Freeing Paris from the Nazis turns out to be a less-than-liberating experience
However, the gratuitous opening cutscene, set in a strip club, is almost a metaphor of what is to follow. The game does nothing to dress up its World War II setting as anything other than a backdrop for what are some unapologetically cheap thrills.
From this point on, The Saboteur could be described as a blend of Grand Theft Auto and the TV show ‘Allo ‘Allo, with elements of Assassin’s Creed thrown in for good measure, since the player frequently has to run and jump across roofs.
It offers a large open-world environment and a mission-based gameplay structure that sees the main character, an Irish racing driver-turned-Resistance recruit, liberating various districts of Nazi-occupied Paris as he seeks revenge for the brutal murder of his best friend.
As with other open-world games, The Saboteur has different types of missions which involve racing, shooting or sneaking around. It’s nothing original but, aside from a slight overreliance on lengthy driving sequences to get you from one mission to the next, the game does a good job of balancing its different play styles, helping to keep things as varied and interesting as possible.
You are often left to decide which way to approach an objective. You could disguise yourself as a Nazi officer and sneak past your enemies or, if you prefer, jump into the fray with all guns blazing.
Very few aspects of The Saboteur break new ground technically. In its favour, though, the game features some striking sections that take place entirely in black and white. The idea is that whenever the player rids a particular area of the French capital of its Nazi occupiers, the dark, brooding monochrome visuals give way to glorious Technicolor.
Sadly, the game looks a whole lot less impressive when this happens. The switch to full colour actually emphasises many of the game’s underlying graphical weaknesses, such as its crude-looking character models and samey environments.
On top of that, some PC users with ATI graphics cards have reported problems running The Saboteur on their computers. EA has released a patch to help address this issue and hopefully a full update will be released soon. Visit the game’s website for more information if you are affected.
It’s something of a shame that The Saboteur never lives up to its initial premise. However, if you can get past the technical letdowns, the lack of sophistication and the slightly insensitive handling of its subject material, you will find a surprisingly diverse and enjoyable game.
Pegi age rating: 15+
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An unsophisticated but still diverse and enjoyable game
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