Review: Sly 4: Thieves in Time

I have changed my mind.  I put the Sly Cooper franchise in my Top Favorite Video Game Franchises list, fairly close to the top.  I was wrong.  If I hate half the games in the series, this franchise doesn’t deserve to be in that list.  On that note, I HATED Sly 4: Thieves In Time… though not nearly as much as I hated Sly 3.

The plot of Sly 4 is a bit convoluted.  It goes a little something like this.  Bentley, while researching Sly’s ancient family book, finds that the pages start disappearing.  Thus, he gets the gang back together to go back in time and find out what’s going on.  Turns out, there’s someone going through time stealing the Cooper family canes.  It’s a time traveling adventure as they try to solve the mystery and save the Cooper family.

Oh sweet heavens, where do I start with this story?  Problem 1:  Time travel is a really difficult plot to play with and this game doesn’t do it well.  It doesn’t matter all that much, though.  Nobody ever said these games had to be logical, just fun.  Problem 2:  The villain is pathetic and not developed well.  We hardly even know who the main baddie is until the last third of the game.  Problem 3:  The characters… You know what?  The problems with the characters deserve their own paragraph.

These characters are just shat upon throughout the game at this point.  Murray has gone back and forth on his acceptance of “violence” so much by now that it’s almost a joke.  Bentley has gotten smart to the point of obnoxiousness.  Carmelita’s no longer a badass cop and has become a fully fledged damsel-in-distress that doesn’t do much at all for the story besides getting kidnapped.  Sly is so cocky he might as well just be a giant dick.  Don’t even get me started with Penny’s stupid twist.  Maybe it’s me realizing what bad characters these are now or maybe the writing for these games have gotten horrendously sloppy.  Character wise, just about the only saving graces for the entire game were the ancestors, who I will talk about with the gameplay.

The gameplay for this game wasn’t as bad as Sly 3.  However, it wasn’t all that good either.  We still got multiple mini-game style segments that were used a maximum of 3 times before disappearing, which is maddening to me.  The platforming was good enough, though highly frustrating at points.  The ancestors, when they became playable, were welcome distractions in a sea of mediocrity.  They added just enough variety in the game play to keep it fresh.  They also all had fun and funny personalities.  Still, even THEY weren’t used to their full potential and weren’t enough to save this game.

Three last grievances:  First, the loading times for each level were atrocious.  Nothing more to say about that, really.  They were far too long.  Second, the final boss fight is ONE BIG QUICKTIME EVENT.  This is even more annoying when you realize quicktime events weren’t even USED in the game until that point.  It boggles my mind why the developers made it that way.  Third, the game ends on a cliffhanger…  No.  Just no.  I hate it when any game does that, especially when they’re not guaranteed a sequel.

This game was better than Sly 3.  However, when you compare two pieces of crap and declare one as being less smelly than the other, you still have two big pieces of crap.  With a confusing plot, terrible characters, mediocre gameplay, and TERRIBLE loading times, I considered this game to be a big waste of my time.  You could almost say I feel robbed of my time.  Time I could have spent playing something much better than this.

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