The Saboteur is far from perfect. Far far far far far. That’s five fars for those not counting. It is littered with glitches and bad control schemes, suffers from unclear mission objectives at times, and fails graphically once France starts slipping back into color. But I can put that all aside because–and this is important here–the game is a lot of fun. And it’s more forgiving than Grand Theft Auto IV ever tried to be.
So yeah, here’s the summary so far. You’re Sean Devlin, an Irishman now living in Paris, France, who gets sucked into a plot to take down some Nazis. Revenge is the fire in his blood, and along the way he’ll meet a cultured cast of characters, as well as strengthen the resistance of the people to the Nazi regime. I’m not too far into the main missions yet so that’s kind of all I know at this point. Maybe he’ll meet Brad Pitt…I mean Lt. Aldo Raine at some point. No one can predict the future.
The main missions so far are of the usual open-world ilk. There’s one where you follow another car, but don’t get too close to it. There’s another that charges you with escorting a lady friend around. There’s one that puts you into the sniper role, handing out death from high above. A lot of the missions are just set before you with a generic objective: kill the Nazis, for instance. It’s up to you to figure out how to make the end happen. You can either be sneaky and go around the enemy base or charge right in, guns a-blazing. I don’t recommend the latter. While Sean can certainly handle guns and grenades and setting off timebombs, he’s a much stronger assassin. It might take an extra ten minutes or so, but sometimes it is safer to walk the long and slow road, creeping by, silencing those that need it.
But the best thing about The Saboteur, for me at least, is the ambient freeplay missions. These show up on your map as tiny white dots, indicating that something there is important. It might be a Nazi sniper tower you have to destroy or a lookout point (a la Assassin’s Creed) or even just a perfectly placed spot to do a wicked car jump. Either way, there are hundreds of these. Maybe thousands. Remember, I can’t count higher than five. Just check this image out, which is only a tiny part of the world map:
Yeaaaaaaaah. But what is so nice about this is that it caters to my completionist OCD and allows me to just pop into the game for thirty minutes, take out a few ambient freeplay missions, save, and shut down for the night, fully knowing that I at least accomplished something. That I whittled the number of white dots down a sliver.
There’s always something to do in The Saboteur. Going after perks, ambient freeplay missions, collecting cars, playing the game’s main missions, just exploring, smoking cigs, saving citizens. It kind of goes on and on.
That said, Sean, just like Niko, is hard to like. He curses a little too much and a little too dramatically; there was one comment he made about eating a nun’s arse. I don’t know. I cringed? Yes, I cringed. Then again, he’s easy to like because he kills Nazis. And we all dream about going back in time and doing that ourselves. Well, maybe I do. Can’t speak for you, silent reader.
But all in all, a fun game. Maybe even an underappreciated one. Will come back to that claim once I’m further through it.