5 chapters of various different villains that the gang must take down. Each chapter starts with an intro from Bentley the turtle (the computer and tech wiz). After this Sly goes and takes pictures to gather recon for what to do next. As soon as I saw this in the first chapter I rolled my eyes. I knew I was in for another Sly game with the same gameplay we are now tired of. Sure it’s quality but I wanted evolution in the series. When I say nothing has changed I mean absolutely nothing. The same guard paths can be followed, pickpocketing, the same yellow flashlights, the same small confusing hubs with 30 clue bottles and a safe. You get the picture. However, the hubs aren’t as interesting to traverse and I completely bypassed collecting any extras as it felt like a chore.
That’s not to say every little thing is the same. The clever and witty humor turned into Saturday Morning Cartoon slapstick humor with jokes written by 8-year-olds. No longer do you find the darker humor that adults can relate to. I didn’t laugh or smile at a single joke or line of dialogue. This is especially sad since you go back in time to find 5 of Sly’s ancestors which opens a path for great dialog. Roichi is Sly’s Japanese Samurai ancestor, Tennessee Kid is his wild west ancestor, Bob is Sly’s very first ancestor from 10,000 B.C., Sir Gallenth is his medieval ancestor, and Salim is his Arabian Nights ancestor. These are actually interesting characters, but their personalities are limited by the poor writing. No longer is the banter between Sly, Bentley, and Murray something you look forward to at every cutscene.
I also miss the more clever gameplay segments, now we just get a ton of boring mini-games and quick time events. Hell, even the final boss is an easy quick time event fest. The most interesting part of the whole game are the bosses which are rather challenging and fun to fight. The only new addition to the entire series is the new costume abilities. These add a special set of skills Sly needs to get through some missions. Apart from this, you can expect the same controls even. It’s a crying shame for a series that is so dear to PlayStation fans.
With all of that said the game looks pretty damn good on Vita minus the occasional slowdown and the super long load times. Jumping from area to area was painful due to the 45 second or longer loading screens. Some gameplay segments were shorter than the actual load times. This really hurt the game as I set my Vita down to actually go do something while the game loaded. Long-term fans may either hate this game or love it. Newcomers will actually see it as a quality PlayStation title. As someone who has played the games since the very first one, I find it rather disappointing and almost a chore to play through.