Repost: The Saboteur Review

From first glance The Saboteur is a cross between Grand Theft Auto‘s sandbox gameplay and the vertical platforming of the Uncharted and Assassin’s Creed games. Looking deeper into the game itself, The Saboteur adequately fulfills the necessary guidelines to be compared to these games, but doesn’t have the polish.

The Saboteur is the story of Sean Devlin, normally referred as the “Irishman,” and his pursuit of revenge against a Nazi Colonel who murdered his best friend. While attempting to find this Nazi, Devlin meets and works with various Resistance groups, people of interest, and generally blows up a lot of stuff.

Playing straight through the story will probably lend itself to a ten to twelve hour play through. But if completing all the side missions is necessary, expect a twenty to twenty-five hour quest.

The game takes place in Paris and small surrounding areas. An interesting gameplay aspect is the black/white and color spectrums in the game. Upon starting the game, all of Paris is black and white, based on the German occupation of sections of Paris. Once specific missions are completed, that section will wash color in noting that specific area has been freed of occupation. It’s an interesting aspect and assists in showing the progression of The Saboteur.

Devlin spends most of his time either on story missions or side missions either blowing stuff up, assassinating Nazi officers, or rescuing members of the Resistance. There are a couple driving missions, since Devlin is supposed to be a race car driver, but in these missions, I felt like I couldn’t lose. Since they are to integral to the overall plot, losing isn’t an option and even the novice racer will have no trouble with these race missions. The missions take place all over Paris and towards the end of the story become not as difficult to complete, but require a lot more bullets.

Assisted by the Resistance and various Black Market sellers who supply weapons and upgrades, Devlin can become either a silent assassin or loud and proud maniac. There is a Perk system in the game, opened by competing specific terms which help Devlin as he works to exterminate the Nazi presence in Paris. Upgrades and weapons are bought through contraband, the currency in the game. Contraband is gained through completing missions or destroying Nazi encampments, including sniper roosts, gunner towers, watchtowers, fueling stations, and stationary patrols.

Otherwise, expect to spend time running around Paris on errands, shooting Nazis, and trying not to die from the imperfect climbing system that is in place.

This is one of the problems with The Saboteur. Climbing up buildings and traversing Paris through the rooftops is an important part of the story and the side missions, but the mechanics of climbing are lacking. Once Devlin starts to climb, it’s mad button mashing to get him up the side of a building as quick as possible to Nazi suspicion. And forget trying to climb when there is an alert because Devlin continues his lackadaisical climbing style even when getting peppered with gun fire. It’s not entirely broken, but the buildings all have a copied feel to them, so Devlin will have to traverse similar architecture all throughout the game.

Another less than polished area of the game is the shooting portion. Overall, shooting from a focused view solves all the problems, but there needed to be a lock-on button. During some missions when surrounded by Nazis, it would have helped to be able to lock-on each Nazi as I took them out. Also, the realism of shooting through a scoped rifle is nice, but not being able to steady the rifle before firing got a bit annoying.

Apart from these two issues, which don’t break the game, The Saboteur is a title that can draw people in through the story. Some missions are a little antagonizing at times, but overall the difficulty of the game isn’t that severe.

Visually, most of the game looks good. Main character models are polished and differ from each other, though the general public and most Resistance and Nazi soldiers all look alike. The car models are nicely models as well, except it pulls the same issue from Grand Theft Auto in that most of the other cars on the road are the identical model that I was driving around. Paris is well realized, though each section of the city look very similar. The monuments in the city like the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and the Arc de Triomphe are modeled, but not much time is spent at these locations.

Paris is an open world, so taking some time to see the sights is recommended.

On the audio side, there’s a lot of dialogue from the main characters, but expect a stereotypical delivery for it. Devlin sounds like an Irishman is expected to sound, littering his lines with “fock” and “arse.” The Italians sound like Americans mimicking the Italian accent and the one Chinese character I met sounds like Charlie Chan. In terms of environmental sound, gun fire sounds good and the city does sound alive. The only German or Italian that might be heard is from the various NPCs in the city.

The Saboteur is a solid title, with the story mode delivering a good plot with hiccups here and there. Even with the issues of climbing and the shooting in the game, there is a lot to experience. Attempting to complete all the freeplay missions will take a lot of time, and I think that’s one smart decision that Pandemic made on the completion of the story mode, the game just opens itself to the player so that everything can be completed.

Review copy provided for review purposes

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