Easter Eggs: The Saboteur

By Jonathan Barnes, 3 years ago
Happy Weekend, TA'ers!

It's a new day here in our super-secret, international Newshound offices and we've got a pot of coffee, tea, and case of Red Bull chilling and ready for a great weekend of gaming. Fortunately for all of you, our days are not just filled with achievement hunting, we're also here to bring you news and views from around the achievement-based world and are excited to unveil our newest bi-weekly feature: Easter Eggs!

The way Easter Eggs works is that we'll look through the vast (and we're talking HUGE) back catalog of Xbox 360 games (both retail and arcade) and highlight a quality game that might have slipped through the cracks. We've all had those games that we pick up (usually on the cheap) well after they've been released, pop them in our 360's and enjoy them more than we would have expected. We then proceed to tell everyone who will listen, "You HAVE to pick up Game X. It's super cheap and totally fun!" Those are the type of games that we aim to bring to the front page in this feature.

That being said, the first game we'll be highlighting is one that found its way into my disc tray after being on the market for almost a year, The Saboteur.

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The Basics

The Saboteur is a sandbox action title in the vein of Grand Theft Auto which places you in the shoes of Sean Devlin (who is loosely based on William Grover-Williams), an Irish race car driver who is recruited by the French Resistance in WWII. As Sean, you'll traipse around a gorgeous, black & white rendition of Nazi-occupied Paris, liberating the city, racing cars, getting some revenge, and generally causing mayhem in the most fun ways possible. The game was developed by Pandemic and released in December of 2009 to decent reviews (73 on Metacritic and 3.9/5 by our community).

The Hook

One of the coolest things about The Saboteur is the art style. As you gradually destroy Nazi checkpoints, outposts, vehicles, spotlights, and strongholds, the liberated Paris will return to color. This adds a major element of fun to the game; plotting how to take down each area without (or with) raising alarms, earning cash, and unlocking weapons. In short, it's a great, addictive mechanic. Furthermore, the game features a perk system that allows you to unlock new skills and bonuses in Sean's arsenal by completing various in-game tasks. These perks make him more accurate, more deadly, and giving him quite a few other skill sets. Finally, driving and running aren't the only ways that Sean can get around Paris. He's also able to climb buildings (including the Eiffel Tower), use zip lines, and do a bit of parkour, although not to the level of Ezio or Altair.


The Achievements

Let's get down to brass tacks. The question on most achievement hunters' minds is, "How long will this take to complete?" This is where a bit of bad news comes in. The game is HUGE and you'll have achievements for completing all Gold level perks, spending 75,000 contraband (the game's currency), and completing over 1000 ambient freeplay actions (taking down Nazi targets around the game's various maps). To put it succinctly, I started the game on July 11th and got the completion on August 6th, and I had quite a bit of time off over those weeks.

That being said, the grindiest achievements (namely taking out all of the ambient freeplay targets and spending contraband) encourage you to have fun and really go a bit nuts on the Third Reich, which I consider a win-win.

The Price

Like most of the games we aim to feature on Easter Eggs, The Saboteur can be yours rather cheaply. Amazon US currently has the game for less than $20 and GAME has it for a little over £13. That being said, you can probably pick up the game a bit cheaper used, if that's your bag.

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The Verdict

Like most of the games we'll be featuring on Easter Eggs, The Saboteur is by no means perfect. The climbing and driving controls can be a bit wonky at times and the game does lack a small level of polish. On the flip side, you have zero multiplayer achievements to worry about, so you don't have to fret about losing an online community. Furthermore, EA shut down the game's servers last April, negating "The Midnight Club" pass, which entitled you to see some digital breasts in a burlesque club, but won't impact gameplay or experience in major ways. Lastly, and probably most tragically, this game was a swan song for Pandemic who were closed down shortly after the game's release, meaning the odds of seeing any type of sequel are slim-to-none... which is unfortunate because the game really IS fun.

The Saboteur has an engaging story, decent controls, a wide-open world filled with tons of fun things to blow up, and an OUTSTANDING art style. If you happen to see it in a clearance rack at your retailer of choice, don't pass it up.

If there's a game you'd like to see featured in Easter Eggs, be sure to let us know in the comments!
Jonathan Barnes
Written by Jonathan Barnes
Jonathan has been a news/views contributor since 2010. When he's not writing reviews, features, and opinion pieces, he spends his days working as an informal science educator and his nights as an international man of mystery.