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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: EA Games
Developed By: Pandemic Studios
Genre: Third-Person Action
Players: 1
Rated: M (Mature)
Release Date: December 8, 2009
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Matthew Prunty

December 24, 2009 - The Saboteur; a game marked by controversy due to the issues faced by its developer Pandemic Studios. Pandemic Studios was best known for their work on the Mercenaries, Destroy All Humans and Star Wars Battlefront franchises, which all brought unique gameplay and gaming experiences to countless gamers around the world. With the studio officially closed, Pandemic Studios and Electronic Arts looked to make The Saboteur the last great gaming property from the famed developer. Whether they will succeed or fail is all dependent on the player; however one canít help but be intrigued by the unique spectacle that is The Saboteur.

While the gameplay features several unique mechanics, the first thing about The Saboteur that catches your eye is its visual presentation, which Pandemic Studios does a great job of bringing to life. When you start out the game, the world within which you travel is presented within a black ní white color scheme, which works beautifully to convey the dark time that Paris, France is currently facing from the onslaught of the Naziís within their country. Seeing as the Nazis are very prideful in your country, they were a banner on their arms, which has the Nazi symbol, however that banner is in full color. Sections of the city are also accented with color, which are essential in you keeping track of what areas have been completed or are almost completed. However, once you do clear certain parts of the city, that section will transition from black ní white and into color.

While we know through history that the Nazi loved technology, it was a surprise to know that they were into racing as well. The story within The Saboteur places you within the shoes of Sean Devlin, an Irish race car driver who ends up getting involved within a Nazi invasion of France by accident. It seems that Sean was cheated out of a win by the shady actions of Aryan racer, Kurt Dierker, which provokes Sean to seek revenge off the race track. Though a simply prank in Seanís eyes, the event quickly escalates into a deadly game of ďcat and mouseĒ, with you being the mouse out to rid France of its Nazi presence.

Pandemic Studios developed The Saboteur within a similar vein to The Mercenaries franchise in which all the events within the game take place within an open-world environment. For those new to these types of games, basically itís the developer providing a gaming experience to run parallel with the main mission of the game, thus providing variety for the player to experience, keeping the action and gameplay fresh and more user ďControlledĒ. I would have to say that Pandemic Studios did a solid job making sure their open-world experience was still engaging and tactful for those looking for more beyond the main keypoints of the single-player campaign. For those who decide to move off the beaten path, there are several different types of missions to embark on. Some of the missions you will be performing include demolishing various Nazi strongholds and towers, freeing POWs and everyone favorites, driving an escort missions. The developer wanted to ensure that the action sequences that take place werenít the same type one after another, which for some can be very tiring and redundant.

When you are not watching a cutscene or driving a car, you have one of two ways to approach a situation: stealth or guns blazing. For the most part I didnít have any problems sneaking around to avoid being spotted and taking my enemies out quietly, however it seemed more rewarding and invigorating when I took a more action approach to the missions, letting everyone know I have arrived. Thankfully for those who go the gun blazing, Pandemic Studios made sure the shooting mechanic worked very well within the game. This is an area that can make or break a game, so developers make sure the sound, feel and reactions of the characters involved are as lifelike as possible. The hand-to-hand combat is so-so. I often found engaging your opponents in fisticuffs to be wonky, which can result in me swinging at someone I didnít plan on hitting.

Are you a bomber? Do you like shoot your way through a situation? Do you eat sushi? If you answer yes to any of these questions (namely #1 & #2), then Pandemic Studios has a surprise for you. Depending on how you play through the game, Sean is rewarded with various enhancements that can and will improve his performance out in the field. One example would be to blow up several towers, which will net you a perk that shortens time it between planting the bomb and lighting the fuse. Couple these perks with access to the Black Market dealers and the various side missions, and you have quite the outing set before you in The Saboteur.

While itís apparent that a large amount of time was spent on the atmospheric presentation of the game, not as much time was spent on other areas within the visual presentation. One example I came across within the game has to do with the character animations. There are moments where you are controlling Sean and you must scale buildings and grapple onto ledges and the animations for these sequences are not as fluid as they should be. There were other issues within the game that made some situations a bit interesting; however none of these moments broke the gameplay or made you feel like you are wasting your time playing this game. All in all, the game could have benefited from some extra time being looked over and polished however for the most part the game looks great.

In regards to the audio, Pandemic Studios did an outstanding job of capturing the essence of the timeframe, while also providing an audible experience worthy of human ears. Characters dialog back in forth in the game is interesting at times, maybe even funny (depending on player), however itís never cheesy, which can ruin the experience for many. The in-game soundtrack is another hallmark moment of the game, harking back to the days of the early 1900s. If you are into stylish Jazz music, this is definitely your game to get engrossed within the genre. The sound effects, for the most part, get the job done in conveying a since of realism.

For Pandemic Studiosí last videogame release, The Saboteur showcases what made the studio famous, while also showcasing a side that shouldnít be a resent. While this game will provide countless hours of entertainment via blowing things up, racing and the occasional side mission or two, The Saboteur seems to a victim of the trouble that was facing the developer and its parent company Electronic Arts. There just seem to be one too many tiny issues within the game, though wonít hinder the gameplay in anyway; however just donít live up to quality we expect from the developer. For those who havenít already picked up this game, I recommend you do so and experience an action-pack thrill ride that will mess with your mind, morals and of course your eyes.


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