Bottom of the Game-queue Barrel: We in the killin Nazi business

Posted by E_rock (153 posts) -

Sitting here this Saturday afternoon I've come to the realization that I've been missing out on an opportunity to start a blog here at GB.  I've had a subscription to gamefly for the past 7 months now, and I've made it through just about 25 games.  During these past months I've played some great games that I've wanted to check out since they came out but never got around to either due to money issues or simply the time commitment.  Among my favorites that I've played recently are Resident Evil 5, Splinter Cell Conviction, Halo: Reach, and Red Dead Redemption.  However now that I've made it through all of the games I was anticipating the most I'm starting to reach that section of my game queue populated by games such Alpha Protocol, Crackdown 2, and Naughty Bear.  And thus the idea for this blog was born.  Why not share my opinions on these ill received games?  Does anyone really care though? No, probably not, but there in lies the purpose of the blog: spew forth your meaningless drivel for all of the internets to read.  And spew forth I will...  
 
If you haven't already figured it out from the tag or the cliche Inglorious Basterds quote in the title, I'm gonna be talking about The Saboteur (x360).  Which I just finished and sent back last night.  Overall this game got 20 hours out of me in the past week so that says something good about the experience. By all means the game is a fun, open world romp through Nazi occupied Paris and well worth a rental or a bargain bin purchase.  Once the game opened up, I had a great time running around blowing up Nazi installations and just bringin the ruckus throughout the city during the missions as well as in the open world freeplay.  The whole bringing color back to the neighborhoods is a cool concept, I especially liked how this animation would appear as a drop of water splashing on the ground and spreading ripples of color throughout the area.  I really enjoyed the philosophical references this held the first few times I saw it.   However after seeing it the 5th time, it lost its power, so by the time it happened how it did at the very end of the game, my only reaction was "of course they would".   Although I really enjoyed it at first,  I've never played the other games where this color effect was done. If you had played the other games, I can imagine you would of already gone through this same mentality in the previous game, cheapening the feel in Saboteur.  Combine that with the sub-par climbing abilities in terms of speed and accuracy in comparison to  Assassin's Creed and I can see where the criticism of The Saboteur poorly aping other games comes from.
 
The story really doesn't do the game any favors either: its not terrible but its just kind of meh.  The idea of fighting as the French resistance was refreshing going into the game however the story is populated by uninteresting or borderline annoying characters.  Skyler falls into the latter category, by the end of the game every time she appeared on screen I just cringed anticipating for some lame innuendo joke.   The entire racing sub-plot thing is uninteresting, and seems like it was stuck in there for the sole purpose of establishing Devlin as an 'everyman', albeit a bad ass IRA-esque 'everyman' driven by revenge and guilt.  In general the cinematic story is just some semi coherent filler stuffed in between mission sequences of blowing Nazi shit up.  At least the game was well aware of its strongest card.   Don't get me wrong, at times the story adds some substance to the missions but often it's just go here blow that up. 
  
The game gets off to a slow start with the racing intro and the first few missions where your completely out classed by the Nazi soldiers.  These early combat missions rely on stealth kills which is definitely something you have to get use to at first due to the clunky stealth/alert system.  This means I spent a considerable amount of time watching guard patrols, getting into position for kills, and figuring out how far to run past the guards I couldn't assault before hitting the walk button so they wouldn't see through my disguise, essentially game-y annoyances.  Often times I'd learn through trial and error cause in a few of those early missions when shit goes bad, shit goes real bad fast.  Since there are no silenced weapons at that point in the game, once I got caught I'd be force to blast the dude in the face, igniting a Nazi shit storm.   This makes the early combat heavy missions all slow going and carefully planned excursions.  I appreciate some stealth and planning in my games but the awkward way it was implemented in The Saboteur made it frustrating until I learned to game the stealth and climbing systems.  A perfect example is that some sentries see you plant a bomb from a obscene distance while others sentries apparently lack any sort peripheral vision since I'm planting a bomb 3ft to his left.  The climbing system really needs to stop making me hang from 6 foot drops alerting every soldier in a 50ft radius   To make matters worse, when shit hits the fan and its time to GTFO there aren't that many cars on the street, and when there are, they all seem to be the same 3 crap cars that can't outrun a Nazi vehicle to save its life.   This leads to seemingly endless car chases where you want to avoid killing more soldiers so you can escape but the only way to get away is to kill the assholes following you only to attract more dudes.  Running people off the road is the best defense and then stopping abruptly after leaving the detection circle so the alert goes awhile before any more dicks see you.
 
This all gets better near the end of Act I or whenever you get the get away and back up strikes as well as the silenced pistol and later the silenced smg.  From there on out just find a decently fast car for your get away strike, and always remember to keep it repaired and set up.  Nothing is worse than calling it in and having that crappy junker show up in a shit  storm cause you forgot to repair your main car.  I personally used a Dugati for a long portion of the middle of the game and later switched to the Altair / Aurora.  The combat is much better with the silenced pistol.  Just acquire a disguise and move your way around the compounds blowin up guard towers,  and shooting sentries in the back of the head if they get in the way.  Just focus on maintaining your disguise, then when it gets buck wild, bust out an mp40, or later the mp44, lob some grenades and continue raining hell throughout the compound.  In the later missions near the end of the game you don't even need to bother with silenced weapons, just blow up some stuff first then unleash hell.  Upgrade the blast radius on the explosives and the grenades as one of your first upgrades, well worth it cause takin out guys and objectives at the same time is awesome.  Past the first 5 hours was when this game really began to shine for me and the reason why I'd recommend people check it out. 
 
Saboteur does definitely have some serious "open world jank" in it though.  I didn't come across anything game breaking, although I accidentally drove my car straight through the front gate of a base right into the side of a tank immediately lighting my car on fire, so when I hopped out the game autosaved me right there next the burning car and tank with a shit load of soldiers alerted to my presence.  Of course I died, but luckily when it reloaded my car was gone and the soldiers were no longer alerted so I was able to get passed by quickly sabotaging the tank and running for cover.  Another thing I noticed was repeatedly during missions roof top sentries would suddenly by imbued with the power to walk on air during alarms.  On 3 separate occasions I had soldiers walking off roof tops shooting me as they hovered in mid air.  I dunno how that got missed.  On two occasions I got stuck in the geometry while climbing on the roof top of the chemical plant and one of the other compounds you have to destroy piece by piece which I could only get out of by killing myself.  It's always really lame when that sort of thing happens in games, especially since both times the walk way on the corner of  the roof was not big enough for my character to pass so I would have to do a half wall climb and angle my fall to get on the other side of the pinch point.  When landing on top of that point sometimes I would fall in and then manage to get myself stuck in the wall as I struggled to get out.  It doesn't make sense because the rest of the walk way is plenty big to move through just the corners were apparently not made big enough...  Again I don't know how you would miss something like that in a game where you're supposed to be climbing around and using some level of stealth but whatever. 
 
Overall I enjoyed the majority of my time with the Saboteur, it had it's moments of frustration with the clunkiness of the stealth and the AI.  Missions in which an NPC death meant mission failed were annoying since of course the NPCs ,especially Skyler and Veronique, love running out in the middle of battle and getting gunned down in an instant.  The lack of being able to command your back up strike fighters results in them not doing much good and often times just serving as alternative targets for the Nazi soldiers to shoot at.  But despite all of its flaw The Saboteur is a good time and well worth a play through if the idea of fighting for the French resistance interests you.  Nothing is more satisfying than completely destroying a compound sneaking around silently shooting dudes in the back of the head and then when shit hits the fan just going buck wild with grenades and the terror mp40.  Just those sequences alone warrant a play through, once you get past the first few hours of slow progression, and awkward systems, this game really shines. 
  
Next up on my queue is Wet (x360) and I might post something in a few days about a couple of games I played through gamefly that I found out I actually liked although they received a lot of shit from the Giant Bomb guys as well as the community.

#1 Posted by E_rock (153 posts) -

Sitting here this Saturday afternoon I've come to the realization that I've been missing out on an opportunity to start a blog here at GB.  I've had a subscription to gamefly for the past 7 months now, and I've made it through just about 25 games.  During these past months I've played some great games that I've wanted to check out since they came out but never got around to either due to money issues or simply the time commitment.  Among my favorites that I've played recently are Resident Evil 5, Splinter Cell Conviction, Halo: Reach, and Red Dead Redemption.  However now that I've made it through all of the games I was anticipating the most I'm starting to reach that section of my game queue populated by games such Alpha Protocol, Crackdown 2, and Naughty Bear.  And thus the idea for this blog was born.  Why not share my opinions on these ill received games?  Does anyone really care though? No, probably not, but there in lies the purpose of the blog: spew forth your meaningless drivel for all of the internets to read.  And spew forth I will...  
 
If you haven't already figured it out from the tag or the cliche Inglorious Basterds quote in the title, I'm gonna be talking about The Saboteur (x360).  Which I just finished and sent back last night.  Overall this game got 20 hours out of me in the past week so that says something good about the experience. By all means the game is a fun, open world romp through Nazi occupied Paris and well worth a rental or a bargain bin purchase.  Once the game opened up, I had a great time running around blowing up Nazi installations and just bringin the ruckus throughout the city during the missions as well as in the open world freeplay.  The whole bringing color back to the neighborhoods is a cool concept, I especially liked how this animation would appear as a drop of water splashing on the ground and spreading ripples of color throughout the area.  I really enjoyed the philosophical references this held the first few times I saw it.   However after seeing it the 5th time, it lost its power, so by the time it happened how it did at the very end of the game, my only reaction was "of course they would".   Although I really enjoyed it at first,  I've never played the other games where this color effect was done. If you had played the other games, I can imagine you would of already gone through this same mentality in the previous game, cheapening the feel in Saboteur.  Combine that with the sub-par climbing abilities in terms of speed and accuracy in comparison to  Assassin's Creed and I can see where the criticism of The Saboteur poorly aping other games comes from.
 
The story really doesn't do the game any favors either: its not terrible but its just kind of meh.  The idea of fighting as the French resistance was refreshing going into the game however the story is populated by uninteresting or borderline annoying characters.  Skyler falls into the latter category, by the end of the game every time she appeared on screen I just cringed anticipating for some lame innuendo joke.   The entire racing sub-plot thing is uninteresting, and seems like it was stuck in there for the sole purpose of establishing Devlin as an 'everyman', albeit a bad ass IRA-esque 'everyman' driven by revenge and guilt.  In general the cinematic story is just some semi coherent filler stuffed in between mission sequences of blowing Nazi shit up.  At least the game was well aware of its strongest card.   Don't get me wrong, at times the story adds some substance to the missions but often it's just go here blow that up. 
  
The game gets off to a slow start with the racing intro and the first few missions where your completely out classed by the Nazi soldiers.  These early combat missions rely on stealth kills which is definitely something you have to get use to at first due to the clunky stealth/alert system.  This means I spent a considerable amount of time watching guard patrols, getting into position for kills, and figuring out how far to run past the guards I couldn't assault before hitting the walk button so they wouldn't see through my disguise, essentially game-y annoyances.  Often times I'd learn through trial and error cause in a few of those early missions when shit goes bad, shit goes real bad fast.  Since there are no silenced weapons at that point in the game, once I got caught I'd be force to blast the dude in the face, igniting a Nazi shit storm.   This makes the early combat heavy missions all slow going and carefully planned excursions.  I appreciate some stealth and planning in my games but the awkward way it was implemented in The Saboteur made it frustrating until I learned to game the stealth and climbing systems.  A perfect example is that some sentries see you plant a bomb from a obscene distance while others sentries apparently lack any sort peripheral vision since I'm planting a bomb 3ft to his left.  The climbing system really needs to stop making me hang from 6 foot drops alerting every soldier in a 50ft radius   To make matters worse, when shit hits the fan and its time to GTFO there aren't that many cars on the street, and when there are, they all seem to be the same 3 crap cars that can't outrun a Nazi vehicle to save its life.   This leads to seemingly endless car chases where you want to avoid killing more soldiers so you can escape but the only way to get away is to kill the assholes following you only to attract more dudes.  Running people off the road is the best defense and then stopping abruptly after leaving the detection circle so the alert goes awhile before any more dicks see you.
 
This all gets better near the end of Act I or whenever you get the get away and back up strikes as well as the silenced pistol and later the silenced smg.  From there on out just find a decently fast car for your get away strike, and always remember to keep it repaired and set up.  Nothing is worse than calling it in and having that crappy junker show up in a shit  storm cause you forgot to repair your main car.  I personally used a Dugati for a long portion of the middle of the game and later switched to the Altair / Aurora.  The combat is much better with the silenced pistol.  Just acquire a disguise and move your way around the compounds blowin up guard towers,  and shooting sentries in the back of the head if they get in the way.  Just focus on maintaining your disguise, then when it gets buck wild, bust out an mp40, or later the mp44, lob some grenades and continue raining hell throughout the compound.  In the later missions near the end of the game you don't even need to bother with silenced weapons, just blow up some stuff first then unleash hell.  Upgrade the blast radius on the explosives and the grenades as one of your first upgrades, well worth it cause takin out guys and objectives at the same time is awesome.  Past the first 5 hours was when this game really began to shine for me and the reason why I'd recommend people check it out. 
 
Saboteur does definitely have some serious "open world jank" in it though.  I didn't come across anything game breaking, although I accidentally drove my car straight through the front gate of a base right into the side of a tank immediately lighting my car on fire, so when I hopped out the game autosaved me right there next the burning car and tank with a shit load of soldiers alerted to my presence.  Of course I died, but luckily when it reloaded my car was gone and the soldiers were no longer alerted so I was able to get passed by quickly sabotaging the tank and running for cover.  Another thing I noticed was repeatedly during missions roof top sentries would suddenly by imbued with the power to walk on air during alarms.  On 3 separate occasions I had soldiers walking off roof tops shooting me as they hovered in mid air.  I dunno how that got missed.  On two occasions I got stuck in the geometry while climbing on the roof top of the chemical plant and one of the other compounds you have to destroy piece by piece which I could only get out of by killing myself.  It's always really lame when that sort of thing happens in games, especially since both times the walk way on the corner of  the roof was not big enough for my character to pass so I would have to do a half wall climb and angle my fall to get on the other side of the pinch point.  When landing on top of that point sometimes I would fall in and then manage to get myself stuck in the wall as I struggled to get out.  It doesn't make sense because the rest of the walk way is plenty big to move through just the corners were apparently not made big enough...  Again I don't know how you would miss something like that in a game where you're supposed to be climbing around and using some level of stealth but whatever. 
 
Overall I enjoyed the majority of my time with the Saboteur, it had it's moments of frustration with the clunkiness of the stealth and the AI.  Missions in which an NPC death meant mission failed were annoying since of course the NPCs ,especially Skyler and Veronique, love running out in the middle of battle and getting gunned down in an instant.  The lack of being able to command your back up strike fighters results in them not doing much good and often times just serving as alternative targets for the Nazi soldiers to shoot at.  But despite all of its flaw The Saboteur is a good time and well worth a play through if the idea of fighting for the French resistance interests you.  Nothing is more satisfying than completely destroying a compound sneaking around silently shooting dudes in the back of the head and then when shit hits the fan just going buck wild with grenades and the terror mp40.  Just those sequences alone warrant a play through, once you get past the first few hours of slow progression, and awkward systems, this game really shines. 
  
Next up on my queue is Wet (x360) and I might post something in a few days about a couple of games I played through gamefly that I found out I actually liked although they received a lot of shit from the Giant Bomb guys as well as the community.

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