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Submitted by Gwynne Dixon on December 7 2009 - 16:39

Comedy Nazis, naked ladies, and fast cars - it's all just a day in the life of The Saboteur's Sean Devlin...

Pros
  • Varied missions
  • Naked ladies
  • Good setting
Cons
  • Uninspiring gameplay
  • Annoying protagonist
  • Too short

Just when you thought comedy Nazis had left videogames forever, EA pulls them back in. We're talking about the sort of Nazis who run around with a flamethrower shouting, "There iz die Saboteur! Ve must get him!" while wearing an unlikely combination of a trench coat and gas mask. Although this archetype is getting a little old now (in fact, pretty much the only time it's been entertaining is in Raiders of the Lost Ark, [ed. Blackadder has been removed from this list, thanks Post no. 13 on the comments], and 'Allo 'Allo!), life would be fairly depressing if you couldn't mock the most evil people in history once in a while, and what better way to do this than with a Celtic protagonist called Sean Devlin?

As his name might suggest, Sean is a bit of a devil. Not so much of a devil that he won't kill Nazis, but enough of a devil to womanise, drink heavily, and swear a lot. More Irish stereotyping comes from Sean's tendency to break into brawling fistfights, but it's all against the Nazis so where's the harm in that? Never mind the fact that Pandemic and EA has effectively insulted most of Ireland's population with the most clichéd and poorly voice-acted Irish character we've ever come across. He's like a leprechaun crossed with Colin Farrell, crossed with Father Jack from TV's much loved Father Ted (only a lot less entertaining than any of them).

Brief respite from Sean's character comes in the form of partially nude burlesque shows in the game's Belle de Nuit gentleman's club/game hub (it's Pandemic's take on the Moulin Rouge). This is perhaps one of the few positives to take out of the game, not just because there's full-on nudity (giggle, giggle) but also because it illustrates how far games have come in the last fifteen years. We're not suggesting that mild pornography is progress; it's just that a decade ago, a fully clothed image of Lara Croft would've been enough to stir up tabloid sensationalism and thousands of complaint letters from the Women's Institute. At least the mobs with pitchforks are willing to turn a blind eye to virtual burlesque shows being downloaded from Xbox Live these days (The Saboteur's no-holds-barred Midnight Show can only be obtained with a free DLC code from the game's manual, which means that you'll have to buy it first-hand from a retailer to see it).

Beyond this mild titillation though, you'll be hard pressed to find anything else that's entertaining in the game. While we'd usually suggest that comedy Nazis and nudity are enough to sell a game by themselves, we simply can't see this lazy mess of a game managing to field a sequel. Its gameplay has essentially been cherry-picked from a number of other far superior sandbox titles, although Pandemic's interpretation of these features is lacklustre and uninspired. A wanted system much like GTA's is let down by two-dimensional AI that makes the ensuing chases mind-numbingly dull, while the ability to climb across the environment (a la Assassin's Creed) is simply a case of constantly tapping 'jump' to clamber onto the ledges of repetitively designed buildings. Occasionally you'll get the opportunity to slide down a guy-rope, but that's about as exciting as things get.

Where the gameplay becomes unmistakably Pandemic is with the combat, which borrows from the gunplay of Mercenaries 2. However, minus the ability to call in airstrikes or fly a helicopter into the side of an oil rig, this combat becomes fairly uninspiring very quickly (not that Mercs 2 was particularly enjoyable in the first place). More troublesome than all of this, though, is the lethargic development effort that's been put into the game. Glitchy environments, amateurishly pasted together sound effects, and cut-scenes with a distinct lack of joie de vivre are commonplace in The Saboteur.

It's hard to pinpoint exactly where Pandemic went wrong with the current crop of consoles but there's something undeniably previous-gen in the visuals and presentation of Mercs 2, Lord of the Rings: Conquest, and now The Saboteur. Perhaps tight development cycles have forced the studio to make creative sacrifices, or maybe it's struggled with new technology. Whatever the case, it's just a shame that The Saboteur wasn't a more fitting swansong for the once great developer of Star Wars Battlefront, Full Spectrum Warrior, and the first Mercs game.

Original thinking has been consistently lacking in the studio's projects since it was acquired by EA, and at least The Saboteur takes a stab at some new ideas. The Parisian setting (which later expands deeper into France) is a breath of fresh air - even if the depiction falls far short of the sort of environmental detail in Rockstar's genre-leading GTA IV - while the contrast between black & white visuals for Nazi occupied areas of the map and full colour for regions that the Resistance liberates is a welcome touch. Stealth gameplay has also been thrown-in to mix things up, but where Pandemic provides players with the option of all-out assault or a stealthy approach, it also falls flat on its face due to poor AI, a wanted system that's all too eager to kick-in, and slap-dash design in the set-pieces.

Nazi disguises and the option of attacking from rooftops can often get you into a set-piece unseen, but many of the stealth sections don't allow you to get out as stealthily as you came in and end up with an inevitable escape from a Nazi wanted circle on the map. This tends to leave you with the feeling that all of your stealthy hard work has been in vain, while the barrage of attack from incoming Nazis is irritating to say the least. The Saboteur's bleed-out health system is also a bit of an immersion breaker, as Sean appears to be able to withstand half the Third Reich's combined firepower before he dies. It makes you wonder why you don't just go into every mission like a bull in a china shop, kill the required target/retrieve the required item, and then swan your way out in a getaway vehicle.

Where The Saboteur does do a half decent job is with variation in its missions. There's everything from sniping targets to stalking Nazi generals in order to uncover an informant, and Pandemic even had time to throw in some motor racing against the much feared Kurt Dierker. Speaking of Dierker (Sean's arch nemesis), he features in one of the best sections in the game. After pursuing him onto a Zeppelin (which then proceeds to burst into flames, as Zeppelin's tend to when you fire guns in them), Sean has to fight through the flames and falling scaffolding to try and catch Dierker. The ensuing action sequence has the sort of kinetic feel of Uncharted 2, although this is the one gaming gem in what is otherwise an entirely uninspiring sandbox experience.

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  • Graphics: 68%
     
  • Sound: 54%
     
  • Gameplay: 59%
     
  • Originality: 57%
     
  • Longevity: 48%
     
Overall Score: 5/10
It's hard to imagine why anyone would opt for The Saboteur when they've got Assassin's Creed II as an alternative. Beyond its Parisian setting, The Saboteur fails to add any new ideas to the sandbox genre other than breasts. While this will probably be enough for some of you to consider a purchase, we'd strongly advise against it on the grounds of bog-standard gameplay. Still, if you want some very expensive softcore porn, then The Saboteur is right up your alley.

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By: Anonymous

Added:Fri 17th Feb 2012 14:18, Post No: 30

well gwynne where is the review for the darkness 2, lol hypocrite much i hope your been fired from this site as you know naff all about being a gamer.

 

this review for the saboteur for example is much like a review for forza 4, why have forza when GT5 is a much better game, is it though ???.

 

the final word really show what a callus little ignorent moron you are, you didnt even mention 1 thing about the game its self but rather mention the tiny 0.1% of the game that had topless women in it.

 

with reviews like this its no wonder this site has gone down the crapper with visitor numbers dropping all the time and lazzy news updates its a supprise that gwynne actually got a job on this site in the first place.

 

thank god my cousin got it on release day or i might have missed this gem thank to dwynne, a lesson this site could learn is never let a fanboy do a game review that mean you gwynne.

 

next review by gwynne "the darkness 2" final word/score 6/10 "

It's hard to imagine why anyone would opt for The Darkness 2 when they've got Crysis 2 as an alternative. Beyond its city suburbs setting, The Darkness 2 fails to add any new ideas to the FPS genre other than breasts and smut. 

 

just for you gwynne reworded using part of your final word on the saboteur


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Tue 17th Aug 2010 17:34, Post No: 29

thats so good comming from you, "forza 3 isnt as good as need for speed shift" remember when you said that, as for what youve just said you dont know much about keeping your own personal opinions to your self when writing a review the saboteur is not a medicore game like blur dumba**, like you said its just another mario kart (not as good as mario) or wipeout (yet again not as good as wipeout) if you wernt such in ignorent sh** maybe your reviews would be better as only you and 1up said the saboteur wasnt that good AND ONLY YOU AND 1UP SAID ITS CRAP lol and you say i dont know the difference, maybe if you actually put the time in to actually play it instead of playing assasins creed 2.

 

no sodding wonder the rest of the word thinks this site sucks with idiotic reviewers like your self chatting sh** about games you blatently dont like, what ive learnt is your an ignorent stubbon sh** head with absolutly no regard for small development studios (note EA shut down pandemic, probably cause people went by reviews like yours and avoided the game).

 

your like asking a 360 fanboy to do a review for a ps3 game, no real supprise there as the final score is going to be low much like your review for the saboteur, you rubbished it on minor issues like naked ladies ect much like a fanboy going on about a certain game having similaritys like GTA vs SAINTS ROW oh much like your review. one thing i do know is your a sad tw** who knows fu** *ll about being a gamer your just a critic.


By: freeradical

Added:Tue 17th Aug 2010 11:18, Post No: 28

I've learnt that you don't know much about what makes a good game and what makes a mediocre one.


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Tue 17th Aug 2010 10:31, Post No: 27

its a learning experience, ahve you even learnt anything yet ??.

 


By: freeradical

Added:Tue 17th Aug 2010 09:38, Post No: 26

Whatever dude. Haven't you got something better to do with your life than try and slate me all the time? If my reviews are so bad, then why even bother spending the time arguing with me about them?


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By: Anonymous

Added:Mon 16th Aug 2010 23:45, Post No: 25

well looks like EDGE mag changed there scores for forza 3 cause back in october last year in the mag the score was a blatent 10/10 either that or it was a typo, either way your reviews are not based on how good a game is more about fanboy orientated games like call of duty, halo and typically assasin's creed, not only mine but many other people opinion's your review was lame and you blatently showed little intrest in the whole game you must have played it for all of 5 mins and based your review on that. after 80 hours play time i can quite easily say i enjoyed every moment of the game and looking through youtube among other sites looks like your review was the only one that scored the game that low and not one review said anything about avoiding the game "just you" not one review said anything about purchasing assasin's creed 2 "just you" you think that i diddnt backup my argument at least i played the fu****g game next time you find a game you dont like let somone who actually shows an intrest review it and you can review the game youve become a fanboy of like NFFS or assasin's creed 2.

 

for every review i see you name on ill know its gonna be a crap review not worthy of anyone's time to waste reading it.


By: freeradical

Added:Mon 16th Aug 2010 20:53, Post No: 24

Check Metacritic. EDGE gave Forza 3 a score of 9/10 last October.


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Mon 16th Aug 2010 19:51, Post No: 23

i ment "aswell" lol i failed there.


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Mon 16th Aug 2010 19:50, Post No: 22

lol gwynne youve just proved to the whole world or anyone who has come here to read the latest comments ect that your a complete moron, in october last year EDGE gave forza 3 10/10 and i know im right just like the score IGN gave was right aswell (you might asweel call it a day lol youve failed).


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Mon 16th Aug 2010 19:47, Post No: 21

and let me guess your not doing the review for halo reach as we all know if its sh** youll still give it 10/10 (game jurnalist your not, fanboy you are) ie hates the saboteur but loves assasin's creed (unless like i said before he used a patched PC version to do his poorly made review )the ps3/360 version's when used with the code that come's in the box "new and used" just mine haddnt been used till i used it, there was no full nudity just a bunch of ladies walking about topless wearing panties and stockings there is no full nudity what so ever. and its only in the belle de nuit, no where else in the game do you see topless ladies (though ive never seen anyone else critcise a duke nukem game for featuring scanti clad women or in fact any other game that feature semi naked ladies) so my guess is gwynne is either gay or on the turn lol. like i said before once youve got past the slight nudity theres an abosrbing story line thats well concieved though such a shame the reviewer is such an idiotic fanboy of other games such as GTA ect (let me guess gwynne you gave saints row1/2  4/10 lol you need to put that sheep down.


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