Sly Cooper Thieves in Time is on the cusp of releasing (again) and now there is demo to try out the latest installment in this fan favorite PS2 series. This demo is not the same demo that was included in the Ratchet and Clank Collection last year. That demo actually looks quite sub par in comparison to what you get here. This demo will lets you catch up on the events from the past three games and play the opening heist to the full game.
After you catch up on what Sly, Bentley, and Murray have been up to since Honor Among Thieves, you discover that the Thievius Raccoonus is losing pages from Sly's past ancestors. The only way to find out what is going on is go back and time and see what is causing these pages to go missing. To do this Bentley has created a time machine and the only way to use it is to have an item from the time period you want to visit on the machine itself.
This is the basic reasoning behind the heist the gang pulls off in this demo. It was extremely familiar to the opening level to Sly 2, due to the fact that it showed off how all three characters would play perfectly. The gang has to sneak into a french museum that is ridiculously protected in order to steal an ancient Japaneses sword. This sword is the first key they need to go back in time and go back to feudal era Japan.
Once everyone is at the museum the gang splits up and you start off by controlling Sly. You will immediately feel familiar to the controls as Sanzaru Games has done a perfect job at making Thieves in Time feel just as polished as a Sucker Punch Sly game. Playing as SLy offers the same sneaking and climbing moves you would use to get around in the past. As this is the opening of the game you will not really be challenged more than a few guards and spotlight, but this doesn't take of the fun out of things.
One of the best additions to the story this time around is the fact that Sly will actually have conversations with his gang and vice versa, instead of having to stick to cutscenes or binoculars before. Having different dynamic conversations as you play really adds a lot as you are sneaking around and makes you love these characters all over again. The talking doesn't just stop there either, your character will also talk to themselves about certain situations going on around them. This is very similar to how the Uncharted series and succeeds just as well.
After you finish scaling the museum and get in place as Sly, you switch control over to Bentley. Bentley still controls the same with a few new actions in the opening. He still has his rocket powered wheelchair along with bombs and magnet for stealing from enemies. Bentley can also still hack and this twin stick shooter mini-game has a few new power ups to keep things fresh. Hacking is no longer just move in a circle and shoot enemies until you reach your destination.
Lastly, you get to try out Murray and just like Sly and Bentley, Murray controls just like how you remember him. He still plays unlike any of the other two, since his sections act more like a beat 'em up game and this demo didn't showcase how he sneaks around like in past games. Sadly you don't get to play as Murray to long and his section is over right as you get the hang of things.
After the gang has gotten everything in place, Sly can now sneak down and steal the sword. Knowing Sly Cooper's luck though, he gets caught red handed by Inspector Carmelita Montoya Fox who also happens to be his girlfriend. This makes for a very awkward get away and you now make an escape for the iconic van. After narrowly escaping the team meets up in the van while still pursued and use to sword to activate the time machine. The demo comes to a close as the gang goes driving down the street at around 88MPH and shoot into a portal just like the iconic scene in Back to the Future (spinning license plate and all).
Not only does this this demo give you a good taste of the familiar gameplay, but also showcases the new level of polish the presentation has now. The cel-shaded look is back and never looked better with clearer visuals. This is easily going to be just like the PS2 games and hold up years later with its strong visual style. Animated comics also return with the same art style as before and bring with them a lot more detail and animation than ever before. While the in game cutscenes are fine on their own, it is hard to deny the charm these 2D animations have.
Thieves in Time overall feels extremely familiar to its past games and this is a good thing. It doesn't do what most series do and change the overall feel of the game as it enters a new console generation. So even if you are a long time Sly fan or was always looking for an excuse to start playing them Thieves in Time caters to both perfectly. This PS3/Vita demo was made available on the PlayStation Store for PlayStation Plus members earlier and is now free to download starting 1/29/2013.