Content of the article: "The Saboteur – Uncut gem"
Recently I played through Pandemic Studio's last game – The Saboteur – thanks to the wonderful
that put it on my radar. I wanted to write an appreciation post/review on it to keep the flame of a forgotten and overshadowed 2009 game that gave me hours upon hours of fun!
2009 was a wonderful year for video games! A shit tone of totally awesome games released: Uncharted 2, Assassin's Creed 2, Batman Arkham Asylum, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, Left 4 Dead 2, etc etc. you get the idea, a lot of great titles (and a lot of 2!) but among all of them was… The Saboteur. In a year full of sequels who would give a second glance to a brand new IP about shooting Nazis of all things. Even Call of Duty was moving away from Nazis by then.
The Saboteur is an open world game set in Nazi occupied Paris. You play as the generic and forgettable blank slate (I don't care how cool he tries to be) Sean Devlin, an Irishman mechanic and race car driver who is down on his luck when he's picked up by the french resistance and gets mixed up in fighting the Nazi forces that have taken a hold of Paris.
The game has its inspirations on its sleeve, a lot of Assassin's Creed as you can awkwardly parkour your way from rooftop to rooftop all across Paris, GTA's open world mission design of run here, start missions, drive back, missions complete. With a sprinkle of Mafia series wonderful sense of place and a bit of Just Cause's mayhem! The game struggles to keep up with any of those titles tho, it is clunky and clumsy in its combat and movement, lacks polish and it crashed on me at least three times.
So… Why am i writing about it then?
Well that is simple. The game tries its damn best at giving you a memorable experience. From the already mentioned open world, that ranges from the Eiffel Tower all the way to the Parisian country side, to the explosive and bombastic set pieces of each main mission. It is full of personality and atmosphere. Cars pack luggage on their roofs fleeing from the war, the city is on lock down by the Nazi force and zeppelins soar the sky keeping an ever watchful eye on the people of France.
Easily, one of the best and more distinctive ideas of The Saboteur is in the visual presentation of a Nazi Occupied districts of Paris. That present themselves with a black and white filter that will suck all color out of the world except for red. Once you liberate a district… color flushes into the world, the resistance takes a hold of the place and will be more likely to aid you on your fight against the Nazi force. It is gimmicky, sure, but it is brilliantly implemented! An early flashback at the start of the game makes Devlin's motives to fight the Nazis pretty clear on an expertly crafted moment of friendship, loss and growth that is accentuated by this black and white gimmick. I really don't want to spoil it because that flashback alone is worth the price of admission.
The Saboteur released on a year full of great games but I think it stands tall with all of em… Is it perfect? No, not even close. It is a mess of pixelated breasts, crazy boob physics, an awful cover system and mechanics not as well implemented as in other games
the game offers and enthralling spy story in a delightful setting, magnificent atmosphere, fun missions and bombastic set pieces. Sure it's dialogue is 100% campy but its ambition is spectacular and it heart is in the right place. The Saboteur tries so heartwarmingly hard that it deserves a lot more than what it got. I, for one, won't be forgetting this game any time soon.
- Games set in WW2 with less war and more humanity
- Theory: Watch_Dogs 4 will take place in Paris
- Do I not like open world games? Or have I been playing the wrong ones? (Looking at Horizon Zero Dawn)
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