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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developed By: Sanzaru Games
Genre: Action/Platform
Players: 1
Rated: E for Everyone (Alcohol Reference, Cartoon Violence, Suggestive Themes, Use of Tobacco)
Release Date: February 5, 2013
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Matthew Prunty

May 2, 2013 - The PS2 era was dominated by action platformers with the likes of Ratchet & Clank, Hal & Daxter, Mario, Crash Bandicoot to name a few. Another popular series and part of the Sony house was Sucker Punch's Sly Cooper. This new mascot and series released three epic adventures for the console before taking a much needed vacation to recharge its batteries. While Sucker Punch moved onto the popular inFamous series, Sly Cooper and gang sat in limbo with fans of the series wondering when they will see their favorite raccoon return.

Five years into the lifecycle of the PS3, Sony made the announcement that Sly Cooper would return.... but in a HD collection, which would see the first three installments updated to support HD, trophies and 3D support. The reason for the series return was due to Sanzaru Games creating a tech demo that both Sucker Punch and Sony loved, which in-turn gave them the blessing to bring Sly Cooper and gang into the new era of gaming. With another successful release on their hands, Sony finally announced what everyone wanted to hear; Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time was coming to PS3 and from Sanzaru Games. Many people had reservations about this team tackling the beloved series, but the team pulled it off and created yet another reason why Sly will always be in our hearts.

Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time provides the right mixture to introduce the series to a whole new generation of gamers, while at the same time satisfy the long-time supporters of the series. Before the game officially starts, you are treated to a video prologue that highlight Sly, Bentley and Murray’s adventures over the years and how everything lead up to crux of this adventure. So if you were unfamiliar with the series or simply need a refresher, it was provided to you to get you up to speed. The heart of this epic adventure however revolves around pages from the Thievious Raccoonus disappearing one after another, erasing epic moments and events within the Cooper clan’s history. Not sitting idly by, Sly and the gang transform Murray’s van into a time machine (a la Back to the Future) and sets out on their adventure to stop this mysterious villain, undo the evil deeds happening throughout time and keep from being arrested by Carmelita Foxx. The tone of Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time is light-hearted and the story is well told through unique platforming endeavors, funny and cheeky dialog and a plot that actually makes sense; though only within the context of the game.

While the first three installments in the series have been able to provide a bevy of locals to explore, the use of the time travel mechanism has allow the series to take on new life with new gameplay elements and locals that help bring a fresh new perspective to the series. The various locations you will traverse include the likes of the Wild West, ancient Middle East and even prehistoric times. Each era brings about a new character, secrets to uncover, new gameplay elements and a unique spin on the platforming genre. Each new character that you come across is an ancestor of Sly’s and becomes a playable character once freed from his entrapping’s. One example of this is Tennessee Kid Cooper, who wields a six-shooter and is from the Wild West era. The one symbol that ties all the Coopers together is the very useful cane, which of Kid Cooper, is built into the handle of his handy piece. When embarking on several of the smaller missions, you will be tasked with shooting out locks with Kid Cooper’s six-shooter, rail-grinding and saving a certain lovely lady.

Within each given era, there are a handful of mission that must be complete, while some take priority over others, they are all part of the larger end goal. Just like before, besides controlling Sly and his ancestors, you will also be tackling missions and tasks that will require the help from Bentley, Murray and even Carmelita Foxx. Beyond the normal recon missions that they will usually be deployed in, Bentley will have a slew of hacking missions where he must hack through a system, or deactivate security systems in order for Sly and the rest of the gang to complete their tasks. The hacking mini-games are well diverse and challenging at times, however it seems that they are a bit too frequent and they can become a bit cumbersome as you progress further into the story. You will also find the boss battles to be unique and challenging in their own right. It takes a bit before these epic battles reach the grandeur that you have come to expect from the series, but once it does, you are eagerly pleased with the results.

For those who have played previous titles in the series, you will be happy to know the same art style has made its return to the series. For those newcomers Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time adopts a cel-shaded graphical style to make the series more appealing to younger audience, expanding its userbase. The art style has become less and less popular over the years in favor of a more realistic presentation, but I have to say that it’s refreshing to see the art style still being embraced; especially by flagship titles. Each era has its own distinct design and feel through bright, vibrant colors and added detail.

The sound work within Thieves in Time is some of the best work ever from the series. All the original voice-actors for the series return to voice the main characters, while new additions to play the role of Sly’s ancestors are nice additions as well. Each character has his or her on unique personality, which shows through in the both the writing and on-screen action. The musical score is solid, befitting of each era you visit and harks back to the series beginnings.

The cross-buy tactic Sony has been employing as of late is very befitting this title. Purchasing the PS3 version of the game nets you the same game for the PlayStation Vita. While many may not own both platforms, it helps to provide a solid base of titles that will be awaiting your purchase of the handheld. What’s more interesting is that you can also employ cross-saves, which allows you to save you data, upload it to the cloud and then download it to your Vita in order to continue the experience while on the go. This tactic also allows you to acquire double the trophies. Whatever trophies you unlock on the PS3, will also be unlockable on the Vita version as well. Last, but certainly not the least, if you are all about finding all the collectibles in the game, you can pare up your Vita with the PS3 version of the game to help you locate hidden treasures.

For a generation denominated by shooters, it’s rather refreshing to see the platforming genre still alive and kicking. While this title doesn’t break the mold, it does provide a refreshing take on the series which brings about unique sequences and memorable experiences. The overall experience can take you anywhere from 8-12 hours to complete, depending on how your approach the game. If I have to say, developer Sanzaru Games has done an amazing job capturing the essence of the series of old in order to craft a new experience that all ages, all gamers old and new can enjoy.


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