Guilty Pleasures: The Saboteur

The Saboteur

We gamers often fall into the habit of being a bit snooty and elitist when it comes to choosing games. It’s understandable of course, time and money don’t grow on trees, but in our constant move from one ultra highly reviewed release to the next, it’s easy for some quality software to fall between the cracks.

Most of these recommendations come with ample caveats, of course. You’ll need to drown out 50 Cent’s background music with a foghorn before I suggest Blood on the Sand as quality entertainment. And sure, play Dark Void till the cows come home, but make sure you skip all the cutscenes and smear Vaseline over your telly.

The Saboteur, however, doesn’t do much wrong but it was still criminally ignored by the gaming hive mind.

In The Saboteur you play as walking Irish stereotype Sean Devlin; a brawling, drinking, swearing flat-cap wearing prick with a chip on his shoulder the size of Dublin. And much in the same way that a British character in an American TV show is required to say two “bloody”s and one “wanker” per sentence, Devlin litters his dialogue with more “arse”s than a Saturday night in Camden.

Speaking of the dialogue, it must have been penned by an ex-erotica author because every single conversation reads like a bad romance novel and is absolutely crammed with sly innuendos and double entendres. It gets so bad that I’m never sure if the characters want me to actually derail a Nazi train or pump a Third Reich officer full of lead, or if they’re really just bizarre euphemisms.

The Saboteur

Anyway, The Saboteur takes place in Nazi occupied Paris and the Krauts line the pavement like street signs. It’s your job as a reluctant resistance member to sneak into Nazi bases, drop some dynamite and run out with your tail between your legs. But this stealthy sabotage doesn’t involve snaking about in the grass or crawling through air vents, it’s all about disguises.

Break a German’s neck and you can nick his uniform. Now the button that used to be “sneak about” is “walk like a Nazi”. Not a proper Faulty Towers-esque frog march, but just a painfully slow robotic walk like you’ve got a bayonet up your keister. Still, it’ll stop the Third Reich from being too suspicious.

This means that pretty much every mission in the game can be completed either as a Gears of War style run-and-gun or by slowly and carefully walking about the enemy base without raising suspicion or, worse, alarms.

It might sound boring, but you know what? It’s pretty damn exhilarating. Walk past some guards and your suspicion meter sky rockets, the tension is almost too much but you duck out of sight before they investigate. You pop a sniper with a silenced pistol – uh oh! Someone saw you and is about to blow the whistle but you snap round and cap them too. Better hightail it out of there because those bodies aren’t doing much for your credibility.

You feel a bit like Batman but with a dodgy Irish accent, a potty mouth and six kilos of dynamite stuck up his arse. I’m utterly crap at stealth games, but something about The Saboteur meant I could beat most of the missions just by sneaking, being disguised, making diversions with explosions, using a silenced pistol and climbing the sides of buildings.

It wasn’t perfect. Not by a long shot. Look up the phrase “rough around the edges” and you’ll find a screenshot of The Saboteur. It’s also got some dodgy controls, it gets a little repetitive and the title is really hard to spell.

But I loved it. The characters were stereotypes, but they had a bit of heart. The story was ludicrous, but written with some real passion. Paris had a real sense of place, the action weaved from action to stealth beautifully and blowing up Nazis just never gets old.

There are already way too many triple A, big budget blockbusters to try as it is, but you should always go off the beaten track every once in a while because you might find something you truly love.







One response to “Guilty Pleasures: The Saboteur”

  1. Graeme (GraeXZ) avatar
    Graeme (GraeXZ)

    I got this for Christmas and loved every minute of playing it, it has a wonderful setting and I feel like that is the best part about the game.

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