“Hello Detective….I would like to play a game.” these words have now struck fear in my heart! After wincing and hiding through five of the six Saw films ,and loving them might I add, I wondered how they could possibly make a game of the series. How would it play, would it retain the same dark atmosphere as the films? Would it be like some movie tie in games and be a complete failure?
I decided to play Jigsaws game….
The first cut scene portrays you being dragged down what looks to be a hospital hallway in a wheelchair. The place is disgusting and decrepit looking. You have horrible flashbacks of power tools and a person in a pig mask. Everything goes a little hazy, eventually you pass out.
You wake up to the sound of white noise coming from the TV next to you, distant screams and a strange tight feeling on your head. You then realise you are strapped to a chair and start screaming. Out of nowhere the TV turns itself on, its Jigsaw and he would like to play a game.
Jigsaw is the antagonist of the films, he thinks of himself as a healer of people. By putting them through horrific torturous tasks – or games as he likes to call them, he thinks he is curing them of what they have done wrong in their lives. If they survive the test they are supposed to be more grateful for their lives and see how they have been throwing it away.
Your first test as Detective Tapp is to remove what is affectionately known as the reverse bear trap in the Saw universe, Anybody who watched the first film with Amanda in, will know what the reverse bear trap does. It basically sits on your head and separates your jaws, keeping your mouth open. If you do not succeed in removing the bear trap on time, it rips your jaws in opposite direction thus ripping your head open. Pretty gruesome stuff!
Using a combination of directional stick twisting and quick time button mashing events you have to get the trap off you before it results in a slight case of death.
You learn that you are in this situation in the first place because as a detective, it is your job to catch Jigsaw but you have become obsessed by him not caring how many people you have to endanger to get to him.
You look around at your surroundings and realise you are in a bathroom with toilet stalls, a giant mirror and a combination locked door. This is where the puzzle element of Saw comes in. I found the puzzles to be very well done, always making you think. The answer to this puzzle was quite clever, there were markings on the mirrors, you have to shut the toilet doors where there were also marks. You then have to move around until both sets of marks lined up in the mirror giving you your combination to the lock. Once you have your combination its time to move on.
As you continue on in the game you are faced with a lot of puzzles, some with be at the expense of your character i.e. – Fishing around in toilet bowls filled with needles looking for a fuse, of thrusting your arm into barrels of acid looking for a key.
Some of these puzzles however will have less than positive consequences on other characters if you fail them. For instance Amanda, a character from the films, ended up with 2 dirty great hypodermic needles in her eyes after I failed a task. I never did like her anyway so didn’t really feel that guilty! But luckily for the sake of the game, I was able to try again. Some puzzles also are time controlled, there was many an occasion where I was pushing it for time and this made me really panic.
Throwing a twist into the games story is the fact that there are other people in this building looking for a way out, and that way out is unfortunately you. They need you dead and will try anything to make sure that happens. Like in real life, some people are more aggressive than others. Some will have no issues in ripping what they need from you where as others are more sympathetic merely standing and watching in horror.
Most of Jigsaw’s other victims are wearing their own traps so sometimes its possible to avoid a confrontation entirely by running away and allowing their traps to do all the hard work for you.
Other times however, you just got to fight whether you like it or not. Jigsaws groupies will not be wearing traps and will want to stand in your way of success. In that case its time to grab whatever weapon is near by (if any) and give them a kicking. Combat is exactly the same as the system in Silent Hill 5, you press LT to get into combat stance and then hit them with A for a light hit or X for a heavy hit. The fighting system is sadly flawed though as sometimes no matter how much you hammer the attack button, nothing happens leading to a thorough ass kicking which can get pretty frustrating. However if you do succeed after they are dead you can rob them and go. You may need to heal up which is done by using a health injection. The health regeneration is nicely done I think because you can use as much or as little of the health hypodermic as you want to.
Other things to look out for whilst on your quest for the truth and revenge are other kinds of traps like Shotgun tripwires. These are very difficult to see and result in instant death when triggered. You can disarm these though and set them back up if anyone is following you. Also making an appearance is the shotgun door, these are rigged so that when you open it you get a hefty dose of buckshot in your face, again resulting in death. These can be stopped by pressing the corresponding button that flashes on screen.
So death is pretty much every where in this place, if you are not a fan of things of a gory or sensitive nature then this game is seriously not for you. The atmosphere feels dark and scary, with the locations and rooms fantastically rendered. Not one detail is out of place there, old medical apparatus fills the blood stained broken hallways, mangy dirty beds stand side by side in disgusting rooms.
The sounds of the place are what gets my heart racing though, horrific sounds of torture in the near distance, stuff falling on the floor and echoing around the dark corridors. The voice acting is also done very well adding to the authentic feel.
The game is let down though by the short length, it is able to be completed in about 10 hours which isn’t really that long, the idea of prolonging the life of the game by including 2 endings is also unfortunately flawed. Right before the end you are able to save your game meaning you can watch both endings on a single play through.
The only extenders to the game I found were the collection of case files and audio tapes. I personally like collecting these things as it opens the story up for me more and eats some time away too, but others may not feel the same way.
Another thing I found that irritated me was the fact that the game welcomes you to achievement city pretty early on. In my first 10 minutes I had accumulated 140 gamer score points for not really doing much. Five points of that was earned by standing still for five minutes.
Everybody likes an easy achievement or two I know, I myself included, but when you are getting them for something as trivial as standing still it kind of takes the challenge out of things.
This game is definitely for you if you are, like me, a fan of the films.
It manages to recreate and maintain a genuine Saw experience throughout. It feels like the whole game is fresh out of Jigsaws evil depraved mind.
If you are just after a scary game, my recommendation would be towards the Silent Hill games.
A jumpy fun game to play which is sadly marred by a few issues, although if you can see past these issues then this may be a game for you.
Saw (Reviewed on Xbox 360)
This game is good, with a few negatives.
This game is definitely for you if you are, like me, a fan of the films. It manages to recreate and maintain a genuine Saw experience throughout. It feels like the whole game is fresh out of Jigsaws evil depraved mind. If you are just after a scary game, my recommendation would be towards the Silent Hill games. A jumpy fun game to play which is sadly marred by a few issues, although if you can see past these issues then this may be a game for you.