by Davneet Minhas
reviewed on PC
Outside of the provided missions, Sean has the option of destroying Nazi targets – guard towers, search lights, AA guns and propaganda speakers – that litter Paris and the outlying countryside. While very repetitive, doing so is necessary in order to gain contraband, currency of Nazi-occupied Paris.
Sean can spend contraband to purchase explosives, weapons and ammunition from dealers. He can also use contraband at garages to purchase vehicle upgrades and body repairs.
However, The Saboteur’s economic system is fairly light, considering it boils down to a formula of complete task then receive rewards. As opposed to a fully fleshed out trading system, Sean can’t sell back or return items he doesn’t have a use for.
The Saboteur also includes an interesting perk system that mimics the achievements all videogames incorporate. Performing specific actions a certain number of times unlocks weapons, vehicles and new abilities for Sean that are very useful. The game’s best sniper rifle, racecar and stealth kills are all obtainable exclusively through the perk system.
Black and White
As alluded to, the majority of the game is set in Paris, which Pandemic Studios rendered beautifully – adding landmarks such as The Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, the Tour Eiffel and Notre Dame – and managed to capture a lived-in old world feel. But Sean must also travel to the French countryside and shore, which can take a good deal of time. Like any road trip, however, the drives also act as a respite from tense circumstances.
Tying all the environments together is The Saboteur’s highly touted color-scheme. At the beginning of the game, Sean meets a French freedom fighter named Luc. In an attempt to recruit Sean, Luc enters into an inspirational diatribe, “We will push back the darkness, free the city from fear, house by house and street by street.”
While Luc is speaking figuratively, Pandemic Studios considered that statement more literally. Areas under heavy Nazi occupation appear in black and white, with small accents of color, reminiscent of Schindler’s List. After Sean completes certain high-profile missions, Nazi influence decreases and the game reveals a full color palette for the area in an inspirational moment.
Seeing an area in color, after spending hours in its black and white counterpart, is like seeing it for the first time. The effect is quite stunning. In addition, viewing the seams, particularly those places where a dark chaotic sky meets its fully colored neighbor, acts as a reminder – there’s still more work to be done.
Innovative vs. Fun
With perhaps the exception of its artistic design, The Saboteur doesn’t do anything new. It takes all of its design elements from innovative games, like those in the Grand Theft Auto and Assassin’s Creed series, but implements them in a much less flattering manner. However, that’s not to say the game isn’t fun.
The game possesses eye-rolling situations, overpowered enemies, terribly dumb AI and other look-at-the-camera moments, but these breaks of immersion add to an enjoyable experience instead of detracting from it. Watching that German transport truck run over the Nazi soldier was so unexpected and so contradictory to the situation, I burst out in laughter. It only made me want to play more.
A massive and great looking world with a unique style
Gameplay that's been done better