The Saboteur - Cheat Happens Game Review
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The Saboteur
PC, Playstation 3, XBox 360

Reviewed on: PC

Developer:
Pandemic Studios
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Rated: "M" for Mature



CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

   
   
   
Audio/Visual: 6
Gameplay: 5
Lasting Appeal: 5
Overall: 6
   
CHEATfactor: 6
   
     

In concept, Pandemic game’s The Saboteur is ambitious and exciting. An interesting and theatrical storyline teamed with artistically inspired visuals and an open WWII Paris to explore.  Could this be the game that bridges the gap in the long running debate of games vs. art?

Not so much. Now that The Saboteur has seen release, it’s clearly more of a mixed bag. It’s fun and different enough to warrant some solid playtime, but the core gameplay is incredibly flawed – leading to an experience that feels unfinished and rushed.

The game follows the story of real life World War II hero William Grover Williams. Well, to be honest, it’s a very loose following that straddles the line between interesting and goofy the whole way through. Our protagonist is an Irish mechanic, turned racer Sean Devlin. Through a series of tragic events, some steeped in history, some in imagination, Sean finds himself involved with the French Resistance. You’ll speed around Paris (and a few surrounding countries in the game’s slightly confusing prologue chapters) in jacked 40s era cars, rewrite history – and yes, blow up a ton of gas tanks.

"The whole experience is incredibly linear..."

 
   

At its core – The Saboteur is an open world experience, or rather, it tries to be. Yes, you can explore all of Paris at your own pace, but the true allure of any open-world/sandbox game is that there’s no real right way to complete the game’s missions. I never got this feeling in my time with The Saboteur. Every mission guides you step by step on what you should do. Climb that building. Use that zip-line. Blow up that tanker. Sure, there’s room for a little variation, buy why hold the player’s hand? The whole experience is incredibly linear, unless you ignore the campaign and just go sight-seeing.

Undoubtedly, The Saboteur’s most noticeable quality is its Schindler’s List inspired visual style. As you start the game, Paris is in a somber, subdued state. Covered in a blanket of black and white, the Nazi presence is everywhere.  As you progress through the game, and lead the resistance, you’ll inspire the people of France and restore color to the world. It’s a neat aesthetic trick, and the historical context is obvious – but you can’t help but feel that the game loses some of its visual identity when color is added. When you see the edgy black and white style of The Saboteur’s early levels, you know what game it is, but as color begins to be added, it looks like any other WWII action adventure game.  The whole mechanic seems a bit flawed as well, once you take into account that areas you’ve completed turn into color and while you can go back in – and it does make a difference in the game’s aesthetics and feel – there’s really no concrete reason to.

That being said, The Saboteur’s version of the city of lights is a lively and believable one. While it’s not as large and impressive as GTA’s Liberty City or even Saints Row’s Stillwater – it does have heart. Accompanied by era-appropriate big band style music, Paris feels like it should. Old men walk with canes down cobbled streets, lovers search for dark corners to hide. Everything from the architecture to the people feels authentic and it’s quite impressive.

The missions in The Saboteur are varied and should be enough to keep you interested. Ranging from the traditional “steal this car, sabotage this” to the more unexpected missions sabotaging trains and sky diving, there’s definitely enough to do in Paris. One thing you’ll be doing a lot of, is blowing stuff up. Somehow, a good seventy-five percent of your missions will end in awe-inspiring explosions. You’ll bring a fiery end to tankers, bases, even blimps. It’s predictable, but damn is it fun.

"...the game’s shooting and stealth mechanics are solid enough to save the melee combat."

 
   

Sadly, the game’s melee combat system is all but broken.  Each face button has a combat function, be it a strong kick or punch, but the system is unresponsive, sluggish and slow. When you connect with an attack, it doesn’t feel at all impressive, nor does it feel rewarding, so much so that you’ll often wait around downed enemies to make sure they’re finished, taking on damage in the process.  Luckily, the game’s shooting and stealth mechanics are solid enough to save the melee combat. How can it not be satisfying to strike from the shadows and snap a Nazi’s neck

The Saboteur features no multiplayer, no co-op and no branching storylines. Once you finish the game’s decently lengthy main campaign, you’ve done it all. More often than not, games are chastised for not including death matches, or multiplayer suites – but the focus on the game’s single player campaign is refreshing. Would it be nice to have one player play as Sean while the other plays as Luc? Sure, but the game doesn’t suffer because it’s not incorporated.

As a swan song for developer Pandemic, which closed its doors just before the game’s release, The Saboteur is a fitting, yet flawed tribute to a prolific developer. The Saboteur won’t take up your time like some of this year’s top games, but it does serve as a worthy diversion in between games. Viva La Resistance! 

 

CHEATfactor

CHEATS USED: Unlimited Health, Ammo, Contraband, Spy Freeze, Super Spy Mode

My main problem with The Saboteur is just how little freedom you had in the game’s missions, but with the trainer found at Cheat Happens – you’ll get some of that freedom back.

Using the unlimited health cheat, you’ll not only be able to take on more Nazi guards, you’ll also be able to explore the rooftops of Paris more freely as falling won’t do so much damage (and you’ll still get Sean’s accent filled potty mouth tirades).  You’ll also have access to unlimited contraband, and ammo.

Key here is the ability to unlock Spy freeze or Super Spy, which freezes your enemies in their place (they can still shoot though) and the ability to stop all alarms, letting you sneak in and out of Nazi strongholds.
The life of a spy isn’t an easy one – but with this trainer, it’s a bit more fun.

 

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