The Saboteur for PS3 review

This is one of those games that I was really looking forward to as I kinda hoped it would be right up my street, lots of sneaky stealth moves, slinking about and generally being able to investigate the big, open world at my own leisure and pace.

Before I slam the game a bit of background. It is set in Paris during the 2nd World War during the German occupation. You are Sean, this Irish bloke, who is on an avenging mission and is tasked with doing a whole load of things to basically disrupt the Nazi war machine. Most of Paris initially opens in black and white and as you complete missions colour is restored to Paris presumably to indicate a bit of life being brought back to the great city.

First problem…Sean is highly unlikeable. As a result, you end up playing a character you basically begin to think is a bit of a smart arse twat. The second major problem for me is that this game manages to combine some of the features that I dislike most about games, namely a heap of timed missions so you’re dashing around like a blue arsed fly early on, huge gaps between auto-saves and you get forced down routes via missions instead of being able to play the game you would like to.

There is a lot of variety however in the missions you are given by the in game characters but the problem is this…you drive around Paris looking for the next mission point, find it and then are told that this mission requires a degree of covertness to be successful. However, invariably you end up in a spot where there are Nazi watch towers in each corner, with spotlights blazing down on you and you feel like you are on the middle of the Wembley pitch with the floodlights on. How the heck are you meant to act stealthily there? You end up having to yank out the guns and going in with all guns blazing in a big shoot out which renders each purported stealth mission a bit pointless. I found this infuriating. You start off all stealthy, trying to sneek around (even though there is no actual control in the game to enable you to “sneak”) and within about half a second you’ll have been spotted and about 50 Nazis will suddenly appear and start shooting. For goodness sake, if you’re going to market the game as some stealth thing at the very least give the character some stealth attributes, like errr…cover instead of making him as easy to handle as a bulldozer on ice.

You’re meant to take advantage of creeping around via the rooftops of Paris to remain unseen but again, after having had to climb up buildings (not fun in itself) to get to this plateau you can more or less guarantee that you’ll be spotted almost instantly and thus have to flee as fast as possible from that spot. When you are spotted, and you will be, alarms sound and half the 3rd Reich Army appear out of thin air necessitating some pronto back tracking back to where you were. Great fun. I spent a couple of weeks playing this game and more or less gave up as I was continually having to replay sections.

The game follows the by now usual pattern of multiple upgrade paths which you can unlock by completing missions, finding stuff and doing favours for some of the more militant locals. Thankfully this gives you something to aspire too otherwise I’d have abandoned it very early doors out of sheer irritation. Graphically it is okay too and the playground is vast, it’s like Grand Theft Auto except the cars handle like buses with knackered steering and 100 tons of cement stuck in the boot so getting around the place, and trying to get through the driving sections, is a chore.

After about 2 weeks of solid cursing I just gave up which is a shame as the game idea was good, there is some potential in there but the heavy handed game physics and sheer unlikeability of the cliche-ridden central character bring nothing but unremitting frustration.

In a word…avoid.

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