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YMMV / Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time

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  • Accidental Aesop: Don't trust people you meet online. This was how the Cooper Gang recruited Penelope, who turns traitor.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Everything related to Penelope in this game is subject to this: had she been manipulating the Cooper Gang for a shot at their vast wealth in the third game, only for Dr. M to ruin her plans and force her to stick around a bit longer? Is her love for Bentley genuine, or was she a Gold Digger who just wants to use him to become wealthy? Does her hatred of Sly (and Murray) stem from jealousy, or did she only grow to hate them because Le Paradox manipulated her into seeing them as useless? And is she a Fallen Hero with a chance of redemption, or was she Evil All Along who spent the third game as The Mole? Also, is she a yandere who wants Bentley for herself, or a sociopath who would dispose of Bentley when she's done using him?
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    • Kevin Miller (Sly's voice actor) has interpreted Sly's habitual return to thieving as being at least partially influenced by a desire for Carmelita to experience the kind of life he had as a thief.
  • Angst? What Angst?: Sly isn't too unhappy when Carmelita catches him stealing in the tutorial, putting an end to their relationship or at least making it much harder to maintain. Slightly mitigated by the fact that he and his gang were racing against time then, and he does worry a little about how he's going to make it up to her later into the game.
    Sly: (talking to himself) How will I explain this to Carmelita? Time travel? She'll never believe it!
  • Anti-Climax Boss:
    • Le Paradox. The fight with him is just a few easy quicktime events.
    • Bentley’s robot battle with Penelope was also ridiculously easy.
  • Author's Saving Throw: Carmelita’s voice was criticized in both the second and third games for not attempting to give her a Latina accent, something that’s been part of the character since the beginning. For this game they brought said accent back.
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  • Ass Pull: The reveal of Penelope's Face–Heel Turn comes out of nowhere nor fits what's been established. She wanted to eliminate Sly Cooper (and possibly Murray) for holding her genius boyfriend Bentley back, it being implied she only "loved" Bentley out of planning to use him for making billions in weapon designs and/or world domination, and is shown to be a massive scheming sociopath on par with Prince Hans from Frozen (2013). The previous game portrayed Penelope as a straight-up Nice Girl even compared to the other thieves Sly teamed up with, guilt-ridden when Murray was captured due to her plan, and despite seeing Bentley's genius firsthand only showed romantic feelings toward him after he rescued her from pirates. She even held a genuine crush on Sly for most of the game. Even in this game, Sly had retired from crime by this point and thus wouldn't be holding them back; in fact, Penelope giving time travel to Le Paradox causes Bentley to regroup the Cooper Gang and leads directly to Sly un-retiring, the opposite effect of what she supposedly wanted. While there was foreshadowing such as her disappearance prior to the beginning of the game and the mouse emblem throughout the level where the twist is revealed, nothing in this game or Honor Among Thieves hinted she's angry and bitter at the Cooper Gang instead of being held against her will and forced to assist Le Paradox.
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  • Awesome Animation: One thing that was praised was the fact that, unlike the last three games which used limited animation, this game actually has fully animated 2D cut scenes and they are quite fluidly animated to boot. Heck, before the game was released, a promo short was made just to show off the new animations.
  • Awesome Music: We get to hear a special heavy metal rendition of the intro!
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Carmelita. Some still considered her to be an Ungrateful Bitch who didn't warm up to the Cooper Gang until the very end. Others who weren't happy about her behaviour in the last game said she got Rescued from the Scrappy Heap now that she Took a Level in Kindness, started working with the Cooper Gang, and finally realized that she's similar to Sly, since they both fight for justice (albeit do so using different methods). A third group said she had every right to be upset at the Cooper Gang and Sly in particular since Sly deceived her through their entire relationship, which borders on "rape by fraud" territory, and that her turnaround toward them was the thing that was unwarranted. Then there are those who considered her a flat out Hypocrite, since she also lied to Sly about him being her partner, but she never gets called out on it. And that's not even getting into her redesign or her Spicy Latina traits being given more spotlight.
    • Penelope became one of the most polarizing characters in the series after what happened during this game. Her actions in Honor Among Thieves either justified her Face–Heel Turn in this game and retroactively made sense (her tenure as the Black Baron saw her doing rather extreme things to keep her championship) or she's the victim of sloppy writing on Sanzaru's part (detractors often point to Penelope's friendship with the Cooper Gang), with absolutely no middle ground in sight.
  • Breather Boss: The Black Knight, despite being a Sequential Boss, is considerably easier than both Toothpick and The Grizz beforehand. And unlike all other bosses in the game, their mission consists simply of the boss fight and nothing else, so it also qualifies as a Breather Level.
  • Broken Base: To say that this game split the Sly Cooper fandom in every conceivable direction is an understatement:
    • Carmelita’s redesign to a miniskirt and bikini top was incredibly controversial — some people had no problem with it, while others thought it looked completely ridiculous and indicated that Sanzaru only saw Carmelita as a sex symbol rather than a strong female character in her own right who just happened to be good-looking. The presence of the belly dancing mini-game from the last episode (which is both beloved and loathed by different camps) and her kidnapping at the end of the game didn't help with this discourse at all.
    • As entries above and below will tell you, some consider Penelope's betrayal to be a fitting development for the character given how she already had a history of being a villain in disguise, and some despise the twist for sinking Bentley's happy relationship with her and derailing her previous characterization completely. There's also a third camp who believes that the Penelope twist was an interesting idea in concept (for example, it could put Penelope in a unique position as a character, see They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot for more details), but that it was poorly executed in the game proper, coming off as a cheap twist for shock value.
    • Plenty of people thought that the game’s humor stuck the landing and that it feels just like the old games, while others thought it was corny at best and childish and cringeworthy at worst. Similar thoughts were given towards the game's writing overall due to it being a tad looser in tone compared to the last two games.
    • The game's art style has also received more flak in the years after release—while some consider it a natural evolution of the Sucker Punch trilogy's style and beautifully constructed and detailed, others consider it tacky and unappealing compared to the more clear and angular comic-inspired visuals of the first three games.
    • While general reception to the gameplay itself was positive, there are some who derided it for being floatier and less precise than the snappier controls and movement from previous entries.
  • Contested Sequel: As the statements above and below can attest to, you either think Thieves in Time is a worthy followup to the first three games or an utter disgrace to their memory. Not helping matters is the fact that the game ended on a massive cliffhanger that Sanzaru confirmed wouldn't be resolved anytime soon, as well as the more vocal hatedom the game has received over the years.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Of all the ancestors, Tennessee Kid seems to get the most love due to his Crackshot technique, his improved rail-sliding ability, and his incredibly enthusiastic, gung-ho personality.
    • Sir Galleth seems rather popular with the fans as well, thanks in part to being an enjoyably bombastic Knight in Shining Armor.
    • Sheriff Toothpick is one of the most popular villains in the game, in large part due to his Ax-Crazy nature, his Ugly Cute design, and his accent and lines.
  • Fan-Disliked Explanation: Even many who don't write off the twist are dissatisfied with it treating Penelope's Face–Heel Turn as their being Evil All Along due to completely contradicting their characterization prior, believing it would be more plausible and interesting if they slipped into villainy between games.
  • Fanfic Fuel: Since it is unlikely that a fifth game will be made in the foreseeable future, it has become quite common for fans to write their own explanations for Penelope’s betrayal, along with undoing or retconning the Downer Ending.
  • Fan Wank: Penelope's Face–Heel Turn. Fans have tried to handwave it by saying that they are either brainwashed or a clone.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: As you can guess from many of the other entries here, fans don't want to acknowledge Thieves in Time as canon anymore for the cited reasons below.
    • When it was confirmed that Sanzaru are not working on a sequel, many disappointed fans began to claim that the series ended after the third game; not because they hated Thieves in Time, but because they didn’t want the series to end on a massive cliffhanger/Downer Ending. The original trilogy, in marked contrast, ended on a high note that resolved all of its plot satisfactorily by the time that the credits started rolling, but still left room for And the Adventure Continues and further interpretations with Bentley's development of his time machine.
    • Some dismissed the game because of Penelope’s Sudden Sequel Heel Syndrome, and the resulting Ship Sinking between her and Bentley. These same fans also retcon her as either Brainwashed and Crazy, or an evil clone.
    • Other fans refused to acknowledge the game at all, believing that even without the Downer Ending it failed to live up to the original trilogy, often pointing to its weaker writing as well as some gameplay issues.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • As awesome as Tennessee Kid’s Crackshot attack is, it does take away any form of challenge if you find yourself surrounded by guards.
    • The Thief costume gives Sly the ability to slow down time. This rather simplifies the treasure fetch quests, in which a treasure item must be returned to the Cooper Gang’s hideout before a timer runs out. It makes each second last about four times as long, and any traps and enemies are slowed to a crawl.
    • There's Carmelita’s charge shot attack. The charge up time is fairly brief and it can kill even a flashlight guard in one shot.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The title "Thieves in Time" was used in a fan video long before the official game was announced.
    • In a interview with Sly and Carmelita published in Disney Adventures, Carmelita comments that if she got together with Sly, she thinks he will steal a TV on their honeymoon out of instinct. A similar situation happens at the beginning of the game with Sly getting urges to steal after retiring with Carmelita.
    • A time-travelling villain called Paradox alters the past so that the protagonist’s most cherished possession ceases to exist in the present. Sounds familiar.
    • Sly asks Bentley if he's going to keep wearing the mustache he dons for a disguise. Bentley then proceeds to tell Sly that jealousy is an ugly emotion. In Sly 3, Bentley showed shades of jealousy towards the ringtail due to his own inability to move around like Sly can (and for being the focus of Penelope's affection), and even questioned their equality as members of the Cooper Gang.
    • In addition to all of this, there was a Sly 4 roleplay on GameFAQs with—guess what—a time travel plot.
    • This fourth mainline entry in a PlayStation franchise sees the retired thief protagonist having the desire to get back into his old lifestyle before being pulled back in, putting great strain on his relationship in the process. Three years later, Nathan Drake would experience the same scenario.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Plenty of fans are only interested in the game because of the ancestors—one review even suggests that the only reason to play through it is for Tennessee Kid Cooper.
  • Memetic Mutation: Sir Galleth's "I BELIEVE THE TIME IS NOW!"
  • Moral Event Horizon: Le Paradox gets this when he abandons Ms. Decibel, his supposed love interest, gets all creepy-feely towards a kidnapped Carmelita, and smugly gloats about it all the while. And if that wasn't enough to make him completely irredeemable, he repays Sly for saving him from falling to his death at the end of the game by stealing his paraglider and leaving him to die on the crashing blimp.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: The mere sound of Tennessee Kid using his Crackshot technique is badass. There's also the sound of his gun firing in his stealth slam, as well as his whoops of enthusiasm.
  • Only the Creator Does It Right: Many fans felt this way towards this game since it is the only one in the series that was made by a different studio and not by Sucker Punch. The controversial aspects of the game’s story, particularly Penelope’s poorly written betrayal and the cliffhanger ending, as well as the lack of a sequel on Sanzaru's part, have led many fans to pretend that this game never happened and to have Sly 3 as the last game in the series due to its happier, more conclusive storyline.
  • Overshadowed by Controversy: The heavy criticism regarding Penelope’s poorly done Face–Heel Turn and the major Downer Ending with no foreseeable resolution has blighted the game to fans despite the rest of the story and gameplay being largely well received.
  • Play the Game, Skip the Story: Gameplay wise, most critics admit it’s a worthy followup to the original three. Thieves In Time uses the level and mission-based structure of the previous games, has larger worlds, with the added benefit of being able to switch characters (though some did complain about the backtracking). Most even liked the ability to play as members of the Cooper Clan which gave variety to the stages, and all characters had fluid controls to boot. It is the story which garnered complaints, largely due to pacing issues and the resulting ending. Most critics didn’t mind the story too much, but the Sly Cooper fandom is very split when it comes to the story, with only the controversial ending being universally hated.
  • Player Punch:
    • Bentley finding out that Penelope had pulled a Face–Heel Turn will be sure to make you feel sorry for him, especially since her vanishing is the big kickoff in the overall storyline.
    • Not to mention Carmelita being especially abrasive to Sly after how well they seemed to be doing at the end of Honor Among Thieves. Yes, Sly faked amnesia, but still, for Carmelita to flagrantly disregard everything he'd ever done for her in the past—right up until the very end, at least—is painful to watch.
  • The Scrappy: Cyrille Le Paradox is one of the most widely disliked characters in the entire series as of this game, in part due to having a weak backstory and petty reason for messing with Sly's family despite being built up as a scary and mysterious villain, in part because of having an insufferable Jerkass demeanor towards everyone around him, and in part because his French Jerk traits are seen as annoying and immature as opposed to entertaining like with previous villains, as many of them have other entertaining traits to despite a few of them also being based off of stereotypes. The fact that he's also why the game has a Sudden Downer Ending with Sly lost in Egypt is what caps off the fandom's dislike for him.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • The game's fans and detractors alike point to the Spark Runner levels being some of the worst moments in the game, due to the motion controls not being precise and often sending the player careening to their death more often than not. Other sections of the game which use these motion controls, such as the Murray Games, receive similar flak.
    • The larger and more expansive worlds to explore in the game have an unintentional negative side effect: they make Clue Bottles far harder to find, even with a walkthrough. One of the safe items, the Clockwerk Eye, gives the location of the clue bottles, but you need to collect all of them in that world first.
  • Signature Scene: The game has three, the last two of which are reminders that Tropes Are Not Good, since those are why the game has its reputation.
    • Murray dressed as Madame Geisha and performing for the amazed crowd.
    • Bentley spotting Penelope from the rafters, and learning that she sold him out to Le Paradox for money and power.
    • Sly waking up in Ancient Egypt with no chance of returning to the present era.
  • That One Achievement:
    • "Apollo Wins". You have to complete the final montage in "Getting Stronger" without screwing up once. At least you can always reset from the last checkpoint (which is before the montage begins) if you mess up.
    • "Navigate Like Drake". This isn’t hard, it’s just tedious. You have to remember to open the map every time you enter a new area (including the subareas of several missions), and if you don't, you'll have to remember what mission it was that you didn't open the map in. Failing that, it’s trial-and-error time.
  • That One Boss: Three out of five bosses are candidates for this trope:
    • Toothpick can summon One-Hit Kill laser grids that require a quick costume switch to avoid, and his tornado attack temporarily turns the fight into a Bullet Hell game without Hitbox Dissonance! At least he has less health than most bosses.
    • The Grizz moves around at ridiculous speed while slamming you with a constant barrage of attacks that hurt. And then he throws a memory and rhythm game in there, too.
    • Ms. Decibel is surprisingly tough. Think Mz. Ruby with the rhythm segments replaced with Nintendo Hard platforming. She hits pretty hard in a straight fight too. Fitting, considering she's the last "real" boss fight of the game.
  • That One Level:
    • The Murray Games, which isn't so much difficult as very, very long and drawn out. It consists of six different minigames you have to complete. They're mostly easy, except for the balance and slingshot minigames. The former requires you to use SixAxis controls to keep an egg from rolling off the wooden beam "Bob" holds, all while penguins are jumping on the platform and shifting it constantly, and you have to last 25 seconds with this. The latter requires you to sling penguins at these targets that pterodactyls hold, but sometimes the controller acts up and refuses to sling a penguin (and you can only miss up to three). But once you beat all six of the minigames, you have to go through a lightning-quick barrage of these minigames. And there, hoo boy does the balance game ramp up in difficulty. You don't have to last nearly as long, but on the other hand the platform is tilting extremely quickly, back and forth, constantly. Worse, there’s a Trophy ("Apollo Wins") for completing the entire training montage without a single screwup. The egg balance game is utterly sadistic when the thing speeds up.
      • On that note, the entire world "Clan of the Cave Raccoon" is one huge example of this trope. There are very few missions where you get to play as Sly and the area is very difficult to navigate without the ability to walk on ropes and spires, an ability which his prehistoric ancestor lacks. Since you mostly play as Murray and Bob, you're in for an onslaught of minigames like the obnoxious Murray Games (mentioned above) and the needlessly long climbing mission where you have to keep from waking Pterodactyls (Which seems to have no real technique to it outside of Trial-and-Error Gameplay). It's also a huge letdown to go from Tennessee Kid Cooper and his infinite ammo revolver cane to Bob Cooper, who's essentially Murray with the ability to climb.
    • The archery shooting gallery from "Of Mice And Mechs". If your reflexes don't kill you, the small hitboxes of the targets will. Naturally, this one also has a trophy for performing it perfectly, but in this case it’s actually winning in the first place, not avoiding 'negative' targets, that's the hard part.
    • All the Spark Runner maze levels are heavily disliked, given how they require the motion controls to navigate, with bottomless pits awaiting if you screw up.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Unlike every other song in the game, the jazzy BGM of “Clan of the Cave Raccoon” uses less instruments in the Vita version than in the PS3 one.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Dimitri was shown to have learned how to be as nimble and sneaky as Sly himself in the game's E3 2011 announcement trailer, and he was even the first character to be shown throughout the entire trailer, but he doesn't get to put any of those Cooper abilities he showed to use in the actual game, as the Cooper Gang asked him to stay in the present and watch over the Thievius Raccoonus. Even that role is minimal at best; Dimitri only appears in a handful of cutscenes where he acts as Mission Control, and he does so with no dialogue (Sly simply summarizes what he says) despite his voice actor appearing in the game's credits. It's implied by early prerelease materials and concept art that he likely was intended to be playable at one point, but was cut for unknown reasons.
    • Carmelita becomes a fully playable Sixth Ranger of the gang, something fans have been waiting for since the very beginning. The entire three missions you get to use her for in the entire game are a spectacular letdown, leaving her only as a character to mess around in free roam with.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Le Paradox, like Sly, is from a family of thieves. His father once tried to frame Sly’s father for one of the biggest heists in modern times, only for the Cooper to pull the rug out from under him. Le Paradox, without a father figure to teach him how to be a thief, struggled until he built up a syndicate and his own gang in prison. After developing the Time Tunnel, he resolved to make up for his family’s mistakes by robbing all Coopers in the past and becoming a greater thief than any of them.
    • Firstly, in a game about time travel, this would have been the perfect time to introduce Sly’s father as a playable character, explore his time as a thief, and reunite him with his son so he can see how much he’s grown, but the game only focuses on the Coopers introduced beforehand, and Le Paradox himself doesn’t care for rescuing or absolving his father. And despite Sly’s father’s heist inspiring his motivation, he doesn’t go after the man himself.
    • Second, the backstory is only brought up in the final chapter, and Le Paradox is only revealed as the Big Bad the chapter before, so any interesting parallels between Sly and Le Paradox, their partners and their backstories is never fully explored.
    • Third, for those that don't mind the Penelope betrayal, many felt it would have come off better and make an interesting story if it went into depth about how/why someone seemingly so nice in the prior game would turn out so evil and the ramifications of such. But alas, it's only used for shock value with no further explanation or examination.
    • Fourth, in Miss Decibel's introductory cutscene, it is established that her Start of Darkness was when the trumpet lodged in her nose gave her mind-control powers. How many times does she use this power? Zilch. The closest we see to mind-control is when Salim's old crew is being kept pacified with brain-scrambling record players, but the design implies that either Le Paradox or Penelope could have built them. If anything, it would have made more sense if Le Paradox recruited the Contessa instead, a preestablished villain who already had access to sensory-hypnosis tech, Bentley even comparing Decibel's tech to the Contessa's tech in the game proper. If Decibel's importance was involved with forging documents, the Contessa could have done that too, since most of her crimes involved funding her own research with stolen property sourced from criminal patients with Interpol none the wiser, so it is likely that she had some experience with forging and book-cooking.
    • The Grizz's plan to graffiti up cave walls so that his art will become world-famous and extremely valuable in the present day. It's the cleverest use of time-travel in the game's plot, but more importantly a scheme that Band of Thieves-era Dimitri (who was motivated by the art world's rejection of his "kinetic aesthetic") probably would have killed for. If the similarity had been acknowledged and explored (and Dimitri been in the game for more than a silent cameo), it could have made for an interesting commentary on Dimitri's character, and how he had and hadn't changed since his days as a villain. Instead, the Grizz just winds up coming across as a cheap knockoff of Dimitri, Sanzaru recycling Sucker Punch's old ideas (a particularly unfortunate situation since Thieves in Time also has Miss Decibel, whose backstory is almost shot-for-shot a copy of Dimitri's).
  • Ugly Cute: Toothpick, with his ugly armadillo features in a sheriff's outfit, being loudly enthusiastic about being in the Wild West.
  • Wangst: Murray going into depression because he failed to climb an ice wall. He acts like this was a big deal and starts to question his use to the team. He did nothing wrong, nor did he mess anything up, and Bentley told him to leave it to Bob, so this comes off as very forced.
  • What an Idiot!: Sly leaves a calling card after stealing the artifact in the tutorial. Even if Carmelita hadn't walked in, that would have ruined his relationship with her by blowing his amnesia cover.


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