The Saboteur

I recently played The Saboteur, the 2009 Nazi-killing game from Pandemic Studios and EA, and I was pleasantly surprised by how well it held up after eleven long years. But there’s one thing in particular that really stuck out to me. It’s a little thing, but sometimes it’s the little things that count the most.

While standing idle, if you press the sprint button (typically mapped to R3 if you’re using a controller), the playable protagonist Sean Devlin will take out and light up a cigarette, then just stand there smoking it. This serves no purpose gameplay-wise. This isn’t the Phantom Cigar from Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, which speeds up time, nor does it serve as a boost to stats or have a negative effect like the cigarettes in Red Dead Redemption 2. It just is.

Now, I do not condone smoking cigarettes in real life. In fact, I actively despise the practice, as well as anyone who engages in the disgusting, pointless habit (in theory, anyway). I mean, shame on you, in this day and age.

That being said, being able to command Sean to smoke a cigarette in The Saboteur sort of lends him a cool vibe, especially when viewed through the black-and-white lens of an anti-Nazi noir game set in 1940s occupied Paris.

The Saboteur

Sean smokes, whether that be simply out of habit or to calm his nerves. Or maybe it’s just to blend in. In fact, it was during a stealth mission — in which Sean was dressed up in full German military garb — that I discovered this option. I know it did nothing to aid me in my obfuscation (the other guards would have discovered me if they were close enough to see past my ruse, regardless of whether Sean was smoking or not). But in that instance, it felt like the cigarette was helping me blend in. This detail went a long way in drawing me further into the moment, and into The Saboteur as a whole.

Because even though I don’t smoke in real life, and in fact I and vehemently frown upon it, Sean does smoke. And in moments of extreme, Nazi-fighting stress, Sean smokes to strengthen his resolve.

And to that end, I’m with you, Sean. Light ’em up, baby.

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