This is my 300th review! Woo! I have been writing reviews for about five years now, and like you all know, I decided to review the Sly Cooper franchise. Overall, I have both enjoyed and hated my experience with the franchise. I like the third game, but am mostly "meh" about the other games. Here I am now with the fourth game, and well, what do I think of it? Is it the best game in the series or is this game just as low as the most pitiful of street rats? Read on to find out! This is Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita.
The story is, of course, about Sly, Bentley, and Murray getting back together to start the good old-fashioned life of stealing. Unfortunately, something is going on with Sly’s all-knowing book, the Thievius Raccoonus. The history of Sly’s ancestors is vanishing, and the three don’t know why. Bentley then comes up with an idea to go back in time and find out why the history of the Cooper Clan is vanishing. As they go along on their adventure, they find out that the villain of this game is a skunk named Cyrille Le Paradox, voiced by Nolan North. It is up to Sly and his friends to help his ancestors take down Paradox and his gang of villains to save the timeline.
The overall story is still highly enjoyable. The characters that you meet and face in the game have chemistry, and they work well off each other. They even got the original voice actors Kevin Miller, Matt Olsen, and Chris Murphy to voice Sly, Bentley, and Murray. Carmelita Fox once again has a new voice actor in the form of Grey DeLisle, who does a great job portraying her. The developers even got good voice actors on board for other characters in the game like Steve Blum, Patrick Seltz, Yuri Lowenthal, and Fred Tatasciore. The villains this time are much better than the last game. Even if some of the jokes are corny and a bit silly, I had a constant smile on my face when I heard each and every corny joke when playing the game.
The gameplay in the fourth game is basically everything that you loved about the past games, shoved into one well-designed package. You play through the game as our main heroes Sly, Bentley, and Murray as you go through the entire game in different time periods to help Sly’s ancestors and see what the heck is going on with the time periods they are in. You can also play as Sly’s ancestors, who each have their own individual moves to help complete different missions. There is no multiplayer to be had here, but there are treasure chests to open, time challenges, and other things to keep you coming back to each of the game’s levels. The best part of the game’s variety is that each of the characters have little improvements that actually make it fun to play as them. It doesn’t feel like a burden to play as any of the characters since they still have their own quirks, but can still be as versatile as Sly Cooper and his ancestors.
The levels, oh boy, do I love these levels. They are well designed, have personality, and do not overstay their welcome. Bentley’s mini-games are cool, since they are designed like old-fashioned arcade games, and are not just carried over from the last game like his previous mini-games that were carried over from the second game and put into the third game. This just feels like the overall perfect Sly Cooper game. It takes everything you loved about the previous three games of the franchise and multiplies those aspects that you loved times ten. It might not take you 100 or more hours to beat, but it will take you around eight or more if you want to complete everything.
Graphically, this game is beautiful. The art style has much improved, and everyone has more character than ever. By the third game, the engine they were using was looking dated with block models and stiff animations. Everything here just looks so much better than the past games, and that isn’t just because of the console. I just think they did some refinements to the overall art style that makes it look new and rejuvenated.
The voice acting, oh man, I just adore the voice acting in this game. Sanzaru actually picked up that you can have a budget for voice acting and not just reuse the same voice actors over and over again. They did, of course, bring back the original voice actors for Sly, Bentley, and Murray, but as I mentioned before, brought in some big-time voice actors that you have probably recognized from other video games and cartoons. I think one of my favorite voice actor choices is Grey DeLisle. If you have seen her as Mandy from The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, Azula from Avatar: The Last Airbender, Catwoman from Batman: Arkham City, or The Ice Queen from Adventure Time, you will recognize her. She just fit Carmelita’s character so well that I wish they had chosen her for the previous three games. Once again, Peter McConnell returns and does an amazing job with the soundtrack. It is just a great presentation.
So, what is wrong with the game? Well, let us start with the motion-control mini-games. These are probably my least favorite mini-games, where you need to use the six axis motion-controls in the PlayStation 3 controller or use the motion-controls in the PlayStation Vita. They are the worst parts of the game, and I’ve never had fun with any kind of motion-control Sony has tried to shove into their games. Thankfully, they didn’t put it into every exclusive they had. I also found the final boss fight to be a little weak, but it’s a minor complaint since I can see why they designed it like that.
One of the biggest complaints I have about the game though is the character development for Penelope, Bentley’s girlfriend. I did not like this part of the story, since I personally felt like this shouldn’t have been a plot point in the game since this kind of plot point had been used twice now in the franchise. She has gone through a disguise with the "black" motif where she is either the Black Baron or the Black Knight, and Sly doesn’t even think to remember that this has happened before. I guess I would have liked it if she was being forced to work for the main bad guy, but I just thought that this part of the story was one of the only sour notes within the game. The other big complaint I have is that I wish there was more to the Sly Cooper ancestors than just one single move that makes them different, since they pretty much play just like Sly. You would think playing as the very first Sly Cooper ancestor, who is a cave man and is rather large, would make him a much more competent fighter, but that isn’t the case.
Final Verdict: Sly's best adventure yet!
Well, I finally found a game in the franchise that I really enjoyed all around. Besides those minor motion-control issues and the Penelope storyline, I really loved this game. If you haven’t gotten this game for some reason or another, buy it. It is easily the best Sly Cooper game out there right now. I think Sanzaru Games did a much better job in making a well-rounded experience with the franchise, and I hope they tackle the franchise more in the future, since you can count on me coming back to it again and again. Thanks for reading!