The Saboteur

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The Saboteur review
Davneet Minhas

Review

Color the world

How to Take Down a Nazi (cntd)


Pandemic Studios keeps each mission interesting by varying the underlying motivations and corresponding characters. The first chauffeur mission requires Sean to drive his best friend’s sister, Veronique, around the city, while unbeknownst to him, she picks up and deposits a bomb to assassinate a high-value German target. Another chauffeur mission, assigned by Dr. Kwong, requires Sean to drive a brainwashed Nazi around the city, as the soldier willingly delivers a bomb to his commander. The first mission carries an air of tension, given the relationship between Sean and Veronique, whereas the second is quite humorous: when Sean attempts a conversation with the brainwashed German, he receives a prerecorded and repeating script.

The Saboteur also occasionally breaks from its defining mission structures to provide more story-driven experiences. Sean’s chase of Kurt Dierker through an exploding zeppelin and a rescue mission conducted on a moving train are two particularly memorable moments in the game. Unfortunately, there are few comparable moments throughout the game.

Walk Softly but Carry a Big Gun


To accomplish all of these missions, Sean has the option of running in with heavy weapons, creating massive amounts of death and destruction, or stealthy infiltration, going unnoticed by any Nazis. In the first case, Sean has a large arsenal of pistols, machine guns, shotguns, rifles and explosives at his disposal, though very few of the weapons are actually worth carrying. After finding a decent machinegun and sniper rifle early on, there’s no real reason for Sean to use anything else, at least until he meets the Nazi Terror Squad.

In choosing to be stealthy, Sean has the ability to sneak behind enemies and perform quick stealth kills, and disguise himself in Nazi uniforms that grant him free and unhindered access to Nazi bases. Once inside a Nazi uniform and base, Sean can complete the necessary mission without disruption as long as he stays outside of dynamic areas of suspicion.

The stealth method is almost always much easier than the guns-blazing method thanks to the absurdly stupid enemy AI. As long as Sean remains outside the areas of suspicion, he can continuously plant explosives on objects of interest unhindered. An entire base may be engulfed in flames with explosions continuously going off, but Nazi soldiers will completely ignore it all as long as Sean doesn’t jump out of his disguise.

Uber-Nazis


While this stealth formula is maintained throughout most of the game, it is broken by the aforementioned Nazi Terror Squad. These superhuman behemoths carry futuristic weapons – their shotguns fire as quickly as machine guns and their machine guns fire as quickly gatling guns – and they’re immune to stealth kills. In some cases, half a dozen headshots are necessary to taking one down.

What results is the removal of any semblance of believability that the game tries to build through its characters and well-designed world. The Saboteur, like any good open-world game, is heavily built on providing players with choice. But the Terror Squad completely removes choice, contradicting everything else that Pandemic Studios created in the game.

Sound the Alarm


If a Nazi does notice Sean performing illicit activities, the Nazi can sound a general alarm and, as is typical at the end of most missions, Sean must flee the area before further German forces arrive and the alarm level increases. To escape alarms, Sean has a number of options including leaving the alarm area, which is particularly difficult at higher alarm levels, and running into a designated hiding spot, such as brothels and hatches on roofs.

In a nice addition to open-world games, Sean also has the option to fight back during high-level alarms. At designated “fight back” areas, Nazis will retreat and unsound the alarm once Sean and his allies have killed a certain number of pursuers in what amounts to all out warfare on the streets.

7.1

fun score

Pros

A massive and great looking world with a unique style

Cons

Gameplay that's been done better