Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time • Page 2

Time and time again. 

The same can be said of the game itself. Following swiftly on the heels of Sly 3's story, Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time takes up the tale as Bentley's time machine whirs into life and the pages of the Thievius Racoonus are scattered throughout history; a neat excuse for some diverse dioramas, with feudal Japan playing host to the demo.

It's the same as before, but oh-so-slightly different. Murray and Sly, the two playable characters in the brief platforming section shown, have been subject to subtle and affectionate redesigns, Murray's generous figure being rounded out and Sly gaining a film star’s jawline.

Likewise, the gameplay has that warming aura of familiarity, though it's underpinned by some thoughtful tweaks. At its heart it's the same light blend of platforming, stealth and puzzles; Murray and Sly are split apart at the beginning of the demo, and the player must switch between the hulking, muscular Murray and the more agile Sly in order to progress through a level that's abuzz with devious and deadly contraptions.

One of Sanzaru's own additions to the Sly Cooper mix spices things up a little. Costumes, previously used to serve the stealth elements of the series as disguises, now harbour special powers. Two are on show: one, a thieves outfit, slows down time, its powers exploited in a gentle temporal puzzle, while the other, a suit of armour, slows Sly down but makes him immune to fire.

Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time isn't out until 2012, so expect more news before then. Including, perhaps the reveal of co-op and persistent XP. Boo!

That suit is exploited in a boss battle, a show-stopping duel that again sees Sanzaru playing it close to the original script. Sly faces off against El Heffe, a cigar-chomping tiger voiced by a Nolan North in a particularly campy turn, the multi-tiered scuffle showing an impressive level of scale.

The one-on-one encounter starts atop a burning tower - here's where that suit of armour comes in handy - with El Heffe coming at Sly with waves of attacks, as well a barrage of quips which show that Sanzaru has also mimicked the series' comic patter well. A swift platforming section segues to a second encounter with Heffe, with the tower crumbling all the while, before it's finished off with some close-quarters melee.

As a spectacle, it doesn’t have the oomph of many of its Sony stablemates, but it does show a wise respect for a series that's still held in high regard. Christian, in his review of Sly Trilogy late last year, said that Sly 4 would have a lot to live up to. Sanzaru’s Sly is living up to its heritage well, and while the developer's reluctance to tamper suggests that this will be a retread, after six years' absence, it will be a very welcome one.

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Martin Robinson

Martin Robinson

Features and Reviews Editor

Martin is Eurogamer's features and reviews editor. He has a Gradius 2 arcade board and likes to play racing games with special boots and gloves on.


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