I literally just wrapped up The Saboteur about five minutes ago. I, like many in these interwebs, had been hyped for this game since it was announced years ago. The concept of a Nazi-controlled Paris that is saturated in black and white, that when liberated would become colorful once again. Just this idea alone had sold me many years ago. I got a little worried, however, when Pandemic's 2008 title Mercenaries 2 (another title that I had been hyped for) turned out to be a glitchy mess. But after hearing that The Saboteur was to be Pandemic's swan song, I felt it obligatory to pick it up. Is it a worthy send off?
Sean Devlin is an Irish race car driver who is caught up in Nazi-occupied Paris and must help the local resistance overthrow the Nazi regime. He's also there to get revenge on the main baddie, Kurt Dierker. He kills your brother and you want revenge, blah blah blah. Sure, the plot is both unoriginal and sometimes hilarious, but it keeps you motivated and interested enough to follow it to the end.
If you played Pandemic's last game, Mercenaries 2, then you should be used to the look of The Saboteur. This is both good and bad, since Mercs 2 is a 2008 title. It looks decent, nothing to write home about, but it gets the job done. Character animations are hit and miss, with a lot of Sean's actions looking downright silly (climbing buildings looks incredibly awkward). Also, facial animations can get weird too The black and white of Nazi-occupied areas looks neat, and the coloring effect when you free an area looks cool, but as a whole the graphics are just average.
There really isn't anything original here, and even the stuff it does are not great. Competent is the word I would use. The shooting is average, the driving is average, and even the climbing (once you get used to it) is just average. Again, nothing great or original, but its definitely not bad. However, there is a BIG emphasis on blowing stuff up. And its fun too. The mission structure is rather archaic, with the only good way to get around being a vehicle. Luckily you can stow away vehicles that you either pick up or steal. An extra bonus is getting a fast racing car or a Nazi-mobile with some weapons on it. On the downside, Sean can be very clunky and doesn't always respond like you'd want him to.
Now here is where the game shines, but not in the way that you would imagine. The voice acting is downright awful. So awful, in fact, that it makes the game that much better. Its very clear that the entire cast is American, and that all of the accents are fake. Its brilliant. Everything that comes out of Sean's mouth is stereotypical Irishman funk ("Fuck'n shite!!", "Who do ya have'ta bothur to git a pint o' whisky?"). And on top of that, most of the other voices are French, so you get a lot of people saying "Wi wi!", as if every French person constantly says that (I'm just kidding, I know they do). The music does a decent job of setting the mood, with big crescendos when you're doing something epic like blowing up a tower or when you're being chased by Gestapo.
The story is a decent length, as I finished it in about nine or ten hours. There is also quite a bit of stuff to do. There's duck hunting (no shit), racing, and liberating more of Paris to name a few. Its a good little package, but it might be worth just a rental for those who are not entirely sold. If you are REALLY interested and are looking for a new sandbox game, I think it should be dropping in price soon (sadly, I don't think its selling well).
The Saboteur is a decent game that, despite its interesting premise, just isn't original or executed well enough to run with the bigger sandbox games. Its worth a look for anyone willing to put up with its shortcomings, and there's definitely some fun to be had here. As Pandemic's last game, The Saboteur stands as a summary of what Pandemic has been good at making all of these years: not perfect, but fun titles that tided us over until the next AAA title hit. See ya around, Pandemic.
Question of the Day: What was your favorite Pandemic game?