The Saboteur (PC)
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Explore an open world recreation of wartime Paris and fight to free the city, with newly liberated districts turning from black and white to colour as the strength of the occupying forces weakens. Only by inspiring the civilians' will to fight can you begin to turn the tide, as you assassinate German officials and sabotage equipment, vehicles and buildings.
The closer you get to final victory the more help you'll have, but for many missions you must rely on your own stealth tactics and combat skills. As you clamber across rooftops and make use of the intuitive cover system, you can help win WWII from a very different perspective.Key Features
- Resistance is not futile: Stealth, action and '40s chic combine in a unique take on World War II warfare that's inspired by true events and people.
- Colour of victory: Watch liberated districts burst into colour, as you fight to free a city where Nazi symbols are the only things not in black and white.
- Assassin's creed: Use your stealth skills to assassinate the Nazis responsible for killing your friends, as you race across rooftops and use cover to strike without being seen.
- Weapons of war: Collect and utilise a wide range of weapons and explosives to help your missions or commandeer enemy vehicles to complete your goals.
- Power to the people: Inspire the people with your victories and you can count on help from the Maquis, ordinary civilians and British Intelligence.
World War II games aren’t exactly thin on the ground, but there has never been one remotely like The Saboteur. Instead of sticking you on the front lines, it immerses you in an edgy, paranoid Paris, occupied by the Nazis, in which the Resistance is struggling to remain below the radar yet strike back at the oppressors. Take this delicious scenario and add Grand Theft Auto-style third-person, free-roaming action-adventure gameplay, then season it with some exceedingly clever visuals -- areas locked down by the Nazis are rendered in near-monochrome, with just the odd splash of colour – and you have a tasty dish indeed.
Vibrant colours abound, mind you, as proceedings kick off: the war hasn’t yet started, and you find yourself playing Sean Devlin, a devil-may-care Irishman who is a race-car mechanic and budding driver. A race on the eve of the war brings you into contact with your nemesis, high-ranking Nazi Kurt Dierker, who murders your best mate Jules; as war erupts, you rescue Jules’ sister Veronique and your mentor Vittore, pitching up in Paris at a house of ill-repute called the Belle de Nuit.
Which is where the fun really starts. A now cynical, hard-bitten Devlin, seeking to avenge Jules and look after the impulsive Veronique, falls in with the French Resistance and, through British old flame Skylar Sinclair British Intelligence, and carries out increasingly risky missions for both organisations, as well as other wings of the Resistance, priests and all sorts of others. The Saboteur is a meaty game with vast numbers of missions and side-missions; those involving the Resistance and British Intelligence advance the story, though.
Open-world action-adventure games are all about systems which determine how the world operates and in that respect, The Saboteur is state-of-the-art. The key system is Suspicion – the Nazis occupying Paris were famously paranoid, and if any of them spot you doing anything untoward, they will blow whistles to sound the alarm. At which point you will be swamped by the blighters.
It’s lucky, then, that Devlin has stealth abilities – when he bloodlessly executes Nazis, he can don their uniforms and creep around. And he can scale buildings, and thus approach unexpectedly from the rooftops. Escaping from suspicion involves distancing yourself from pursuers or finding a hiding-place. The weaponry is pleasingly exotic, including scoped sniper-rifles and RPGs; ammo is plentiful. A Contraband system acts as currency, which you can exchange for useful items with spivvy black marketers (who also assign you side-missions). The cars are great, too, and you get free access to any you’ve stolen once you have driven them back to one of many secure garages dotted around the city. A period soundtrack ratchets up the pungent atmosphere.
The aspect of The Saboteur which really stands out, though, is its missions: they ramp up before long to a truly spectacular level, and take in all manner of exotic locations, such as a Zeppelin or the Louvre. Impressively, you never feel that you have to take a specific approach although, in general, stealth is best employed unless there are only a few enemies in the vicinity. The story and characters impress, too, with more depth than we are used to finding in games – Skylar flirts incorrigibly with Devlin, for example, and Margot de Bonnaire, leader of one of the Resistance factions, is obsessed with wrestling Parisian artworks from the grip of the Nazis.
If the idea of enacting a GTA-style game in a stylised yet utterly believable Occupied Paris appeals to you (and how could it not?), then you’re going to love The Saboteur.
After merging with BioWare and then being bought by EA, Pandemic became one of the biggest studios in the U.S. They've worked on many different styles of games, from Star Wars: Battlefront to Mercenaries, but they were closed in 2009 - although the name and some staff remain at EA.
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