While Sly 4 feels very familiar, this year's demo pushes the envelope a bit more. Most noticeably, the visuals have received a significant boost, with more detailed environments and flashier effects. The game looks particularly great on Vita, with the colorful art style taking great advantage of the system's beautiful OLED screen. In fact, I prefer playing the game on the Vita. One of my favorite parts of the later Sly games were the bosses, and this year's demo had a towering three-headed robotic dragon to contend with. Playing as Carmelita, you had to dodge oncoming fire, jump over lasers, all whilst shooting at the dragon's weak point inside his mouth. All the while, smoke grenades fill the screen with voluminous fog that tries to block your view. With God of War-esque scale, this sequence felt like a moment that couldn't be done on the PS2.
Carmelita makes her return
Sly Cooper fans have waited seven years for a proper sequel to Sly 3, and it looks like Sanzaru's effort will give them exactly what they want. So long as Thieves in Times continues to offer new experiences in addition to nostalgia, fans might be able to forgive Sony for leaving the franchise dormant for so long. Thieves in Time will be on PS3 and Vita later this year.
A towering new boss for Sly 4
Watch the Shacknews E3 2012 page to follow all our coverage of this year's show. This preview is based on a hands-on demo shown at a pre-E3 event.