The Saboteur Review
by Ninja_Vampire

Basic Information:
Developer: Pandemic Studios
Publisher: Electronic Arts
North American Release Date: December the 8th, 2009.
European Release Date: December the 4th, 2009.
Trophies: 32 11 2 1

War games are everywhere, aren't they? I mean, look at World War II. I think there have been more games based on WWII than any other event in history. Oh, and no, I do not have proof to backup that statement :p Now don't get me wrong, that ain't a bad thing, I love them, and thus is the reason I bought The Saboteur! The Saboteur takes the theme of WWII, but uses a completely different style to portray it than you would expect.

The Saboteur was released by Pandemic Studios at the end of 2009 and was met with mixed reception. Pandemic studios were responsible for some great titles such as 'Star Wars: Battlefront', 'Destroy All Humans' and 'Mercenaries ', so did they measure up to their previous titles with The Saboteur? We shall see....

Take a stereotypical Irish man in the 40's, give him a gun and let him loose in Nazi occupied France and you will basically get The Saboteur. You play as Sean Devlin, a member of the resistance against the Nazis, so this is where the general gameplay is based around, killing Nazis. It is your typical sandbox game at first glance, i.e steal car, drive to marker, do mission, get money, but there is actually a lot more to the game than that. Missions are quite varied, from flying a stolen zeppelin to sneaking into Nazi bases wearing a uniform. Aside from the missions there are a lot of other things to do such as upgrade your abilities or destroy railway tracks (We will get to that soon :p). As you could expect, gunfights will be plentiful in missions. They can be very exciting at times, but generally it is quite run of the mill third person shooter stuff, nothing to get too excited over. If you have played Mercenaries or Uncharted, you will recognize the combat, as it is very similar, but not as good as Uncharted of course xD

Bunch of Nazis = No problemo for Sean Devlin!

Despite Sean's stocky build, he is quite a capable climber. Now we ain't talking Altair or Ezio stuff, but Sean can basically scale any building without too much hassle. As the developers boasted, you can actually climb up the Eiffel Tower, but it is quite difficult and pointless as there are lifts :p As you will later see in the game, Sean's climbing talents come in handy while running away from scary Nazis. The climbing in The Saboteur is done quite well yet it is not as fluid as games like Uncharted or Assassin's Creed, and it can be a bit glitchy at times. Generally it gives you a realistic climbing feeling but you will find yourself shouting at the TV when Sean glitches under a balcony or the likes while being shot by numerous SS officials.

Free roaming around a large yet scaled down version of France is always good isn't it? Of course it is! Traveling around in this game is great fun due to the fact that there is literally stuff to do everywhere, and I mean everywhere. A huge part of the game is destroying Nazi propaganda and generally evil stuff (Like the railway tracks xD). They are known as Ambient Freeplay Events and you will grow to hate them, seeing as there are over 1000 of them. Yes, your eyes are not broken, one thousand... Thankfully, there are plenty of cars available to motor around the map, which will definitely make your life easier The cars are typical contraptions you would expect to see in the 40's. They range from military trucks all the way to top class sport automobiles so there is a nice selection. The driving in this game is actually really fun. Cars are very easy to control and they go surprisingly fast. There are a few country side races to attend, but not enough to be really notable sadly.

The story of The Saboteur follows Sean Devlin, an Irish race car mechanic, as he searches for a way to avenge his dead friend Jules and kill the Nazi Colonel, Kurt Dierker. During his adventure, Sean must help different movements such as the French Resistance and the British Operations in turn for helping him get ever closer to killing Dierker. Along the way, Sean meets all kinds of people, which in hand leads him to both betrayal and partnership, all you would expect in a cliche story such as this. Although The Saboteur has some twists and turns in the story, they are nothing you won't predict from about 20 miles away :p

Sean's bit on the side, Skylar.

To be brutally honest, The Saboteur has quite a weak, yet passable script. The story is very cliche and the cast are easily forgettable, but you will at times find yourself quite interested, due to the explosions and such. This to me is quite disappointing, as the basis of the game is based on the real-life story of William Grover Williams, who was actually a Grand Prix driver turned resistance member. I believe with an event like this to base a game on, the story is not up to scratch, but that may be just me.

The first thing you will notice about The Saboteur is the black and white image of Paris. One of the most unique and well thought out points of this game is the fact that all the areas of France that are under Nazis control, are under a gloomy black and white colour, portraying the atmosphere that more than likely felt was in those areas. This effect looks wonderful and makes it very easy to drive past some defenseless woman being attacked by a Nazi :p The rest of the graphics can at times be very nice, but a lot of the time they can look unpolished and basic, yet nothing that will cause you too much dismay. In general, you will enjoy driving around the city or countryside of Paris, soaking in the scenery :]

As you can see, the black and white scenery depicts the atmosphere.

The audio elements may be one of the worst parts of The Saboteur. The voice acting is pretty terrible at the best of times, and all of the characters could not have more stereotypical accents if they tried. It is actually laughable when Sean shouts out some random saying in his ridiculous Irish accent such as 'Shite, bleeding!' or 'Lets see how proud you are, with my f**king boot up your arse!', but at least you will get some humor out of it xD The soundtrack is extremely limited also, and you will find it very irritating that everytime you step into a car, 'Feeling Good' is on the radio, which doesn't even make sense as that song wasn't released until 20 years after this game is set :/ Explosions and gun fire sounds decent along with the sounds of the cars, so at least they got that much right :p

Because the world of The Saboteur is quite large and there are a lot of lengthy missions, The Saboteur can be quite a time consuming title if you are working for the platinum. Aside from the main game there is one major road block in the road to the platinum, which are the ambient freeplay events as there are over a 1000 of them. These range from speakers that need destroying to Generals needing assassinating and can be viewed on the map after you have purchased the locations. They actually do pass extremely quickly so don't get discouraged and you will get the platinum in no time :]

Gameplay: 8/10
Very enjoyable gameplay that has a nice amount of variety in it, let down somewhat by glitches.

Singleplayer: 7/10
A story that does the trick, but that's basically it.

Technical: 6/10
They got some parts of the technical very right, but others very wrong.

Overall: 7.1/10
The Saboteur overall is a very enjoyable game, but was never really destined for greatness, just aiming for decent sales. You will most certainly enjoy this game if you like freeroaming action adventures, or you may enjoy it if you are interested in World War 2, all I'm saying is, you won't be wanting to come back to this for a second playthrough after you are finished.