Before I go into my impressions of Sabotage, I need to make one thing clear, Replay Studios, the small team behind Sabotage, is not apart of the Gamecock team. Replay Studios is an indie developer from Germany who was invited to Hotel California to hang out with Gamecock. Replay joining up with Gamecock remains to be seen, one thing is for sure, this game is breath taking.
Hit the jump for my impressions on a simply stunning and beatiful looking game.
Sabotage stars Violette Summer, based on real life secret agent Violette Szabo. The game takes place during World War II and in Violette Summer's mind. What I mean by that is that Violette is in the hospital when she starts to recall the details of her various mission she was sent on. Think back to your first kiss, the first time you saw a beautiful art piece, the first time you tasted chocolate as a child. You always remember things slightly different than they were. So in the case of Violette, when you go into the levels (which are her flash backs essentially), the colors of the environment are much more vibrant, richer and surreal than what they actually were. The lead art director for the game has a passion for art and it shows through out the entire game.
As you progress through out the level, Violette narrates at various spots to give background on why or what she is doing. The controls of the game are similar to the Splinter Cell franchise with its heavy focus on stealth. I hate stealth games though. I just want to be able to run into a room and shoot the shit out of everything. It's not that I'm not good at stealth games, it's that I'm an impatient f*cker. So it was good to hear when Marc Mohring, the managing director, said you could also just run and gun if you wanted to. Of course, that would make things a lot harder and take away from some of the awesome ways you can kill the Nazi bastards. Aside from the traditional getting behind someone and knifing the neck, there are also some unique ways to take out your enemies.
One of the stealth kills that were performed was tricking a patrolling solider to follow your whistle. As he started to make his way to you, he just so happened to step into a puddle of gasoline. That when Violette shoots the puddle of gas and burns the Nazi alive. When I asked if there would be multiplayer, they straight up said no. They want to devote one hundred percent of their time at making the single player as good as possible as well as making a tremendous amount of ways to kill your enemies. One thing that was slipped was that you could have Violette sneak up to a guard, pull the pin from a grenade from his hostler and let the poor sap explode.
Another unique game play feature is called Morphine Mood. Since Violette is in a hospital bed, her heart rate can shoot up if she gets in sticky situation. When that happens, Violette can get an injection of morphine and things slow down. Think Bullet Time slow. Slower. Even slower than that. A nice touch to this sequence is that Violette's clothes change into her hospital gown during this short burst of morphine high.
The first level that was shown to me took place in a Nazi fuel bunker. The goal was to infiltrate the bunker and set the place off to explode. As you go through out the hallways and rooms, you can find notes and journals of soldiers talking about what's going on or writing to their family. It's a nice little touch adding to the realism to the game. Speaking of realism, a lot of the levels, settings and buildings are modeled after real places.
After each stage is done, you'll have the chance to upgrade your stats. The only example I can think of is when you play those online flash hentai games where you can add points to your various personality traits (like charm, strength, etc). You'll have 5 stats you can upgrade which are Morphine, Stamina, Stealth, Firearms and something I can't read cause my notes are really bad (how professional).
The next stage was shown to us briefly but what was shown was even more beautiful than the bunker stage. This mission involved one of the museums that the Germans were notorious for stealing art pieces from. As we were lead around the outside of the museum, we were shown the actual art pieces scattered outside of the museum. The team took time to capture the real world art pieces and insert them into the game. Even the stain glass windows on the museum are from the real museum in France.
All in all, I left very impressed. The game has been 1 year in development from originally a 10, to now 15-man development team. The engine, lighting, graphics, everything about this game has been created from the ground up. The game is expected to be out by September of 2008 for the PC and Xbox 360. One final note to point out is that the team from Rockstar that created the original Manhunt is helping Replay Studios in porting the game to the Xbox 360.