The gang is back! The master thief and his lovable, surprisingly competent, companions, Bentley and Murray, are returning after a seven year hiatus. Sly Cooper fans, including myself, have been eagerly awaiting February 5th, as its been centuries since we’ve experienced a new Racoonus adventure. A new demo for the upcoming game was released during this week’s PSN update for Playstation Plus members. I updated the Playstation Store hourly, taking breaks in between my Ni no Kuni binge in order to get an early look at Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time. Finally the game had arrived and I demoed to my hearts content. I hadn’t seen much of the game aside from the trailer and maybe two minutes of an earlier demo. (I mean who likes to watch demos anyways…..) The demo was short. It lasted about thirty minutes and presented, what I presume to be, the opening of the game. For those of you who don’t know what the game is about, the demo is a nice way to learn.
We meet Sly in Paris, where he is half-heartedly enjoying his retirement. That is, until Bentley, the cripple turtle, arrives along with Murray, the simple hippo, with some disturbing news: Pages of Sly’s family bible, the Thievius Racoonus, are being erased. The solution: travel back in time and get the pages back! Bentley presents the first destination, feudal Japan, and informs the gang that they need an object from that period in order to travel back. This is where the demo comes in! Players control Sly, Bentley, and Murray through a series of very short and miniscule obstacles in order to steal some samurai dagger.
This game is trademark Sly Cooper. Sanzaru Games has done a great job of recreating the beloved series. The humor and style is there and it mirrors the original PS2 games perfectly. I barely feel like any time has passed between 2005 and now, as everything feels unchanged and utterly nostalgic. This is a great thing. Yet, I fear it will also hold back Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time from being a great game. I have a lot of great memories from the Sly Cooper games, Sly Cooper 2: Band of Thieves is one of my favorite PS2 games, but I don’t know if that means that they are necessarily great games. Sure, the franchise is humorous and hours of thieving will always occupy my heart. But can Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time succeed without the power of nostalgia?
As I played through the demo (Keep in mind this is just a demo….) everything felt very elementary. The combat felt easy and lacking in depth, the platforming and puzzle components were laughable, and the animations, although true to the Sly Cooper franchise, felt dated. I expect the full game to be much larger and have more options for gameplay and combat. However, I found myself disappointed. It wasn’t as enjoyable as I remember. Even with my super-fan background I didn’t feel the same joy I felt seven-eight years ago. Yes, it is just a demo, but I remember playing the demo for Sly Cooper 3: Honor Among Thieves a hundred freakin’ times!! (I beat up those guys in that lemonade bar over and over again!!)
(Yup…. This guy is back.)
The point of this is simple: If you’re a fan of the Sly Cooper series, pick up this game on February 5th. I know I will. However, remember that it has been almost a decade and gaming has evolved immensely. The nostalgia alone is worth the 40$ purchase(remember when games were this cheap?), but I can’t help but have my doubts.
Playstation Plus members should pick up the demo( It’s free). If you were already planning on buying the game don’t let the demo alter your decision. Let your nostalgia run free and embody that thirteen year old self! Don’t expect a game of the year; expect a homage to a series of games that defined many of our last-gen gaming experiences and was left dormant in our memories as a blissfully ignorant nostalgia.