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The Saboteur
The Saboteur Hands On Preview - I Can See the Whole of Paris From Here!
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After all the games we've had recently where concept and delivery have been at two different ends of the scale, The Saboteur actually came as a bit of a shock to us. Not only is the concept of the title fairly unique and interesting – not the World War II setting, but everything else – but Pandemic looked to have nailed the delivery as well. Over at EA earlier this week we got chance to see more of The Saboteur in action and we got bitten by its charm. In the first part of our session we saw a brief presentation of the train level – a level that those who went to PAX might be familiar with – and then went hands on with a mission called "Big Gun."

The train level that Tom French ran us through was a good indication as to the amount of variety that The Saboteur seems to boast. Your first objective was simply to make your way down to a railroad bridge and rig it up with a number of explosives that would be triggered to bring the approaching train down into the valley. Then you would have to climb aboard the train, defeat the bad guys and save a scientist before the train made it to the bridge, thus, faking the scientist's death. Your everyday sort of stuff then... It was a combination of stealth, climbing, and out and out combat – a good measure of the "quiet in, loud out" mentality of the game. It also gave us a good indication as to the sort of verticality the levels would offer the player, as they constantly had to link the combat into the climbing mechanic – getting to high ground was essential. Our hands on with the level “Big Gun” was a little bit more sandbox orientated though.

The level in question, "Big Gun," had a simple objective – get into an enemy camp, and destroy the big gun. How you did it was entirely up to you, but you were in a race against the clock. You could sneak in, grab a guard and disguise yourself and try the stealth approach, or you could do what I did... climb up high and rain down destruction on those around you whilst running and jumping from roof to roof. The climbing mechanic is simple and relies on a leap of faith concept, as in, you’ll run and jump at something hoping to hang on, and not once did our Irish friend let us down. Tom French told us the mantra was simple, "if you think you can climb it, you probably can" and that didn’t falter once.

Whilst the original art design and concept may pull you in, the gameplay will keep you nailed to the floor in fits of excitement. I must admit when Tom French walked us through the cemetery level in Seattle, I was apprehensive about the automatic cover system, but fear not, it never once caused me a problem and was actually pretty damn effective. The gun combat is your bog standard, traditional third person shooter, but couple that with the wonderfully intuitive climbing mechanics, and you have a whole bag of fun on your hands.

The developer walkthrough at PAX was played through on easy and really doesn't do the difficulty of the game any justice. After playing through the Big Gun level – or attempting anyway – I died on numerous occasions and quickly discovered you really couldn't just run in and gun everything down. You essentially have to have an element of strategy – use cover, catch them off guard, steal an outfit, find the easiest way in, etc – and a lot of this tied in to the climbing mechanic. Climbing the rooftops was not only the most fun route, but also the most effective. Sure, you have to evade snipers as well then, but you can take them down and use their guns against them. The only problem I found was that every sniper rifle I got my hands on wasn't entirely accurate even though I had my foe smack bang in the middle of my sight. A poor sniper rifle? We're not sure, but it made things that little bit more tricky and not in a good way.

In our hands on we also got a good chance to check out the driving mechanics of the game and can be happy to report that they're more arcade-orientated than anything else. This essentially means tons of speed and plenty of hand braking round corners, which is good news considering that the environment is absolutely huge (5.5kms by 5.5kms). The story doesn't limit itself to the main streets of Paris either and the action can push out into the game's countryside, as well as other places in France and even crossing over into the German border; with plenty of interiors along the way too. 

In terms of longevity, according to Tom French you can push 20-25 hours out the main story, 5-10 out of the side missions and a load more out of the ambient occlusions – other points of interest and tasks around the world like destroying German checkpoints, etc. French also noted there will be collectibles but they won't hide them too much and players can even purchase maps in the game to help find them – a strategy that is more than welcomed, although don't expect it to come cheap.

The most important aspect of a hands on preview is grasping the game's controls and seeing how they fare in the thick of action. It's virtually impossible to judge the calibre of a game with the scope that The Saboteur boasts from a small vertical slice of the game, but from a control design point, The Saboteur passes the test with flying colours. The gun combat did seem very simplistic, and a few of the guns seemed off in terms of accuracy (the sniper for instance), but the climbing mechanic is pure bliss and it brings the game in to its own. The Saboteur was a borderline buy prior to my hands on, but it’s safe to say now that I can’t wait for December to come so I can climb that pesky Eiffel Tower.

The Saboteur is scheduled for a December 4th in Europe and December 8th in North America.

Check out the cemetery walkthrough from PAX here.




 
 

User Comments

Forum Posts: 28
Comment #1 by UltimateSin
Saturday, September 26, 2009 @ 07:20:49 PM
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Looks like it'll be great


Forum Posts: 5
Comment #2 by CloudAC
Saturday, September 26, 2009 @ 07:21:50 PM
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it looks ok


Forum Posts: 2
Comment #3 by JackerOfBlades
Saturday, September 26, 2009 @ 07:23:35 PM
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Good to see an action game with such realism and some half decent playtime


Forum Posts: 345
Comment #4 by mksystem74
Saturday, September 26, 2009 @ 07:34:21 PM
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really interested in this game


Forum Posts: 538
Comment #5 by ADenton109
Saturday, September 26, 2009 @ 07:49:22 PM
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can not wait


Forum Posts: 54
Comment #6 by Crabby0525
Saturday, September 26, 2009 @ 08:16:48 PM
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Wasn't sure about this originally, but after reading this I think I'll be checking it out come December.


Forum Posts: 300
Comment #7 by toonsage
Saturday, September 26, 2009 @ 08:17:27 PM
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oOo im intrigued ^.^ lulz


Forum Posts: 1081
Comment #8 by institutions
Sunday, September 27, 2009 @ 12:01:58 AM
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I want a demo.


Forum Posts: 1207
Comment #9 by DJConnelly
Sunday, September 27, 2009 @ 03:21:34 AM
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One for christmas :)


Forum Posts: 6
Comment #10 by Nyhgault
Sunday, September 27, 2009 @ 03:28:48 AM
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Mmmmh, this game seems to be more and more attractive... =)


Forum Posts: 11
Comment #11 by El-Gringo-Loco
Sunday, September 27, 2009 @ 04:49:20 AM
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Strangely i'm not interested in this at all.


Forum Posts: 157
Comment #12 by oXStarKillerXo
Sunday, September 27, 2009 @ 05:12:36 AM
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Killing Nazis is always a selling point for me.
Buying this for sure.


Forum Posts: 823
Comment #13 by Phate
Sunday, September 27, 2009 @ 06:00:54 AM
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Been interested in this one for quite a while. Glad to see it's coming along.


Forum Posts: 1386
Comment #14 by Elit3 m0nkey
Sunday, September 27, 2009 @ 08:56:27 AM
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Looks cool, too bad it will have to wait till next year to play it (already got plenty of games coming out)


Forum Posts: 26
Comment #15 by Barry619
Sunday, September 27, 2009 @ 09:42:45 AM
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@11 Strangely nobody cares.


Forum Posts: 175
Comment #16 by i Eat Kittenzx
Sunday, September 27, 2009 @ 10:49:09 AM
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@11 Why did you bother to come in here to comment on the fact your not interested lol you have too much spare time on your hands mate.

I've been waiting for this game for quite some time i do hope its as good as i hope it will be


Forum Posts: 26
Comment #17 by reddog1083
Sunday, September 27, 2009 @ 11:44:53 AM
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20-25 hours of main story and 5-10 out of side story is an outright lie. Not going to happen. Sorry. Developers always pad the stats, plus an open world game like this isn't going to be that long.


Forum Posts: 44
Comment #18 by aquatical
Sunday, September 27, 2009 @ 03:49:21 PM
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It looks alright.


Forum Posts: 462
Comment #19 by L1E
Sunday, September 27, 2009 @ 04:19:39 PM
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Anybody notice that for once Europe is getting it first? I did.


Forum Posts: 1068
Comment #20 by The Bum-Mobile
Sunday, September 27, 2009 @ 05:50:06 PM
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#17, I thought the same thing. It still looks fun though.


Forum Posts: 987
Comment #21 by Devil Sora
Sunday, September 27, 2009 @ 07:27:55 PM
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Might have to pick this up, love the release date.


Forum Posts: 14795
Comment #22 by Webb [STAFF]
Sunday, September 27, 2009 @ 08:15:38 PM
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@#19 - Same with Army of Two 2 I do believe =O


Forum Posts: 167
Comment #23 by The Globalizer
Tuesday, September 29, 2009 @ 10:27:47 AM
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This and Borderlands are the sleeper hit candidates of the year.


Forum Posts: 10
Comment #24 by ERIKDOTCOM
Tuesday, September 29, 2009 @ 02:17:13 PM
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Interesting...


Forum Posts: 0
Comment #25 by starsmember33
Tuesday, September 29, 2009 @ 04:44:34 PM
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Look's Bad(In a good way)


Forum Posts: 135
Comment #26 by SvD.HaZe
Thursday, October 01, 2009 @ 02:35:57 PM
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ill keep my eye on it


Forum Posts: 95
Comment #27 by SM Rollinger
Thursday, October 01, 2009 @ 05:06:54 PM
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nice, this looks good


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Game Info
Developer:
Pandemic Studios
Publisher:
Electronic Arts
Genre:

Release:

US December 08, 2009
Europe December 04, 2009

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Wishlist:260
 
 
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