Review: Mafia II


By Brittany Vincent
Contributing Writer

I’ve spent plenty of time with Grand Theft Auto, inFAMOUS, and other similar excursions — except I’ve done nothing but harm innocent pedestrians and wreck countless cars while racking up an indeterminable amount of property damage. As a result, I didn’t bother to finish them.

The reason Mafia II works for me was because it was nothing like the go-anywhere-and-do-anything romp I assumed it would be. Like its predecessor, Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven (one of the few similar games I did complete and a fantastic play), it’s a scathing, disturbing, and at times decidedly stereotypical look at the lengths one man will go to make money, build a better life, and most importantly, a name for himself.

It’s not perfect. Many may call its refusal to stray from its central narrative a weak point. But it spins one of the most gripping dramas I’ve seen in quite a while.
Continue reading

Review: The Saboteur

36129-The Saboteur_12-German-thumb-480x270-35461-thumb-480x270-36128.jpg

Ugh, yet another World War II game. That was the sentiment a lot of people had when The Saboteur first made its way into our gaming consciousness.

“That’s what we thought when we first sat down to talk about it,” said Tom French, the game’s lead developer. “Do we REALLY want another World War II game?”

It’s not that killin’ Nazis got old — it’s that we kept essentially killing them the same way. Storm the beaches. Blow up a bunker. Disable enemy armor. Pause for dramatic music that makes you think of Saving Private Ryan. All in first-person.

Even the attempts to infuse WWII with traces of the occult or scientific fantasy (like Wolfenstein) generally boiled down to picking up weapons and shooting a lot of Nazis (some demonic, some not) through the eyes of the hero. Like any good soldier, you were asked to steadily march forward, engage the enemy and persevere.

Enter The Saboteur, a sandbox of historical fantasy that functions as the fun and slightly cantankerous antithesis of any other WWII game I’ve run into. Featuring pieces of some Assassin’s Creed and the wildly diverse nature of the GTA games, we finally got a different way to tell a war story.

Continue reading

Trading questions with Tom French, lead developer for The Saboteur


I’ve been pouring hours into The Saboteur, a sandbox game designed under the creative umbrella of World War II historical fantasy. Pandemic Studios put it together, and I managed to e-mail some questions to Tom French of Pandemic before getting my hands on the game itself. I’m coming off playing Assassin’s Creed 2, another history-heavy game, and wanted to see what a World War II game had to offer from the folks who made it. You can see the e-mail Q&A after the jump. Enjoy.
Continue reading