On top of sneaking and fighting through enclosed spaces and the open city of Paris, driving is important, too. Thanks to Sean’s background in race cars, he easily tools around the city in his custom classic car or whatever Volkswagen-knockoffs he steals from the enemy. And when out of the car Sean is a pretty able acrobat, climbing buildings with the best of them, with most buildings (including the Eifel Tower) being scalable.
Okay, so far you know that Saboteur is a GTA-ish historical game in which you fight Nazis, but we haven’t gotten to the most striking feature: the color, or sporadic lack of it. Though based on history, Saboteur takes some artistic license, mainly expressed through the feature called “will to fight.” When a part of Paris is fully under the Nazis’ thumb, everything there is black and white, save for splashes of red that mark the presence of the SS. It’s a striking effect that looks a lot like Sin City, and in fact the developers are using a lot of the same techniques that film did to make its characters stand out. It also gives the whole game a feeling of domination and tyranny. And seeing squads of Nazis committing war crimes on the street (which you’re free to disrupt) only deepen that feeling.
Oppositely, should Sean complete enough missions (aka kill enough Nazis) in a given area, then the spirit of Gay Paree is loosed and the screen becomes awash in brilliant color. The effect could be compared to an urban Okami, and it works in a gameplay sense too, as it lets you know which areas have been cleared and which still need sabotage.
The whole game takes place in an enhanced reality of sorts. Paris’ layout is pretty similar to the real thing (albeit heavily compacted), but the Nazi plans you foil are more Indiana Jones than Private Ryan, including a giant, roof-mounted cannon the Nazis intend to use to blast a stronghold of La Resistance. It’s a little hard to take seriously, but when we saw a pair of Nazis nonchalantly execute a man on the street as Sean walked back to his safehouse in a cabaret, reality came crashing back.
Apr 24, 2009