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Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time (Vita) Preview

Nick Tan
GENRE Platformer 
DEVELOPER Sanzaru Games 
E10+ What do these ratings mean?

Looks like a great steal on both platforms.

Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time surprisingly looks and plays a little better on the Playstation Vita than on the PS3. I mean, it's the same game for both platforms, but the cel-shading looks cleaner on the smaller screen, and the touchscreen and motion controls are intuitive and fun.

It's a Sly Cooper game, so stealth and platforming are a given, and the demo was divided between the two with a pair of levels. One was a circus level focused on platforming with an archery component. A funny little reference by the developers has Sly trying on a Disney Robin Hood costume to enable the bow and arrow gameplay, complete with cap and pheasant feather. The fired arrows carry a rope behind them that quickly becomes a high wire, and cannon blasts also help the circus atmosphere.

The other level, focusing on stealth, put players in control of ninja Rioichi, who employs a leaping ability that allows him to jump long distances from ledge to outcropping to statue, all the while avoiding the gaze of the lantern-bearing guardsman and picking their pockets to get key items and coins. An array of lasers and electrified floors, noise-making rats, breakable plates, and security cameras with spotlights on them all intensify the stealth difficulty.

Though the smaller screen means less real estate, controls on the Vita feel tighter. Certain actions mapped to buttons on the PS3 are touch-based on the Vita which are more intuitive. Similarly, guiding the arrows in flight with motion controls was more fun than using an analog stick, though both worked in the context of the game. There were times in both, though, where the exact direction I needed to go wasn't entirely clear, and I had to swoop the camera all around until I found the right path (or fell off a ledge) which interrupted the flow of gameplay, but this was a minor annoyance at worst.

Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time is looking sharp, especially on the Vita, and looks like it might be one really great example of Sony's cross-platform play mechanic betwen the Vita and PS3. The gameplay changes between the two platforms are minor, but make sense in context and in the Vita version, seems to have enhanced it.

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