When I first saw advertisements for EA’s The Saboteur I was very excited. The pumping Irish rock music, black and white gameplay, big bright explosions. The game looked different and it looked cool as hell. Then as time went on it seemed to lose momentum. Too many other big releases? Problems in Pandemic land? There were probably many factors, but whatever the case the game didn’t hit with as much impact as myself and others thought it would.
Because of all of this, The Saboteur went from being a must play game to one that, I bought, but sat on my rack for almost two months. When I fired it up last week out of boredom, let’s just say that I was pleasantly surprised. The game takes everything I love about Grand Theft Auto and Assassin’s Creed and plops me into a part of WW2 gaming that I have never touched (and who hasn’t played their fair share of WW2 games). On the ground I feel like I am playing Grand Theft Auto 1940’s style. And when I am climbing the buildings looking for a better way to attack I feel like Altair or Ezio from Assassin’s Creed but more Irish. The Saboteur doesn’t do it better then either of those games, but it works.
You play as Sean Devlin, a rough and tough Irishman who has taken a job as a race car driver. Sean is hired by an Italian man and together they travel to Paris for a big race. During the race he gets a taste of prominent Nazi strongman Kurt Dierker who wrongs him on a few levels. All of this happens on the eve of Germany infiltrating Paris and so begins the story as Sean fights to free gay Paris from the grasp of the Nazi machine and provide a little payback to Deirker.
Throughout the game your job is to cause problems for the various Nazi ranks. Do whatever you can to blow things up, take out squads and make life rough for the enemy. As you continue to do jobs for the various characters you come across and take out Nazi installments you acquire cash. In The Saboteur it’s referred to as contraband. With the contraband you can purchase guns, explosives, ammo and vehicles from the black market sellers spread across the map.
One of the innovative parts that I really loved about this title is the color scheme. When you begin, the entire area is shaded in dull grays. The only colors that pop off the screen are the yellow glow of lights and flames and the bright, bright red of the Nazi flags. It is gorgeous, and often I found myself wishing the whole game was that way. As you progress through the campaign and take out Nazi strongholds you begin to notice color coming back to those areas where you have inspired people to rise up and fight back. It is a neat feeling to stand on a tall building and look out and see more color then gray… it means you are winning.
There are some drawbacks to the game as always. The driving is a little stiff and you literally have to run into ten buildings before you even see a ding on your car. The computer A.I. is also a bit dense. Often times the warning will sound meaning that you are being watched by a Nazi guard. One trip behind a tree or around the other way and he forgets you’re there. Also, you will want to be careful who you play this game in front of. If Grandma Edna comes over for tea and biscuits she may get an eye full of breasts if you happen to be playing. There are topless burlesque dancers everywhere around the place you live. I didn’t say this was a drawback for me…
Between your Mass Effects and your Bioshocks you should give this one a try. It is worth the time! Devlin is the kind of hero that is fun to play as. Women love him, he is good with a gun and he likes to drink… and most importantly he has it out for Nazis.
FINAL SCORE – 86/100