Play The Saboteur instead of Wolfenstein II

If you enjoy Nazi-stomping you’ve probably heard of Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. They did have a pretty funny marketing campaign, after all. Now according to the reviews I’ve seen so far, it’s a mixed bag. It’s the Doom engine meets the previous Wolfenstein’s setting. Something we’ve more or less seen before, just with better graphics. Not that terribly exciting on a conceptual level, is it?

This section of Paris will turn from black, white and red to color once you get rid of the Nazis

But there’s one game about taking out Nazis that is unique and was overlooked when it came out in 2009: The Saboteur. I’ll leave it to you to find in-depth reviews, but here are some of the things you can do:

  1. Explode Nazis
  2. Race cars around Paris
  3. Punch Nazis
  4. Listen to terrible French, German, Italian and Spanish accents (one of the French characters can’t even pronounce his own name)
  5. Kick Nazis
  6. Enjoy nice music (most of it jazzy loungeroomy stuff)
  7. Set Nazis on fire
  8. Drive through the French and German countryside
  9. Throw Nazis off buildings
  10. Enjoy fairly nice photography during cut scenes (for a video game, anyway)
  11. Run over Nazis
  12. Get frustrated by a variety of weird bugs. They are fewer than they were in 2009, at least in the GOG version

If that sounds like your kind of thing, give The Saboteur a chance. It’s still very bad in many ways: collision detection is so broken that your character might collapse for 15 seconds just because his knee touched a nearly inert car. Stealth is so wonky you don’t know who spotted you and how to ever avoid the same mistake. Driving isn’t the least bit of fun. And you suck up bullets like a sponge, it takes minutes of sustained fire to kill you, even though all you’re wearing is a hipster beret and leather jacket. Also pants.

So this isn’t a great game by any measure except the conceptual one, but it’s often below 5 EUR in sales and I’d consider it worth that much.

Exploding Nazi equipment is great fun

It’s different than most Nazi-killing games. You don’t go in guns blazing, you sneak around, you sabotage things, you steal stuff. You’re a very small resistance group, but unlike the one in Wolfenstein you don’t have the advantage of including a one man army. You’re just part of a tiny cell trying to free Paris from the Germans against impossible odds. This atmosphere is the glue that holds the systems together despite their issues, and that makes you want to continue playing so you can see the next mission.

Free bonus if you know German: Many of the German-speaking characters butcher their German so badly that it’s comical.

If anyone told you that this is “GTA in Nazi Paris”, it is, but not only. This is its own thing.

Rating: Splosions/10.

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