If there’s one thing gamers like doing it’s shooting Nazis. Whether it’s in the first-person mode of Wolfenstein or shooting Nazi zombies in Call of Duty, it’s a lot of fun. Pandemic’s sandbox game lets you shoot them, run them over and blow them up as you attempt to liberate areas around Paris from the regime as a tough-talking whisky-swilling mechanic called Sean Devlin.
If you’ve played any Grand Theft Auto or Saints Row game you’ll know the deal. You drive to an icon on the map, get given a mission which is usually to escort someone, kill somebody or blow something up, then go to the next icon and do it all again, each time with a slightly tougher mission and unlocking new vehicles and weapons to help you out.
You also get extra money and contraband by blowing up Nazi installations such as speakers, fuel depots and road blocks, and as you complete certain challenges you can unlock perks which give Sean extra skills to help him fight the Third Reich.
The 1940s setting really gives the game a great atmosphere. There are lots of burlesque ladies to look at, some great architecture and classic cars to drive about in and a fantastic colour scheme. Areas under Nazi control are black and white apart from the red of the Swastika armbands and other important locations. Liberated parts, however, are full of colour. Character models are also great to look at and Sean’s one liners are very funny whether in a cut-scene or during a fight.
Sean can also climb up buildings to get into restricted areas but he’s no superhero so don’t expect his movement to be anything like the skills from InFamous or Assassin’s Creed. He can also don a Nazi uniform to get to places he shouldn’t be but don’t get too close to fellow soldiers or they’ll get suspicious and sound the alarm.
There are some points that don’t sit right to me in this game. In normal mode Sean seems to be able to take a hell of a lot of damage before he dies and this can lead to some rather gung-ho approaches to missions. You also seem to be able to blow things up right under the noses of Nazis without them batting an eyelid. Sean’s also a decent character so the ability he has to jack cars off innocent motorists also seems rather odd.
Still, despite frequent loading screens and the fact that, like Sean himself, the game’s a little rough around the edges, if you love your sandbox games and want something a little moodier than GTA or Saints Row with a good story and great characters, you’ve found it here. The Saboteur gets an excellent 8 out of 10.
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