Saturday, 12 December 2009

The Saboteur - Pandemic's swansong

What an amazing game idea: Steal cars from the French, and then run them over. OR climb tall buildings, and drop on the passing French people. Or even shoot them! Why did no-one ever think of this before? Oh, and once in a while you have to shoot a Nazi or two, or rescue someone or something trivial.

Following the initial 7 minute install, I decided (for the sake of testing) to use the nudity patch. Lots of effort, as downloading it didn't work properly - I believe it is now on the PSN store instead. Makes no difference to the game, and not really much of a difference anyway.

The game itself...

You play the part of an Irishman in occupied Paris. The city is in black and white, with Nazi propaganda being a very vivid red. As you gradually go through missions, the area you are helping comes alive by regaining some of its colour. Initially, there are Nazis everywhere, and the French people cower before them. This changes too, as the number of patrolling Nazis shrinks, and the French openly complain about the Nazis - kill a Nazi during this time, and the French will often stick the boot in too. It's fun watching an old woman kick the dead soldier, muttering "bastard" as she does.

As well as the main missions there are side objectives - shown as white dots on the maps you can purchase. These involve destroying Nazi AA guns, sentry-posts, fuel depots and stuff. Destroying these gets to be very addictive ("I'll just get one more").

Graphically, it is very impressive. Pandemic appear to have used the SPUs very well to handle most of the graphics processing (as can be read here: I'd even put it on a par with the Uncharted games for quality.

The AI is somewhat lacking, unfortunately. When you are driving around, the NPCs will often walk in front of the car, especially when you turn a corner. If you steal a car, and then drive off, the previous driver frequently gets in the way, and ends up dying.

The hand to hand combat is a bit flat, not feeling very well implemented. That might be down to me just button mashing when I melee the Nazis though! Melee a Nazi to death, and you can then steal their uniform, enabling you to enter restricted areas. The disguise part works well, and has you studying the area to make sure no enemies get close enough to see through it.

Climbing buildings works well, and your character seems to be as athletic as any assassin, no matter their creed!

Overall, in my opinion, it's a good fun game. Yes, there are flaws, but most can be overlooked. I'd rate it a comfortable 8/10, though you might want to rent it to see if you like it too.

IT may not be on a par with Borderlands (is anything?), but it definitely keeps me going back for more.



  1. sounds like the game-play mechanic is similar to inFAMOUS, as in you have to control areas of the map/kill the bad dudes/collect shiny things/go for a bit of a climb, would this be right thinking? if so it just made my list. nothing like a nice bit of anglo-french xenophobia in gaming. can you also wear the nazi disguise and kill the frenchies? not that i would condone such actions *coff* :D

    i like in inFamous how once you have respect of the civ's they 'help' you by throwing rocks at the dustmen/reapers or something at shout, i'm usually just hanging from a building watching this thinking, they're just gonna get themselves killed :)

  2. The mechanics do sound similar, though I have to confess I have never played Infamous. I did download the demo, but never got as far as playing it!

    I haven't tried killing the French while wearing a disguise, but might try that later, and let you know what happens.

  3. Only thing that puts me off about this game is the Irish main character...he shouldn't be in a videogam...he should be getting drunk atte end of a rainbow with a pot of gold!

    Sneaky Sneaky people they are *shifty eyes*

  4. Hahah - what have you got against the French? :)
    Graphically as good as Uncharted you say? *covers Drake's ears*
    The eurogamer article was interesting (thanks for link) especially as it compares the 360 version to the PS3 one. The PS3 version wees all over the 360 one, graphically I mean! :)

  5. Nice job MuggleMind, I'll put this on my radar now.

  6. Haven't tried killing more French lately - a little reading the manual suggested it might not be a good idea, as killing too many of the buggers makes the resistance less friendly to you. I guess that doing a better job of wiping out the French than the Germans isn't a good thing?

    One of the best effects is when an area suddenly develops a backbone. My grandsons were watching yesterday, as I was playing. At one point, as I completed a mission, colour flowed from the centre of the screen, changing the black and white scenery to a vibrant colour view. They were highly impressed. My youngest grandson wanted me to kill more "Romans" (he can't say Germans for some reason) to make it happen again!

  7. Only because I was bored, and had nothing better to do on the bus to work!

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