The Saboteur

The Saboteur is one of those games that was always on my radar.  Released in early December, however I was already engrossed with Assassin’s Creed II and Modern Warfare 2 so The Saboteur got put on a back-burner.  It gets to March and I’ve been putting the finishing touches to completing Burnout Paradise and inFamous.  So, what next?

I compiled a list of what I was thinking of playing next and eventually decided to spend my hard-earned cash on The Saboteur and Call of Juarez.  I wanted to tackle Call of Juarez first, but I found it hard to get into.  It’s basically a FPS Western, but I’ve felt a bit saturated with a lot of FPS games recently.  Besides, I really like my third-person shooters and action/adventure games.  So The Saboteur it was…

Games are meant to transport you to another world, and The Saboteur does just that.  I’d wager that 1940’s Nazi-occupied Paris is a situation that most gamers won’t have lived through.  So whilst The Saboteur remains first and foremost a game, I was struck by just how much the game brought the whole dark period from our past to life.

The game plunges you into a black and white world where only a few select items remain in colour, such as windows in buildings, the colour of your car, and the red Nazi flags.  It really gives the whole game a real film-noir feel.  Whilst your eyes are being treated to such imagery, your ears are picking up music from that era from the radios in cars (except for ‘Feeling Good’ which is from the 1960s).

So, what’s with the whole black and white setup?  It has been described as ‘the will to fight’.  When you inspire Parisians to rise up and fight against their Nazi oppressors by sabotaging infrastructure such as tanks, sniper nests and gun batteries, the colour bleeds back into the world.  You’re not actually liberating the people of Paris, but rather, you’re giving them the will to fight.  Nazis still patrol the streets but in fewer numbers, and not backed up by their big toys.

So, what’s so great about The Saboteur?  The story has to be the best part of the game: it incorporates everything you’d expect from a War-era setting like espionage, sabotage, and assassinations.  Heck, the story even manages to incorporate a bit of Raiders of the Lost Ark into the plot.  Combined with the visuals, you’ve got an award-winning combination.  But…

The real failing of the game is due to a mixture of repetitive gameplay (at least the story missions try to vary things a bit) and a cumbersome control scheme.  Most games have a solid set of controls that make sense, but in the Saboteur you have some crucial character functions mapped to increasingly obscure button-hold combinations.  If I were to rate The Saboteur, I’d possibly give it a 7/10 as it’s still really worth a play.  You’d probably be better off buying it at a discount price (I got it for £19.99) or perhaps renting it.

Au revoir.

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