A Diamond in the Rough
If your the kind of person who needs their games to be absolutely flawless, you may have trouble enjoying The Saboteur. It's got issues sure and at times it can feel like your playing an unfinished version, but there is still a lot of fun to be had here.
The storyline isn't anything to write home about but it does an effective enough job of motivating you to keep shooting and neck-snapping your way through the story missions. You play as Sean Devlin, an Irish mechanic who has joined an Italian car engineer and his French assistant Jules. After being knocked out of the Saarbruken Grad Prix by a cheating German driver, Sean and Jules plan a little revenge involving his car. After breaking into a sports car factory and pushing the prize winning automobile of a clif your quickly captured and find out that the man who beat you only races as a hobby and in fact has a far more devious line of work. After Jules is tortured you escape and make your way to Paris with Jules sister Veronic. There you meet a man named Luc who, with his ridiculose accent, stokes Mr. Devlin's lust for revenge by helping him blow up a Nazi fule depot.
The game actually has you take your first mission for the resistance before having a flash back about Jules and your previous career. It felt a little odd and I dont think theres any reason the two section couldn't have just been in cronological order, in fact they may even have worked better but thats a small quible on my part.
The gameplay is varied but unpolished which is a real shame as I think Pandemic were on to a winner here. The shooting is functional and when a fight goes your way it is a blast. The stealth, while fun and useful in some situations, is weird to say the least. Actual, splinter cell, metal gear solid style sneaking wont do you much use here. You can however sneak up behind a guard or simply beat one to death and then steal their uniform. This will allow you to walk around Nazi bases without fear alarms, provided you don't get too close to them.
And you'll know where thoes Nazi's are too thanks to a ver cool visual trick. Areas the Nazi's have full control over and black and white with only a few colors leaking through. As you help the resistance the color will come back into the world and its a nice way to track your progress. It can be a little difficult to navigate the black and white areas and I did have to put the gamma up at one point.
The Saboteur does have a problem with emersion. Any you may start to feel during one of the brief cutscenes or convosations is quickly lost when you have to start actually playing the game. The gameplay is fine but all the systems from the climbing to the shooting and especially the stealth make sure you know your playing a videogame.Some people may take issue with the characters' overdone accents but that just adds to the not so serious take on WWII the game has. It makes a nice change from the usual jingoistic tone these games tend to go for.
But for all its negative points, I cant stop having fun with this game. There are hundreds of Nazi targets all over Paris and the surrounding countryside. Destroying them will earn you some cash and make life a little easier if you need to make a getaway through that area later. Sean can climb most buildings to get a better view of the city. While he's not as adapt at this kind of thing as Altair or Ezio the system in place gets the job done with only the occasional hick up. Its a lot of fun to go on a sniper tower killing fest, planting bombs and making a dash to the nearest telephone wire, zip-lining out of danger just in time.
I've had an absolute blast playing The Saboteur. It does have flaws, and I recognise that I have been able to look past some that other wont be able to. I did get my copy second hand the day after release so take what you will from that. If you get a chance to play it I would say deffinatly try it. You may come away thinking its an unfinished mess, but your just as likely to develop an addiction to blowing up Nazi equipment.