The Saboteur: First Hour Review

Apr 19, 2010

Bonjour mes chéris and welcome to the First Hour Review of “The Saboteur”. I will admit right now that I have played around 3 hours of this game so far, but that’s how it always is with these types of games. I am tackling the sounds of decorating and background music right now but I shall persevere to tell you how I feel about this game.

The Saboteur is a Third Person, Action Shooter with Sandbox like freedom. The game is set in Nazi occupied France during World War II and follows the protagonist “Sean Devlin” who I understand is based off of the War Hero “William Grover-Williams”. Devlin is an Irish mechanic that takes refuge in a Burlesque club called “The Belle”, he is recruited by the French Resistance and the British Operations Executives to take revenge on his nemesis “Kurt Dierker”.

Don’t fret that was just a brief intro, I’m not going to fill this Review with dastardly spoilers, why would I?

To try explaining this title’s gameplay I would have to say it is a mix of “The Godfather Game” and “Mercenaries” but with a dash of the “Call of Duty”-ish ambience and topped with a sprinkle of “Assassin’s Creed” like free-running. You will pick up missions from your employers throughout the game in the familiar “Grand Theft Auto” style, as in you see a small icon on your map and you visit it for your work. The Graphics are very nice, like I’ve said before, I’m not a Graphic Snob but this game is very nice to look at. The areas under Nazi control are completely de-saturated except for slight hints of standout colour such as the yellow glow from the windows of homes and dark red Swastika flags, very “Sin City”-esque art style.
Once an area is taken back by the Resistance, the colour flows back. After a good half hour of 10% colour, it looks so amazing to have everything saturated again. The lights, the cars, the flowers, everything just looks way more free and you truly feel that the oppression is gone!

The weapons up for grabs include anything from a Silenced Pistol to an Assault Rifle, or if you play long enough, A Rocket Launcher – Yum. These can be bought from the Black Market vendor along with Grenades and Dynamite for the various destructive errands that Mr Devlin has to run. The story missions are broken up by the little side collectibles that are available – when I say available, I mean for destruction. Basically there are Nazi Guard Towers, Propaganda Speakers and various other paraphernalia that is completely destructible with the aid of your trusty Dynamite sticks, once these go Kaboom you get an “out of 24” type check and a nice little reward. Your money is worthless due to the Nazis changing the currency so your money system is counted in “Contraband” which is obtained by completing missions, blowing up the afore mentioned collectible thingies and by finding glowing blue boxes hidden around the map, which contain weapons and other goodies too.

The vehicles are gorgeous, old fashioned cars galore. From the Junker truck to the top of the range Racing cars, all of them handle differently, are truly great to look at and can be stored in the Garage which is unlocked after a short while. Here you can collect every vehicle in the game and make it available at any time as well as making upgrades and repairs to vehicles you already own. You will get used to the driving early on during the prologue, make sure you don’t play many other driving games alongside this because if you forget how to drive then it’s going to be tricky to lose your pursuers later on.

Speaking of pursuers, Devlin is constantly under the watchful eye of the Nazis. Surrounding the little GPS map there is a suspicion bar, this fills up if you do anything that they don’t like, for instance… Let’s see umm; driving fast, running fast, getting too close to them, shooting, punching, climbing, falling, standing on roofs, holding a gun, holding Dynamite, entering their restricted zones, sneaking, jumping, breaking anything and planting bombs – Phew I thought I’d faint there.

This would be my only complaint with the game. I constantly enter missions that start with Devlin making a comment like, “Let’s take it nice and slow lads” meaning that stealth is the idea here. “Okay so I’ll just sneak round the ba-CURSES!” That stupid suspicion bar fills up at the speed of light I tell you. By the time the *PGAAA* noise telling you that you are suspected finishes you are already being filled with lead. Ah but you can stealth kill a Nazi soldier by sneaking up behind and pressing Square or Triangle (PS3) then take their clothes so you are able to walk among them! “Okay so I’ll just walk past this soldie-DAMMIT!” Even this doesn’t work, you have a suspicion ring around you on the map when you are in disguise. If you do anything that’s suspicious it becomes huge and you will certainly be found out. However even with the aid of the sneak button that helps you walk like a soldier would, the ring still exists… So if you get too close to a soldier (Even like, 3 feet away) he still suspects you.

Why did you sound the alarm!!!

So I am usually in this situation. Me: “I shall just climb over this fence because the coast is clear”, at this point a Nazi soldier will appear from behind a tree. Mr soldier: “Hello there, I’ve seen you and I plan to investigate the discord of behaviour you are displaying over there”. By this time the soldier is gaining on me and the suspicion meter is filling, so I have to run, there’s no alternative. This makes him even more suspicious and I take one in the back of the noggin. Granted, it’s quite a big peeve with the game because it makes most missions impossible to complete without a fire fight, but I like guns… there’s no penalty for gunfire, so I just shoot anyway.

To sum up my playtime so far, I would say I am really enjoying it, the story is great, it keeps me playing to see what plan is unfolding next, the gameplay is lots of fun and not at all constricting. The Sound is very good, the voice acting is great and the dialogue is very funny at times, plus you get a great soundtrack including classics such as Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” and “Somebody Nobody Loves” by Ella Fitzgerald.

So that’s the first hour or so of my time playing The Saboteur. I would recommend this to anyone who likes Grand Theft Auto type games because it’s basically GTA: France, 1940. On that note of serious game liking I shall say Au Revoir or as Sean would say “Top o’ the mornin’ t’ya, or whatever time it is”.

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