The Saboteur is the final release from now-defunct Electronic Arts-owned Pandemic Studios. The Los Angeles-based developer that gave birth to such franchises as Star Wars: Battlefront, Destroy All Humans , and Full Spectrum Warrior was perhaps the most notable casualty in EA's latest round of job cuts this past November. The company's mothballing is now all the more regrettable given this posthumous release, which suggests the studio's staff still included some very gifted game makers.
Set in and around Nazi-occupied Paris circa 1940, The Saboteur ( Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows PC, ESRP: Mature ) is an open-world adventure best described as fabulously atmospheric game noir. Our hero is a stereotypically foul-mouthed, whisky-drinking, chain-smoking Irish rogue named Sean Devlin who, when not hunting down the brutal German officer that killed his best friend, spends most of his time looking for and blowing up Nazi military targets. He's an instantly likeable fellow.
He's also a campy caricature. This is true of most of the game's characters – including a busty blonde English spy, a sadistic, leather-clad Gestapo security officer, and the blunt and righteous Parisian who recruits Devlin into the French resistance – which gives us the all-clear not to take anything we see too seriously. The territory we trod here is definitely more Indiana Jones than Schindler's List – this despite a clever visual effect that will for many call to mind Mr. Spielberg's classic World War II drama.