Follow thanklessgrind on Twitter

Vials of Cheetah Blood Siphoned

Top O' The Mornin To Ya, I'm The Saboteur Ian's avatar
Picture of an irishman
An odd series of events lead me to having access to a copy of The Saboteur on the PS3. In the grand and very important scheme of things relating to console wars I would almost always buy a multi-platform title on the 360, but I'm hardly going to look a gift game in the mouth. The Saboteur was the late 2009 swansong of the now dead Pandemic Studios, whose name is being oddly defiled by their former corporate overlords with the rumored Mercs Inc. I had very little love for Mercenaries 2, in fact I think it's one of the few games I've ever given up playing. It's pretty much just that, Devil May Cry, and Infinite Undiscovery. I was naturally a bit worried going in that it would just be the same thing but blurry Paris instead of blurry Venezuela, fortunately it already seems several levels of quality better than Mercs 2.

Awesome: Sean is Irish and therefore drunk

Pretty much the first thing you see your character Sean Devlin doing is being both Irish and drunk simultaneously. He's also a professional mechanic turned professional racing driver, turned professional Nazi exploder. While hanging around in a classy burlesque house which is apparently also where he lives, some French resistanceman named Luc manages to persuade Sean to turn his frown upside-down and just have fun setting Nazi's stuff on fire. Sean seemed so eager I think he was just waiting for someone to ask.

Boresome: Expired Boobs

The game came with a code to enable boobs, called the “Midnight Show”. I think this is one of those dealies that is supposed to stop people from buying the game used. The game is quite insistent that you use the code when you turn it on, popping up when you start a new game and being one of the three menu options on the main menu. I tried the code, but oddly enough it appears to have expired on the 31st December. Curious to see how much they were charging for this, I fired up the PlayStation store, but couldn't find anything related to the game in that whole thing. So where am I supposed to get my creepy uncanny-valley titillation from now?

Awesome: Interesting Prologue, and Prologue's Prologue

This game has a prologue, and then after about half an hour the prologue starts. The initial bit is pretty much what I expected from what I knew about this game. Lots of the black and white styled art of the sort I'd seen in all the pre-release media of this game, and it basically serves as a controls tutorial. After that's over, the real prologue suddenly starts and the game rewinds to Sean in his before the war happy period driving a truck around the French and German countryside. The sudden bright countryside setting was such a stark difference from what came before and anything I expecting from this game that I thought it was really effective. I was pleased to see this area was on the main world map, so will probably get to do some country drivin'/explodin' later on.

Boresome: Clambering

I'm not sure if Sean is just on the same sort of alcoholic bender that the scaffold climbing guy from the Alcohol Awareness advert us brits will fondly remember, but Sean has apparently has acquired the brute drunken strength required to just start hauling himself up the front of a five story building. This is clearly only a homage to Assassin's Creed's seamless climbing system because this one is a lot less good. The main problems being that it requires you to hammer a button the whole time you wish to climb otherwise he'll stop still. Being required to mash a button constantly to do a common action is something I cannot forgive. The animation is also not nearly as refined as those assassining games, so it's hard to look at without thinking "Well, good effort guys. Really."

Awesome: Art Stylish

The black, white and red colour scheme the game uses for the Nazi controlled areas is quite striking. I had to turn the gamma up quite a lot to make it playable though, but haven't found that doing so ruins the effect or anything. There are some colours, though I've only really noticed red Nazi armbands and flags, and Luc's blue shirt so far. Oh, the explosions are in full colour as well and sadly don't look so good. I guess I'll be seeing quite a lot of them considering the game is called The Saboteur and I assume I'll be mostly sabotaging things with explosions. Nothing messes up a Nazi quite like an explosion, I'm told.

Boresome: Janky Graphics

The art style only goes so far. This isn't just a subjective statement, it's actually a game mechanic. When you push the Nazis out a a neighborhood they take the art style with them, and it goes back to being full colour all Pleasantville style. I was hoping this would be done with some ridiculous magic effect like when you restore an area in the 2008 Prince of Persia game, but it's more of a slow fade-in. Once done the game starts looking a lot less good, nowhere near as bad as Mercenaries 2 fortunately, but still not especially good when compared to other recent open world games. Especially bad are some of the aspects of the countryside areas, the far off hills look like featureless blocks, and the trees are obviously made from old fashioned billboards of the type I remember thinking looked bad back in Turok on the N64.

Awesome: Sean is Irish and therefore drunk - Interesting Prologues - Art Stylish

Boresome: Expired Boobs - Clambering - Janky Graphics

From this initial taste, nothing is bothering me so much that I don't want to play it, and am definitely going to put some time into this in my post Mass Effect 2 life which should start any day now. Tags: