Saboteur

Review

posted 12/8/2009 by Tina Amini
other articles by Tina Amini
One Page Platforms: PS3
The Saboteur is the story of Sean Devlin,who is roughly based on William Charles Frederick Grover-Williams. Sean Devlin, the less mouthful of a name for our protagonist in this WWII sandbox game, becomes involved with the French Resistance in Paris. Initially, the only obligation he feels towards the Special Operations Executive and French Resistance is a personal vendetta against a particular Nazi officer who brutally murdered his friend. Drinking and smoking his way through Paris from what can be guessed as his form of mourning, he is finally picked up by Resistance leader Luc Gaudin, and recruited for what begins your journey to help revive Paris and inspire an uprising against the Nazis.

We have seen a plethora of video games tackle the WWII genre, but I never felt like the theme was more fitting than in this GTA sandbox style. Your quests typically take you along what begins to feel like a familiar path. There’s a general theme of planting explosives to hinder the Nazi occupation in what ever way you can. Being part of what starts out as a small organization to battle the Nazis, you make use of what weaponry you have in your disposal. Namely, dynamite. Although the quests seem simple and perhaps even repetitive at times, this was the most logical and more realistic approach to take. All of the leaders and members of the Resistance could use a helping hand in the time of war to plant an explosive or two. The sandbox style lets you decide which are more important to venture towards first, and how to lend your help out. Driving around Paris in my stolen vehicle and seeing all the red Nazi flags hanging at every lamppost and street corner, I thought to myself: “What WOULD someone do in that situation?” The short answer? Blow things up.


Your quests are meant to inspire residents of France to stand up against the Nazis. As a regular citizen, perhaps with a few tricks up your sleeve, it’s most logical and effective to create destruction such that the dilapidation of Nazi bases becomes more apparent than their strength. The game acknowledges your efforts throughout the gameplay by splashing color to what starts as an entirely black and white France. As you progress, more of France will be represented in full color, indicating which regions of France are more likely to support your cause and stand up against the Nazis. This was a great aesthetical addition on the part of Pandemic to replicate the ideas of desperation alongside what hope you can initiate.

Completing said missions can be done in one of two ways: (1) disguising yourself as a Nazi (by “borrowing” one of the soldiers’ uniforms) and finding the more tactical route to navigating your way through their bases, or (2) blowing up everything and everyone in sight with guns blazing. Avoiding the fire blasts might seem like the easier route, but it’s actually more difficult to go about sneaking. Your disguise will only hold up for a certain distance from the Nazis scattered around the base area, and running or doing other suspicious things like climbing will get you exposed. Small circular yellow areas on your map will indicate “suspicion zones,” and you can forget about wandering around innocently if you’re caught in there. Setting off alarms left and right, and hastily trying to make it outside the red alarm zone on your map (or scrambling to find a hiding spot) might get tiring. This makes brandishing your gun around and provoking a gunfight while cackling maniacally a hell of a lot more appealing than maneuvering your way through these obstacles. Generally, I stuck to sneaking in halfway until I realized the mass of Nazis lined up ahead was just begging for a grenade in their faces. And grenade they got. Still, having the option to tackle my mission in the way I preferred was definitely appreciated. You can make The Saboteur as violent as you want, or as quiet as you like.
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