Saboteur: Irish Luck and French Romance

There is one thing I enjoy doing once in a while and in my circle of people I call this “game time travels.” The way it works is really simple, though – it can make one gamer the happiest person in the whole world. Well, at least for a few minutes or hours, depending on his enthusiasm manners. Anyway, today I would like to get back into 2009 and invite you on a trip that will definitely leave a mark on your heart and in your head. But we won’t be travelling alone and, frankly speaking, we won’t go to the year 2009. Instead, we will go to the most romantic place in the world with Mr. Sean Devlin and he will tell us how it feels to be a Saboteur.

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Saboteur’s Story

One does not simply become a saboteur, especially when the war you are fighting is not your war. Sean Devlin’s past was pretty dark and his only way out from the darkness was becoming a racer and winning the championship. Well, he found his friends in other countries and was invited to participate in World Race Championship where the winner will take it all. Though, when the victory was almost in his hands, everything turned just the other way round and because of the German racer Kurt Dierker, Sean lost the race and a chance to start a new life. But it appears that there was no time for grief because very unexpectedly the World War II started and there’ve been other things that had to be taken care of.

Well, back in the days Sean used to be a person with a certain kinds of skills and, being a man of word and honesty, he decided to join the French resistance and help them fight Germans all over the Paris and suburban areas. He will get all kinds of tasks but I am pretty sure that you will manage to complete them with your head up high without killing the man too often. Here are a few things on saboteur’s TO DO list: chasing bad guys, killing German generals, blowing up Nazi bases and destroying their supplies. Feeling interested already? So, let’s roll!

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Saboteur in Paris

The idea of putting Sean in Paris deserves a few handshakes and some hats of the heads. You see, this is the first time when one is allowed to walk the streets of Paris, enjoy the views and interact with those places, cars and people that are gorgeous in every possible meaning. If you need to know, I’ve been to Paris and I enjoyed the capital of France a lot, though – my 1942 journey was more than just great and when I compare them I realize that to some extend I enjoyed the old Paris a lot more (I guess it’s a gamer talking in me right now). Sure, the 1942 Paris is not fully authentic and if you start comparing it to the real one, you will find lots of differences. Though, this does not spoil the fun and entertainment and after a few hours of gameplay you do realize that this was made on purpose. On the other hand, you can’t be 100 percent sure that the old Paris was not like this back in the days, so – unless you have some serious arguments – Paris in saboteur will remain one of the best (if not THE  best) 3D plans of the city in virtual world.

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The best part is that the well known places like Grand Opera, the Railway Station, the Eifel Tower, Champs-Élysées and Louvre are just where they are supposed to be and as your progress through the game, you will have to interact with them and show your Saboteur skills here and there. For instance, there is nothing like climbing the Eifel Tower with a sniper rifle and showing your sniping skills from 300 meter height.

What Makes Saboteur Special?

Saboteur is very GTA like game and if not for a few peculiarities, it will definitely be left out of sight. Game developers did a great job on creating amazing sightseeings and if you play Saboteur for a few hours, you get a feeling that you’ve been to Paris (but pretty dark one). And here’s where the word “Special” should be inserted. You see, to highlight the war period and that darkest moments of French history and history in general, the whole city of Paris appears in dark (grey and black) palette only. Walking those streets is as sad as sitting alone in the dark. Though, this also happens to be the best motivator ever!

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As you start completing missions and killing Germans, you will see the city getting colorful. This process is one of the best processes I’ve seen in computer games and it surprises me every single time. The greater part of the city will be colored automatically, as long as you keep completing the story related missions. Though, you can speed up the process by helping out and going for freeplay tasks. This also helps and makes the city clearer, purer and free!

Saboteur Gameplay

Technically, Saboteur has two different game scenarios. One is story related and if you want to complete the game successfully, you will have to follow it mission after mission. All you have to do is to look for the letters on your map, rush towards them and do what you are told to do. The variety of missions is pretty nice and you will have to do lots of things starting with simple eliminations and going up to winning the race or ruining somebody’s wedding. Some gamers claim that it is possible to complete the game in 18 or so hours. Well, they are right – if you stay home for the weekends and forget about everything, you will be able to complete the main story less than in two gaming days. Though, there is the other side of the game and, if you ask, I enjoyed it a lot (in some cases – even more than the main scenario). You see, along with the story related missions, you will be able to take part in freeplay tasks. They are marked with little white dots on the map and are scattered all over the map. Frankly speaking, completing them all will take a lot more than completing the main Saboteur story, which is kind of nice. After all – staying in Paris for 18 hours only is not enough!

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You can enter freeplay tasks whenever you find suitable and they do not influence completing the main story line. Though, if you die – it will make a difference. But what are those white dots? Well, they can be anything one can imagine. Usually, you have to destroy watch towers, radio stations, rockets, tanks, artillery and Nazi generals. In most cases completing them requires one dynamite charge or even 10 bullets from your MG sent in the right direction. What is the purpose of those tasks? I can’t tell for sure because every gamer will have to decide this on his own. Though, clearing the area from watch towers and tanks makes me feel better and I start breathing freely when I see no obstacles or Nazi propaganda on the streets of Paris. Also, sometimes white dots can mean something totally innocent and not German related. From time to time you will have to climb the buildings and enjoy the views (pretty much like in Assassin’s Creed), collect post cards or simply jump off the trampling while driving. For completing both kinds of missions, saboteur will be rewarded with contraband goods. They are pretty much like money and afterwards you can use them to upgrade your weapon, abilities, buy ammo and do other things.

I personally would like to mention that playing freeplay tasks is mostly fun and the feeling of clearing the whole city from Nazi can’t be compared with anything else. Though, at a certain point you might start feeling bored. The reason for that is that there are TOO many of those dots on a map, especially when you zoom it out. It seems like the whole city is covered with white and, unfortunately, it is really so. Also, the biggest problem is that very often you will have to climb almost every building in Paris in order to collect and complete all freeplay tasks. But, if you like climbing the Assassin’s Creed style – you will enjoy this process a lot. Just remember to keep as many dynamite in your pockets as possible because you will need a lot of it.

How Can You Make Your Saboteur Better?

The game Saboteur has some RPG elements and allows you to become a better hero for a better city. For completing some special and unique goals like killing 10 soldiers with one explosion or for collecting all cars in your garage, you will get perks. Perks allow you to do lots of things differently. For instance, some will let you ride tanks whenever you find is comfortable, others will allow you to carry more grenades or place charges near Germans without revealing your real identity. You will get some of those by accident but some will require certain preparation and a lot of effort. For instance, I had some serious problems killing 10 Nazi soldiers with dynamite in 10 seconds time period and getting to the cover on Alarm level 5. But, a game is not a game if there is no challenge, right?

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Also, investing in Resistance upgrades and weapon is important. I guess I forgot to mention that in some tough situations you can call for help and resistance army will come to cover your six. This is very convenient when you are out of bullets or simply want to have someone fighting next to you. So, the more you invest in those guys, the tougher and deadlier they will be. Pretty much the same principle woks with the weapon. For some extra you can upgrade your arsenal and unlock some great weapon titles. The one I enjoy the most is the Silenced MG. It allows you to kill Nazis and destroy fuel tanks without drawing any attention. Trust me – this is very handy. So, if you want to enjoy the best of this game – don’t be greedy and invest the contraband properly.

Things I do Not Like in Saboteur

Despite the fact that I, personally, find the game simply amazing, there are a few things I do not like about it. They are not that big of a deal, but I would prefer not to have them in this game.

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First of all – I really hate the Alert Meter. Sometimes it gets really annoying, especially when you are in disguise and try to sabotage something. Here’s how it works: in disguise you can freely walk near Nazi soldiers without revealing your identity. Though, if you stay too close and too long near a soldier, the alert meter will get filled out and they will sound the alarm. You see, the trick is that if one soldier fills you meter on 50% and then the other soldier sees you – the meter will simply continue filling. I am not sure that if the first soldier got suspicious on 50% only, it means that the other one can get suspicious on the other 50% and sound the alarm. I know that this is just a game but still – it doesn’t make it less bothering.

The other thing is that sometimes AI act stupid and are not challenging at all. Well, rising the difficulty to its maximum level only makes them harder to kill but not smarter in action. I personally witnessed the Nazi soldier spotting and running after me across the road, though, he was ran over by a car and died. You know what – actually, that was pretty cool! Here’s a better example: I was chased by 15 or so soldiers but when I got on the roof of the building, they couldn’t spot me until I fired at them. It might seem logical but when you play it – it simply doesn’t feel right. At the same time, soldiers who used to be a lot further from me than those chasing me, started firing from the distance with their MGs and even managed to injure Sean heavily. They can’t be that good at shooting!

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As I’ve mentioned before – there are too many freeplay tasks and completing them will take a lot more than completing the main story. Well, it works great at first but then things just get boring and monotone. They should have put less white dots on the map and turned them into small missions or something. But, sometimes it’s fun to destroy a few watch towers and tanks on your way home or to jump from one roof to the other destroying cannons and collecting contraband. It has its charm!

Saboteur is no Ordinary Hero

Sean Devlin is no ordinary hero. After all – he is an Irishman and Irishmen are no ordinary people. The way he asks question, talks to people and shouts out crazy stuff will stay in your minds for a very long time. I still can’t forget one of the first dialogues of his in the local bar with Kurt Dierker. The game Saboteur feels very comfortable with the bad language and if you understand what it means to call and Irishman “You, British…” – then you will get what I mean.

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Yes, nowadays we have GTA 5 and Assassin’s Creed 4 that look better and have a lot more to show and offer. Though, I am a man of classics and I enjoy the good old stuff. Saboteur is not an ordinary game and the more you play it, the more you understand that this is true. Yes, some of the mission may seem crazy and out of this world, others will look boring and uninspired. But, all games of a kind have this kind of trouble because they are designed not for completing all the missions in a row but for enjoying the world created around. Saboteur is an amazing combination of GTA, Assassin’s Creed, French romance and Irish Luck. I am really glad that I met it once and I hope you will be inspired to walk and drive the streets of Paris because of this post. Common, be a man and open a Saboteur in yourself!

Author: Oleg Repetskiy

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