The Saboteur Updated Impressions

Paris may be beautiful, but it's also a great place to buy guns on the black market.

There's a reason Paris is called The City of Light. It's a beautiful place--home to timeless architecture, unending landmarks, and a rich culture uniquely its own. But as a historical setting, it's not all charming cafes and romantic photographs atop the Eiffel Tower. Paris has a dangerous past, which developer Pandemic is looking to explore in The Saboteur. In this stylish World War II-era sandbox action game, you play Irish racecar driver Sean Devlin on a vengeance quest to topple the Nazi occupation of wartime Paris. Throughout the course of that quest, you'll hide out in brothels, kill and impersonate German officers, and bring color to a world gone gray. After a recent demo courtesy of lead designer Tom French, we can now add dealing in the black market and unlocking (light) skill upgrades to that list.

The black market plays a big role in The Saboteur. As anyone who took a World War II class in school knows, the franc was less than, shall we say, stable during the war. So with no viable monetary currency to help Sean get what he needs, he's resorted to selling contraband to some unsavory individuals in Paris. Generally, this involves finding liquor and wine bottles scattered throughout the city or simply completing a quest that rewards you with a number, which represents a certain amount of contraband. Then, you take this contraband to back alley vendors to trade it in for weapons, vehicles, and other assorted goodies.

For the most part, the guns you can buy are historically accurate weapons, such as the Thompson submachine gun and scoped M1 carbine rifle. And once you really amass a good amount of illegal goods, you can trade those in for vehicles to store in your garage, ranging from civilian jalopies to fully armored Nazi troop transports that just happened to fall into someone else's hands. You'll also be able to buy neighborhood maps of the city that call out areas of interest (like more black market dealers) you wouldn't normally be able to find on your own.

Of course, you can acquire all of this stuff on your own, but you'll naturally run the risk of drawing Nazi ire when you kill them for their weapons and yank them out of their vehicles in broad daylight. According to French, the unofficial mantra behind The Saboteur's mission designs has been "quiet in, loud out." This means you'll want to sneak your way into a sabotage mission and wait until you've completed your mission before leaving a wake of destruction on your way to safety.

But there's at least one tangible advantage to jumping headlong into combat. The Saboteur uses a system of light skill progression that rewards you with perks for passing certain milestones throughout the course of your vengeance quest. For those who favor the sniper rifle, collecting a certain number of headshots unlocks steadier aim at level one, while the second level of this perk reduces the recoil. Most aspects of combat have perks like this, from melee fighting to quickly planting explosive satchel charges.

"Say, this tank isn't stolen, is it? No? Then I'll buy it!"

In traditional sandbox action style, the amount of destruction you cause in combat will be met with escalating alert levels from the Nazi occupation. You'll start with simple foot soldiers coming after you at level one, but if you kill enough people and blow up enough vehicles, you'll find yourself attacked by terror squads, as well as machine gun-equipped zeppelins at level four. Then, at level five, you'll find yourself attacked by air raid planes. There's a certain level of ridiculousness to just how aggressively these enemies come after you considering it's an entire army against one man, but Pandemic has made no bones about the over-the-top nature of the action in The Saboteur. Despite the historical setting, Pandemic knows that you still want to play a video game.

It's that combination of over-the-top action and historical authenticity that makes The Saboteur such a promising game. It's scheduled to arrive on December 8. Check back then for our final review.

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113 comments
evaneself
evaneself

The Saboteur (PC) game has DRM, I do not buy it. EA has not learned anything, he must pay mockery that we submit. They sell time for gameplay, not games for collectors or owners.

Alex_09
Alex_09

This game looks like it cut too many corners, but I'll rent it before judging.

VXLbeast
VXLbeast

I am certainly interested in this game. It will, sadly, be Pandemics last Hurah.

gene548
gene548

it looks like a buy. im getting this

Yung-Skywalka
Yung-Skywalka

i guess this is gettin added to my Christmas list

icubod88
icubod88

reminds me of inglorious bastards some what, therefore I like!

promba1995
promba1995

Hmm using the rope to go roof to roof looks hard but the game is defiantly a potentiol buy.

footynut09
footynut09

Looks pretty good. Added to wishlist.

HAL5000
HAL5000

Looks to be great, I hope it plays as good as the hype. This is on my short list to get when released.

ferntfactor
ferntfactor

related to some of the comments below, just read a book called Petain's Crime. well worth a read if you're interested in France's resistance and the collaborationist Vichy government. a historically suppressed fact is that a disproportionately large amount of the french resistance were left-leaning Jews. not surprising considering france had brutally persecuted all but some protected rich and powerful jews in business, banning them from anything but the lowest ranking jobs, stealing their property and businesses and helping the understaffed Nazis round them up and ship them (men, women, the elderly and thousands of children - especially foreign, eastern jews) - off to concentration camps. i suppose the idea of fighting to your death seemed more appealing than waiting to be sent to Drancy in Paris and then on to Auschwitz. sorry. almost forgot this is a fun video game site! the concept is interesting but the execution looks kind of campy. i do hope the game gives us the chance to cut the throats of the terrible Milice, France's hated and brutal Nazi ass-kissing police.

metalgear-solid
metalgear-solid

Looks great from what I can tell. Hopefully this will be a great buy on the PS3, unlike most multiplat games.

AOldDog
AOldDog

How can you say: "There's a certain level of ridiculousness to just how aggressively these enemies come after you", i can remember you [if you don't mind] of one Colonel Pierre-Georges Fabien, who shoot a German officer in the Paris Metro, and who's action started a verrrry brutal retaliations from the German part, APPARENTLY against one man.

AOldDog
AOldDog

If it were not 4 "Maquis" doing sabotages and providing the allies the detailed plans of fortifications in Normandy you Americans would of never debarked in D day.

AOldDog
AOldDog

Sorry to criticized you but this ["fully armored Nazi troop transports that just happened to fall into someone else's hands"] is historically correct to the period prior to the liberation of Paris.

pidow
pidow

I will buy and play this game.....it puts a different spin on WWII games. This time you are fighting for something(a friend) and the people of Paris.

chkmode
chkmode

dis time paris seems different

spiny
spiny

@ mivanc Funny, i know about 20 people with the Xbox and zero have experienced the RROD. RROD was a problem with the first gen xbox 360s. Microsoft responded by extending xbox warranties by 3 years. The real buyer beware issue is that we have console exclusive games to begin with. I love many titles on Wii, Xbox and PS3. Its a shame i had to buy all three consoles to experience these games. The moral of this post is take your fanboy antics and stick them you-know-where. The best way to protect yourself and consumers in general is to be impartial when it comes to brands. @firgie, if its really RROD (3/4 red lights), you can get a replacement at no cost.

Carton_of_milk
Carton_of_milk

When this was first announced and for the first few previews i was really under the impression this wasn't going to be over-the-top action but more realistic mainly stealthy sabotage stuff. I'm disappointed already. Did they make a shift at one point? I mean it IS pandemic and they've done Mercenaries....

mivanc
mivanc

@firgie Buyer Beware ... you buy an Xbox360 you have to be ready for the eventuality of the Red Ring of DEATH ... its a know problem ... 3 of 4 people I know who have one have had this problem; Hence why I didn't buy it. I have enough headaches with my Windows PC, didn't need that with my console. I look forward to this game ... sounds fun and the new concept sure sounds amazing. Hope to try the demo soon.

firgie
firgie

one more time..darm u microsht!!

firgie
firgie

so many good game i cannot play no more including this one..because rrod..darm u microsht!

Broken_Cerberus
Broken_Cerberus

The resistance had a role don't knock em' I mean there are photographs from the war of partisans fighting with allies. Any action in war no matter how small is still part of history.

mattro11
mattro11

Err, you are all aware that most French collaborated wholesale with the Nazi's and the whole "French Resistance" thing was somewhat exaggerated.......

Triangly
Triangly

@Mergatroyder Yes it's sounds awesome but lets be realistic and not forget how EA likes to release unfinished games.

MERGATROYDER
MERGATROYDER

This title will blow minds. A first day purchase for me. I have been looking at it as a Max Pain meets Assasins Creed set in WWII. How does that not sound awesome?

pk2015
pk2015

so, this would be an open world game set during world war 2? must be cool

PreachersSon
PreachersSon

@ Rachovsky, This is that game. It's a great concept. Hopefully a demo for the public will be coming soon.

rachkovsky
rachkovsky

I think I'm making a mistake, but is this the game that turns colored from black and white?

bad_fur_day
bad_fur_day

Im going to pre-order this. Now this looks cool. Good job.

ALZ-Meister
ALZ-Meister

Cool concept, can't wait to give it a shot!!!

JD_Method
JD_Method

@rann89 A lot of people aren't giving any basis for their comparison. They are just saying: "Looks like GTA." or "This reminds me of GTA but with Assassin's Creed climbing." or whatever. I saw that you actually stated why this game compares to GTA, that's fine, that's a fair comparison. It's just a lot of people are calling GTA because of the open-world aspect. It happens to all open-world games.

Jackc8
Jackc8

This will definitely be under my Christmas tree. Sounds like a very immersive game.

GamerBaboo
GamerBaboo

oh well, another nazi bashing game....

Horial
Horial

think i'll pass. will be playin god of war collection n acII this holiday

satan112
satan112

Played some of this at the Eurogamer expo and it was pretty cool. Smooth and had a good amount of action and storyline in it but was a lil Saints Row/GTA as well. Definitely buying this when its released.

rann89
rann89

People aren't comparing it to GTA because it's open-world, JD. They're comparing it to GTA because they're using the same ridiculous alert system as well, which kind of makes it a valid comparison.

mimicus
mimicus

Get used to it, dude. GTA set the standard---and thus is the basis of comparison for everything to follow.

JD_Method
JD_Method

It annoys me when people compare this game and others to Grand Theft Auto JUST because it's open-world/free-roaming.

grimm316
grimm316

This game surprised me. When i first saw this i din't care much but now this game is the five games im really looking forward to. Can't wait fot its release