The Saboteur - Preview
20/10/2009 at 09:31
Pandemic aren't exactly known for being quiet about things
Fans of their previous games Mercenaries 1 and 2 will be all too familiar with the idea of causing as much mayhem and destruction as possible with a dazzling variety of modern weaponry.
For their next title, Pandemic are delving into the already-strip-mined era of World War II once again with the focus being on a single game character and their effect on a war zone.
Partially based on the historical exploits of a real-life character, William Grover-Williams, Sean Devlin - the game's hero - is an expert with weapons of all shapes and sizes, and a bit of a daredevil behind the wheel of a car. When the Nazis occupy France, Devlin sides with the French Resistance in order to disrupt the Nazi war machine and wreak vengeance in the name of his friends, killed by german troops.
Colour is key
So far you're probably not brimming over with excitement but The Saboteur does have more than a few new kinks that lend the project a rather stylish look and feel. Following the Mercenaries model of a large open world to play in, you can explore Paris and the surrounding countryside. Occupied zones in and around the French capital are drenched in muted shades of black and grey with thick shadows covering the landscape. As you fight to liberate each section, the local population's WtF (Will to Fight) grows stronger and vibrant colour is restored to the cityscape, showing you just how much progress you're making. This might seem a little fanciful but when you see the first Sin City-style colour schemes slowly being replaced by a more colourful palette, the whole game seems to take on a life of its own. In occupied sections the Nazis won't be completely eradicated but they won't be ever present as they are in areas of low WtF.
Once again, in common with Mercenaries, vehicles play a huge part in the game and as Devlin is a whizz behind the wheel you'll find plenty of WWII vehicles to tool around in. Everything from troop trucks to 40s racing cars are in the game, and various vehicle types form the hub of vital missions so your driving skills will be well and truly tested.
As you'd expect from a game geared around subversion, a softly softly approach may reap greater rewards than going in all guns blazing. As well as the central storyline concerning Devlin's thirst for vengeance, there are other side missions that are specifically aimed at raising the morale of the local population and resistance fighters. The more side missions you complete, the greater the will to fight in each of the city's sectors.
Visually the game is quite something to look at, as the trailer at the end of this article shows. Though we've seen plenty of other WWII games, and quite a few where a single main character can seemingly change the course of war, The Saboteur is a stylish breath of fresh air in a relatively stale genre and though it remains to be seen if Devlin is adopted by gamers as a character with a cause worth championing, The Saboteur looks to be yet another neat and original IP in EA's strong autumn lineup.