The lights are on
Pandemic tried to go out with a bang when they made The Saboteur. Does The Saboteur make a beautiful explosion or does the TNT blow up in its face?
The Saboteur is an open world game. The world is full of NPCs walking the streets and driving in cars even moving in and out of buildings. The NPCs have no real purpose other than to fill in space but the world feels alive with them in it.
The game handles alright but it feels lose during gunplay and stiff during driving. The gunplay is really easy and all the guns have a slight zoom on them which slows your movement but gives you higher accuracy. However it is more to your benefit to not use the zoom feature. The aim assist are so forgiving that it is easier to run and put the reticule close to a target and pull the trigger. On the flip side the driving is stiff. Turning corners or moving over a lane can be more trouble than they should be. Neither of this are unbearable problems but when games in the same genre like GTA and RDR don't have these problems it will be tough to sell your game.
The AI is pretty bad also. You can shot an enemy standing next to another enemy with s silenced pistol at point blank range and the guy you didn't shot won't turn on you. When you dress as a Nazi you hardly look like one but the Nazi don't notice. They will start to notice as you get closer to them but you figure if they see a dead body without a uniform anyone that doesn't look German would be shot.
Something nice are the perks you can get. For doing different deeds you unlock perks that get you new weapons, cars or different melee attacks among other things. The difficulty of these vary and some seem extremely hard and net you worthless stuff while others seem easy and net you get items. Poor choice on a few but in general it is a nice system.
Nazi occupied France, more about it in the Story section, is your domain. You can climb any building and steal any car you want. The city, Paris, is set up with all the monuments you know and love. The streets are small and narrow which gives to the time era, 1940s. The climbing works out fine but it seems a little out of place. You are just an Irishmen that races cars for a living but all the sudden you are jumping from windowsill to rooftops. Kind of strange.
As a saboteur you will be blowing up a lot of things...a lot of things. This isn't a bad thing until about half way through the game when most of your missions seem to revolve around blowing things up, rinse, repeat. The freeplay missions, non-story based, consist of blowing up Nazi towers, tanks, fueling stations and a slew of other things. This is fine because it nets you money but it gets old fairly fast.
The Saboteur handles itself fairly well but it needed tightened up in the gunplay department and the stiffness of the driving is annoying at times. The extra missions can get boring but they net you needed cash. It holds its own but it isn't a top tier open world game.
The story is actually pretty good. It is the story of revenge after you watch your best friend get killed. You go from racer to saboteur over night as the plot thickens.
The setting makes the game's story wonderful. It is in the middle of Nazi occupied France during World War 2. I know that the market is flooded with WW2 games but none of them are based solely on France and the resistance. As you complete the main quest the people of France gain hope and you can see it in how they move around and also the amount of Nazis on the street.
More atmosphere comes in with the color of the sections of Paris. When you first enter the city everything is in black and white with only select objects being colored, much like Schindler's List. However once you complete a story mission in an area it "lights up" gaining color. It really adds to the story.
The cast of characters is pretty good, the voicing is solid and the writing at times is downright funny in a good way. You will find yourself laughing out loud at some of the things the characters say back in fourth about each other and about the Nazis.
The plot does take some twist and turns and the end of the game is creepy in a "they finally understand what they are doing" kind of way. They story holds up fairly well and is a major positive in The Sabotuer.
The sounds of the game are pretty weak overall. The cars all sound the same as do the weapons of the same class. Some of the pistols sound like rifles which shouldn't happen. Explosions sound nice but the buildings that fall after sometimes don't make any sound at all which makes no since. The alarm sirens do sound good as do the propaganda speakers but the speakers say the same things the whole game.
The music is a different story. The music sounds like it comes from the 40s when you are listening to it in your car. The opening theme gets the mood set right and really the music never stops being good. You will find yourself whistling the music once you turn the game off.
The color style of black and white looks fantastic. If I had a choice I would have left the game in this color style. It gives a real air of hopelessness, depression and fear. Seeing only the lights in building and the red of the Nazi flags and armbands in color just made the game so much better.
Now once the game is colored in it isn't bad looking but it starts to look pretty average. Some of the cars look so identical you can't tell them apart. NPCs are lacking and sometimes you'll see the same looking NPCs walking next to each other. Building start blending together because most of them also look the same and there are no real landmark building to look at.
No multiplayer hurts games this gen and The Saboteur suffers that fate. There are plenty of freeplay missions to complete once you beat the game if you want to go around blowing up hundreds of towers and trucks. The game will last about 25 hours if you do some of the freeplay missions while doing the main quest but if you don't want to go back for tedious blow up quest that's all the longer you'll stay in Paris.
The Saboteur is a decent open world game that takes WW2 in a different light, working as a civilian instead of a normal grunt. However there are better titles out in this genre, namely RDR and GTA. Saboteur is a grade under those games, it is good and fun but it isn't an elite title.
(My review is not an average of my numbers but what i feel the game as a whole should get. the numbers under each category are based on what I think those categories are in general when compared to most games on the market today.)
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