Pitting players in the badass boots of rough-and-tumble Irishman Sean Devlin, Saboteur places our unlikely hero in the thick of Nazi-occupied France
- Enormous environment, wide variety of missions, beautiful black-and-white visual style
- AI is occasionally dodgy, the story is lacklustre, stealth mechanic is a bit iffy
The Saboteur is an interesting title if only because it's developer Pandemic was closed down shortly before it's release. It's an enjoyable action title, albeit one plagued by a few issues. The now defunct developer didn't leave us with a bang but they also didn't go quietly into the night with a whimper.
Price$ 109.95 (AUD)
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While it's no secret that World War II has been explored, excavated and over-exploited in the modern day gaming industry, developers keep heading back to its tragic embrace like moths to a particularly disastrous flame. Home to a regular blitzkrieg of RTS and FPS entries, the stealth shooter genre has remained relatively unaffected from an onslaught of World War II games, with only a few—most notably SouthPeak's Velvet Assassin—taking a stab at portraying the conflict. Like the aforementioned Velvet Assassin, which actually carried the name 'Sabotage' early on in its development cycle, Saboteur is based on the exploits of a real-life war hero William Grove-Williams who is tasked with single-handedly taking down the malevolent Nazi forces.
Pitting players in the badass boots of rough-and-tumble Irishman Sean Devlin, Saboteur places our unlikely hero in the thick of Nazi-occupied France, pistol in hand and a pack of dynamite in his satchel. Saboteur's interpretation of wartime France is simply breathtaking, with every inch of Paris a stunning addition to the game's already impressive environment. What makes Saboteur's world such a treat is the range in which you can explore it, as Sean can not only speed from Belleville to St. Germain in a wide assortment of Nazi and civilian vehicles, but is also allowed to scale his surroundings in the vein of Assassin's Creed or Uncharted. Such exploration also adds to Saboteur's core gameplay, opening up a variety of routes for Sean to take in order to achieve his objectives and asking for multiple playthroughs of certain missions.
Saboteur's stealth dynamic is another interesting aspect, opening up the option for Sean to snap a Nazi's neck, swipe his uniform and slip towards his next target unnoticed. For the most part Saboteur's stealth works well, but on a number of occasions I found my meticulously plotted sneaking efforts in vain as the mission at hand required me to all but decimate my cover in order to progress, asking me to throw away 30 minutes of cautious tip-toeing in favour of a none-too-subtle explosive charge or headshot. On many occasions stealth seemed like the alternative rather than the expected norm and this had the effect of turning Saboteur's otherwise salt-of-the-earth protagonist into just another guns-akimbo action hero.
Saboteur borrows heavily from an assortment of other titles, but what new content it does offer up is handled extremely well. The game's innovative Schindler's List-inspired visuals also contrast the game's gritty wartime setting, with the revolution's "Will to Fight" (or WtF, if you must) slowly restoring colours to various parts of the city as you overthrow your German oppressors, and the open-world mayhem and variety of missions is incredibly welcome. Saboteur's main story took me about nine hours to complete, but this was barely after scratching the surface of the game's many secondary assignments, collecting its wide array of vehicles, and ridding Paris entirely of its Nazi infestation.
From planting explosives beneath enemy sniper nests to speeding over the lush Parisian countryside, there's so much to do and see in Saboteur that it's incredibly easy to lose sight of the game's minor quirks and frustrations. It may not be the most original title under the sun, but it is an absolute blast while it lasts, and an innovative and welcome addition to the overwhelming selection of World War II games.
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