The Saboteur is a third person sandbox open world game set in Paris during World War 2. You play as an Irish mechanic and race car driver named Sean Devlin, whose friend was recently killed by Nazis. He then decides to join the French resistance and try to take revenge on the Nazis who killed his friend. Was Pandemic Studio's final game a last wave goodbye? Or was it a way to show everyone that Pandemic closing down was for the better?
To get deeper into the story, you play as a race car driver and mechanic named Sean Devlin. You decide to participate in a race in Germany at the start of World War 2, but lost the race because a Nazi colonel named Kurt Dierker-who was also racing-cheated by shooting out your tires. In revenge, you and your friend Jules destroy Dierker's car, but are soon caught by the Nazis. After being tortured and Jules being killed by Dierker, you escape and soon find yourself part of the resistance, but with the main goal in mind to kill Dierker and protect Jules' sister Veronique.
Despite a pretty basic revenge plot, the story throughout was good. Along your journey, you meet other resistance fighters, and its through their experiences with Devlin is what made the story pretty good. I would say that the story isn't super strong, but isn't weak either. But the big thing that is noticed are colors, or lack their of. In the game, you fight for control of districts of Paris against the Nazis. If the Nazis control that area, then the world is black and white, only with lights and the color red showing. But if you control the area, then the world turns into color. This way of art was fantastic to me.It emphasized Nazis being this dark presence while you are this beacon of hope and it was something unique that I had never seen before or since. Also, the transition between color and colorless was smooth, which was good, because you constantly change between color and colorless, and having a poor transition would not be good to constantly see. As with other sandboxes, the feeling of the weapons feels distant while the ragdoll physics and explosions are the main attraction for fun and hilarity. This time, you have a Irish with a dirty mouth making explosions happen. I would say that overall, the feel of the game is good. Finally, the setting is definitely interesting. Being able to go and explore different landmarks of Paris under Nazi control was pretty fun as well.
But every game has bad parts, and sadly, The Saboteur has plenty. One of the bigger issues I had with the game was how broken the game was. The game crashed for me a couple of times, and a couple of times, the ground wouldn't spawn, so I would watch cars fall into a giant pit in the middle of the road. On top of that, the far distance textures also would not load and cars would have the strangest noises driving at high speeds. When driving any car at high speed, the sound of the engine would either go into a monotone noise that sounded nothing like the engine before or would cut entirely. I had these and other bugs in the game that sadly will not be fixed, as for the studio who made this game shut their doors. Another problem I had with the cars were the stiff controls. Since this game is set in a city where breaking the law meant death, driving a car to get away is a pretty key element in the game. Despite that plus the pretty fun races you have against, the car controls are stiff, and driving fast just ended with crashes. Speaking of controls, I could not seem to change the weapon controls to anything. I kept on trying different keys, but nothing would change the controls from 1 and 2. Going back to high speed chases, the map is littered with military checkpoints, which the only way through is busting through, which meant a car chase. At first, it kept the action going which was fun, but then it happened over and over and over to the point where I would try to find a way to drive or walk around. On top of that, the way the car chases are set up is that a motorcycle driving Nazi would constantly spawn in front of you, which meant that getting out of the alarm was incredibly tough and annoying. Some other problems I had with the game include a glitch with the map that would separate the objectives from the map itself. It was impossible to put a marker on the map, because the marker would be placed on the objectives part, which would drift away from the map as you zoom out from the map. Despite going to cool landmarks, most of the map was cookie-cutter, which majority of the buildings being large, ugly brown walls with a roof on top. Also, Sean is pretty much invincible. He can survive being in a car explosion, falling 5 stories, being shot by a tank, and multiple soldiers shooting him with machine guns. The game was really easy, as for nothing could kill me unless I was acting dumb, and the game presented no challenge to me. And finally, the ending of the game had a great build up, just to end the story of Devlin anticlimactically and to end my experience with the game with disappointment.
The Verdict: Despite being a fun sandbox game with a great color style, not-bad story, and fun gameplay, the constant bugs, repetitiveness of the map, stiff controls, and many others plague the game. The game is the opposite of goldilocks, as for the bugs and the controls made the game too hard to play, while the invincibility of Sean made the game too easy to play. Some companies ride off into the sunset, but The Saboteur made sure that Pandemic was not one of those companies.