Platforms: X360, PS3, PC
Developer: Zombie Studios
Saw..... I can remember the first time I watched Saw (the original) and how absolutely incredible I thought it was. In fact, I thought it was a masterpiece. It had extremely interesting traps, a clever story that I was entranced in, and it had an ending that was absolutely mind blowing at the time. The funny thing in all of this however, is that it only took 18 days to make. Pretty incredible right? One year after it's release, Saw 2 came out and it lived up to expectation delivering a solid continuation of the story along with a variety of crusome traps for fans to indulge their gore seeking eyes in to. Next followed Saw 3, Saw 4, Saw 5, and so on, but so did the growing displeasure of the fans who clearly knew that the producers were doing nothing more than milking the series for every penny they could. Now we come to the next chapter in the Saw series which is Saw: the Video Game. Do you want to play a game? Read on to find out.
Saw: The Video Game follows a well known character to the series named David Tapp. If you remember from the first Saw movie, he was the crazy man that had left the police force after his partner died to the hands of Jigsaw. If you need further clarification as to who he is, he's the guy that got his throat cut in one of the movies flashback scenes. After the cutting of the throat, he worked by himself trying to solve the mystery of Jigsaw behind closed doors until one day he noticed that someone was in Dr. Gordans apartment. As a refresher, Dr. Gordan is the character in the first movie who famously cuts his leg off and escaped Jigsaw's trap at the end of the first film. So from here, Tapp followed the intruder in a high speed chase to an abandoned building where he was shot and from the looks of things, he was dead. This is where Saw: The Video Game takes off. After his near death experience, David Tapp is stiched up by Jigsaw and placed in an abandoned asylum filled with others playing Jigsaw's sick and twisted game. The thing that makes this interesting is that all of the others playing Jigsaw's game have one objective, to kill you. Why? Because while you were being stiched up by Jigsaw from the gunshot wound, he left you with a little something to remember him bye. A small key implanted in your stomach that will free anyone who is trapped in the asylum. This is where the game begins.
As you persue Jigsaw through the asylum and try to figure out why you are there and how to escape, you encounter many scenarios where you have to save people in the asylum, since you are promised that by doing so, you will get closer to unlocking the secret behind Jigsaw and why those certain individuals are important to you.
Other than this there's really not much to say in terms of story, but to sum it up in a pretty little bow, you are put in an asylum, you save the people that need your help, you get closer to Jigsaw and then you are left with a choice. Simple as that.
There is one word can be used to sum up the look of this game and that certain word is dark. The game is set at night and you are running through an asylum where barely any of the lights are turned on. This causes some problems. Even when I have the brightness in the game turned up all the way I still have trouble seeing. Sure it adds somewhat of a fear factor to the game, but after a while it really gets quite annoying. This isn't all bad however, as there are parts of the game where being in the darkness, mixed with the spine tingling sounds of people running on the floors above you, people banging on doors and screaming coming from god knows where can certinaly make for tense situations. With that being said, when these sounds aren't implimented and its just you walking through dark hallways, you just wish that you could see properly.
One major gripe I have with the game stems from the implementation of the Saw movies pig mask person (not sure how else I would describe it). This individual is the one who comes after you and puts you into Jigsaws traps. The one major problem with this character is that whenever you encounter him/her, the game goes into a cut scene and it takes you out of the experience entirely. It's not scary at all and that's truly a shame as this person, being used correctly, could result in some serious scares for players. Imagine being hunted down by this person and you having to hide in order to escape their grasp. The possibilities are endless here, but instead the developer opted for boring cutscenes, it's truly a shame.
On the graphical side of things, Saw uses the ever so famous Unreal Engine 3 and that does give the game an overall good look. The environments don't look bad and the characters are okay, but when you look at the graphics you could never tell that this is the engine that powered the Gears of War series. Getting to the blood and gore of the game, seeing as how that is the main focus of the movies, you would expect greatness when instead you are left with nothingness. To expand on that thought, when you see people in the asylum they always have some type of a trap attached to them. They either have the shotgun collar (which you yourself are strapped into very early in the game), the death mask as seen in Saw 2, or a couple of others that I can't think of off the top of my head. When you encounter these people you'll usually hear a ticking or a beeping. This means they are on a timer and that they want you dead so they can remove the trap as quickly as possible before it kills them. After killing an enemy you are free to sit there and watch as the trap springs into action, but this is very unsatisfying. The animation that is shown when the trap goes off is sub-par and doesn't give you that gore factor you'd expect in a Saw game which is truly dissapointing. In the end though, I will say the environments are done quite well and the look of the game doesn't take too much away from the overall experience.
On a good note, the voice acting of Jigsaw himself is amazing and you wouldn't expect anything less. When you hear his voice it gives you goosebumps and it really makes you feel as if you are apart of the world that is Saw. You feel as if you yourself are that person in desperate need of being saved and it's this aspect of the game I enjoyed the most. On the other hand however, the rest of the voice acting is pretty aweful. After going from a game like Uncharted directly to this, the change is almost unbearable. Sure Jigsaw sounds great, but the other characters are bland and lifeless.
In the end, the game has moments where it looks and sounds good, but these moments are too often overshadowed by poor voice acting and annoyingly dark environments.
It's not going to take me too long to describe the gameplay in Saw: The Video Game, but it can easily be summed up in one word: simple. When you hold down the left trigger you are able to either block, do a strong attack, or a quick attack. The only way I can describe to you how these fighting mechanics feel is by telling you that it feels alot like Skyrim. Enough said. Saw is a third person game and if you have played either Skyrim or Oblivion in third person mode before, then you will know exactly how this game plays. While these floaty fighting mechanics are acceptable in RPG's like those mentioned above, it certainly doesn't bode well for a game like Saw. On the other hand, the one thing you can do which is quite interesting is set traps for your enemies. If you notice an enemy coming by, you can set up a shotgun trap with a wire. As they trip over the wire, their head is blown off. Also, you can find fuses and set up electrical traps with water. As an enemy walks on the water, activate the fuze and shock them. This adds a somewhat nice strategic element to the game, but in time the traps become repetitive as there is not much variety in the way you can set them.
Along with the poor fighting mechanics there are also puzzles and traps, but these are extremely boring as well. One example of a puzzle is making the balls fall into the right hole. By this I mean there are blue balls and red balls. Make the blue ball fall into the blue spot and the red ball fall into the red spot. Done. Also, you can lockpick doors and cases to weapons for you to use, but the lockpicking is the easiest I have every seen in a video game and the puzzle to open a case for a weapon is just about the same in terms of difficulty.
In the end you can see that the game has amazing potential and if picked up by the right developer it could have been a great game. It's just that there are so many flaws within the game that it makes it impossible for me to recommend to anyone unless your a fan of the movies and you can find a copy lying somewhere in a $5.00 bargain bin.
After everything is said and done, the one word of advice I have for you is try to stay away. Once the game is done, you'll never go back and I know I never will.
Thanks for reading my first ever review and feel free to let me know how I can improve by commenting!