Raccoons are awesome, they’re like cats but with cute masks and a sense of humour. They also apparently like to eat garbage, which probably means they’ll get a few good meals out of Sly Cooper: Thieves: Thieves in Time then OH SNAP.
Alright that’s not entirely fair, Sly Cooper Thieves in Time (repeating this is going to get annoying real fast, we’ll just call it TIT from now on) proudly wears the label of “kid friendly 3D platformer” and when looked at from that angle there’s nothing truly horrible or deal breaking about it. It’s just not particularly engaging, especially to an older audience.
The concept is simple enough, Sly Cooper is a raccoon and thief whose family heritage is being depleted by time travelling shenanigans. So Sly and his annoying turtle and hippo friends invent a time machine followed by his cop ex-girlfriend to fight unseen foes and restore his ancestors place in history. Basically it’s like Assassin’s Creed but with more yiffing, the game takes place in half a dozen open world locations through history as you play as the four above mentioned characters as well as the thieves in time (or TITs for short) and collect a lot of random crap.
Sly TIT really does live or die on your tolerance for collecting stuff, as well as your patience in general with tons of talking, long loading screens and pointless running around. It’s one of those games, the ones that feel that honoured that you chose to invest money in it that it stretches out its run time as much as possible to make you feel validated. After all, why make the player go and take a picture of one thing when you can make them take a picture of FIVE things, five is a bigger number than one and therefore takes a lot longer to do, and it doesn’t make it boring at all.
It’s a shame too because initially Sly TIT seems to have a lot going for it. The control of Sly himself is wonderful, his attacks and movement on the ground is solid and precise, his jumps are clearly defined and when it comes to precision jumping a quick tap of the circle button will hop Sly straight on the nearest valid ledge or object meaning there’s no frustration in getting around. The only real issue is when approaching enemies there’s this instantaneous lock-on mechanic which will trigger every single time whether you want to fight the enemy or not, it really gets irritating quick and slows you down when trying to get around on the overworlds.
Playing as Sly is just one part of the puzzle to TIT though, in an attempt to keep the variety up you can also play as his disabled turtle friend, the powerhouse hippo who can barely move or do anything other than punch stuff which makes every single one of his sections tedious, the lady raccoon who’s like Sly but worse and with a gun, and of course the rest of the TITs. Sly’s ancestors all control exactly like him apart from they have their own extra mechanic which only comes into play on the handful of levels you get with them. The constant character switching can get confusing after a while and you can forget who does what, it’s also annoying because the overworlds are clearly designed to be played as Sly as the other characters can’t get to half the places he can so they almost feel like a downgrade.
Sly’s main gimmick over other platformer series is the inclusion of stealth, which really don’t come into factor much in TIT other than the occasional mission that will instafail you if you’re seen. The AI is awful and doesn’t make any sense, but in a good way….if that makes any sense. Enemy sightlines and rules are clearly defined and never broken, you always know when they’ll see you and when they won’t, so unlike a lot of other games with poor and simplistic stealth mechanics Sly TIT doesn’t ever get frustrating because of bad AI.
The biggest issue with playing Sly as an adult is you have to accept the industry’s change in attitude towards the genre. Back in the Nintendo 64/PS1 era big budget first or second party platformers were big deals and stuff to get excited over, with games like Banjo Kazooie and Spyro 2 representing their consoles strongly. Then, it was about making engaging well designed and memorable games, these days first party platformers are there to keep kids quiet for as long as possible. And they do that by including loads of mini games, extra characters, upgrades and most importantly of all collectibles to keep the game going and going and going.
Sly is functional, mostly inoffensive and appropriate enough for children. Everyone else will just find it dull, every section goes on just long enough to be boring and eventually the gimmicks of checking every corner of the levels plus backtracking to pick stuff up gets old. Sly TIT isn’t a bad game by any stretch of the imagination, it is however a bland one that could have easily had a licence slapped on it and been a tie-in game, and with the lack of big budget platformers in the market right now that’s a shame.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.