The Saboteur – Diamond in the Rough
Lots of negative reviews and a Turkish award or two seem to be thanks to Pandemic studios and their efforts to make their mark on the gaming world.
After a lackluster success with Mercenaries 2, Electronic Arts announced the disbandment of the team before they finished their swan song. The Saboteur was released in December 2009 to a not very expectant audience and the media proceeded to tear down the game. It is true that the different versions were riddled with bugs and the PC version suffered from crippling compatibility issues with ATi cards, but now that the game has been fixed it deserves a review and Pandemic deserves a proper obituary, so to speak.
I started the game with very little expectations, other than knowing that it was a GTA sandbox and featured black and white footage and some Nazi destructive action in the WWII city of lights: Paris. The controls were familiar, the graphics (on a heavy duty gaming rig PC) were excellent, and the soundtrack from the start was something for others to live for.
The initial impression was one of a pleasant surprise. Sean (the protagonist) moved, sounded and behaved satisfactorily and was quite a capable hero. The cast and voice acting have been thoroughly criticized, but I had no trouble living with both. In fact, the Inglorious Bastards meet Allo ‘Allo’ with a dose of seriousness to keep things from getting out of hand was good enough for me. Voice acting may not be as boring in the ears if the person is not German, Irish, French, or British.
The main story is a bit bland, but it lacks the repetitiveness that most sandbox games suffer from. The main and sub missions are varied and have checkpoints for the clumsiest and I can’t recall a mission that I would have hated or been completely frustrated with. This is something that rarely happens with similar open world games and a boon to us less twitch-oriented gamers. As the additional mouse + keyboard and Xbox pad work perfectly together, a driving pad and mouse are recommended to let the guns do the talking.
Then we get to the meat, the side activities are just wonderful. There are enough free play activities to keep even the most hc gamer busy for weeks. Literally hundreds of dots litter the map of Paris when you’re looking for things to do. Blow up fuel depots, AA stations, train bridges, supply trucks, propaganda speakers, watchtowers, assassinate generals and other dignitaries, position yourself on bases and silently take out entire squads of unsuspecting Nazies, steal cars, tanks , motorcycles and assault or flee vehicles. on the rooftops for supplies and gazebos … and this list only scratches the surface of what you can do in Paris if you want to. To top it off, you gain new abilities (touch of death, for those silent shots from the front, etc.) and equipment (weapons, cars, explosives, etc.) by accomplishing certain feats.
The game’s stealth mechanics have been criticized for being a difficult and less efficient method of progressing through the game, but I disagree. If you are stealthy, I would say that you can be expected to not advance as fast through an enemy base as if you choose the frontal assault and manage to pull it off. I really enjoyed the puzzle aspect of trying to take a full base without an alarm and the satisfaction after I succeeded was just overwhelming for me.
And then for the main character of any sandbox game, the city and the surroundings. I do not know if you have to be older or what is the reason why Paris spoke to me more than Liberty or Vice City or even the wasteland that before had insurmountable as a medium. Maybe the bleak black and white graphics with blood red and flags with the very atmospheric soundtrack and the return of color when an area was released were the tricks that got to me, but I must say that I don’t expect any sandbox to beat Paris in the short term. . Beautiful, just beautiful.
92 points and a must-have label
Atmosphere, setting and soundtrack
Abundance of things to do and achieve
Stealth and escalation
Short, but what a rush, there is a lot to do in Paris after the main story.
Some bugs remain
A dash of humor could have saved a lot
Go find this game, it’s already very cheap;)