posted 12/8/2009 by Tina Amini
other articles by Tina Amini
One Page Platforms: PS3
Typical to the sandbox genre, some quests are not necessary to complete the game, but they definitely add to the playtime and flesh out the game. Even after completing your main missions, and after the credits roll, you’re launched back into Paris to continue with your Revolution against the Nazi force occupying France.

Along the way, you’ll be able to gather a bigger collection of stolen vehicles and purchased armory. You can buy your arms on the black market, as well as upgrades to your weapons, maps, your strike calls and the revolution members (in the sense of more health, ammo, warm bodies, etc), and so on. Personally, I stuck to my Tommy gun and pistol the whole way down. My grenades, too, of course.

The other way of getting additinal abilities and upgrades comes from what you might call “achievements with a purpose”. Officially, the game calls them “perks.” Performing certain actions to get these perks will result in various upgrades and will unlock various abilities: upgrades to your melee attacks (if you decide to brawl over gunfight).  You can also unlock weaponry, weapon advancements, unlock the getaway strike team and getaway car, and many, many others.

The one thing that made The Saboteur feel less smooth than it could have been was the controls. Especially when climbing or hitting an action button, the response wasn’t where I would have liked it to be. Part of my problem with the controls might also be due to how cluttered they are. For instance, to activate your various modes of fighting (brawl, sneaking) you have to hit either the left trigger or left button (PS3 controls). Then a combination of the d-pad buttons while still hitting the button/trigger will perform a specific action within that mode. To fire a weapon, you’ll have to equip your gun of choice and then use the left button to aim and the right button to fire. Perhaps it’s my hastiness when there’s a showdown with the Nazis, but mixing up the buttons always blew my cover and had me outrunning the dreadful red zone on my map.

Playing as Sean Devlin is a fun experience. He encompasses what I might call grungy charm: the complete opposite of a gentleman, but too witty to hold it against him. Being that he’s also a racecar driver, you get to partake in some races with some swanky cars. This helps for practice on the many getaways that you’ll undoubtedly be giving heed to.

The supporting characters to this WWII story also have their own personalities to keep the game genuinely interesting. They range from the older, wiser father figure to the promiscuous and deadly female. Not all characters will be likeable, but, for me, that creates a good balance. Sean also has a different relationship reserved for each character that felt natural and potentially realistic to how human beings would normally interact (if such a thing exists). On a sadder note, Pandemic really blew it with the love interests in the game with a half-assed ending. There were hints and nudges all throughout the storyline, and being brought to what felt like a forced resolution to Sean’s love qualms was a total let down. There was such a buildup in storyline that I was expecting a heartfelt ending to tie it into.

Beside the “getting the girl” part of the game, the storyline fit well within The Saboteur and the WWII theme. Rather than a typical “kill all Nazis” type of WWII game where the storyline is thrown in for good measure, The Saboteur took the theme and created something that felt natural and organic.

The Saboteur is a fun, if not fairly short game with a solid storyline in tandem with its WWII theme. The sandbox style gameplay fits in perfectly with the sort of missions you undertake as a civilian attempting to inspire an uprising. If you don’t mind paying the full price of $60 for a game that you can probably finish in a weekend in one sitting, the game is definitely worth the 15-30 hours you might spend on it.

Opinions of Saboteur from other GN Staff:
Ben Berry - Community Manager

The Saboteur is a great premise: be one of the few brave souls who starts the resistance in France against Nazi occupation. For a Grand Theft Auto clone, it's got the right feel, the right look, and the right added extras in order to feel like it's own game. The story is strong, the dialog and the voice acting are both very good, and the music is very fitting for the period and location. The developers even went through the trouble of adding in burlesque dancing in the "moulin rouge"-esque place your character spends his nights in France.

Unfortunately, what they didn't do is build a stable game on the PC side of the house. There were some seriously bad defects at launch related to a large faction of the current and recent models of ATI video cards, which my PC was affected by. The game would load but freeze shortly thereafter, and simply wouldn't play. Pandemic rushed out a patch that never really got past beta. It allows the game to play, and mostly play pretty well, but it crashes fairly frequently. Further, there are still problems loading video segments.

In the end, when you can play it, it's a great game. Problem is, you have to do some waiting, and sometimes have to replay sections of the game when it crashes prior to an autosave. If it weren't for the crashes, the only real problem this game has is that it's short. It only takes about 30 hours to play through even with a significant amount of sandbox exploration. It still feels like a good game even just being that short, but the bugs make it really hard to enjoy the whole experience.

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