* Prices may differ from that shown
Name: Saw: The Videogame
Released: November 2009, PS3
Developed by: Zombie Studios
Average Professional Score: 5 out of 10
You may like Saw: The Videogame if you liked:
Alone in the Dark (PS3)
Siren: Blood Curse (PS3)
After a whopping six films, it is no wonder a computer game rendition was in the pipeline to go hand in hand with the popular horror brand. To coincide with the release of Saw VI, 'Saw: The Videogame' was released in late 2009. On paper it could make a hugely successful game and potentially re-ignite the survival horror genre, which has been rather lacking recently. After reading a few professional reviews it was very apparent that the game has a chillingly seductive atmosphere, but is the really the case? Does it translate into a thrilling enjoyable game?
Though the game connects to the films on a subjective level, the game has been written to tell a sort of side story. You play as Detective Tapp, who awakes to find himself wearing the infamous bear trap and locked inside a medical asylum. It soon becomes apparent that The Jigsaw Killer has kidnapped him and placed him inside the locked building to save various victims that all somehow relate back to the films. He also discovers that placed inside his chest is a key, a key that unlocks the exits and thus to freedom. Running around being 'tested' themselves is other characters that must solve the clues to reveal that their only way out is to retrieve the key from inside Tapp.
It isn't that simple however, horrific and gruesome puzzles await Tapp and he must solve the riddles and free the victims from all sorts of situations, from shotgun booby trapped doors, furnaces, walls of spikes and other monstrous torture devices. It becomes even more difficult still as The Jigsaw Killer has an accomplice, a shadowy character named Pighead who traverses the asylum in search of Tapp. Can Tapp make it out of the asylum alive and can he save the victims along him quest? Or is his obsession for The Jigsaw Killer too strong to ignore and be lured deeper into a mind game of secrets and twists?
I suppose when you buy the game you already have an idea of what the story is all about, a sort of 'does as it says on the tin' kind of feeling. And that is exactly what you get. It's unoriginal, lets be fair, but sometimes unoriginality does not mean boring or bad. The plot itself is intriguing and addictive enough to find out the true meaning behind the Jigsaw's riddles and vague monologues. It is also rewarding enough to hear the stories of the victims all locked inside the asylum, whether it be a heroin addict or a neglectful mother. Characterisation adds depth to a story and in here it's obvious that it also adds atmosphere and emotion into a game that is otherwise all about death.
Upon release, Saw: The Videogame has received an inundate of attention regarding to the barbaric nature of the game. Apparently 'torture porn' in nature and a 'tutorial for sadists to get pleasure from'. I have to disagree, not only does the game come with a whopping 18 certificate therefore making it only available for adults, but also anyone who is a fan of the Saw franchise knows that the whole backdrop regarding the creation of The Jigsaw Killer is about morals and lack of appreciation of life. People are being punished for their bad decision making and for shunning responsibility. There is a very strong message in the game if you follow the story hard enough to see past the gory devices and the death of computer animated characters. Horror films rely on pushing boundaries and causing controversy, and by reacting to the game it only makes people sit up and notice even more.
Graphics and Sound
The Playstation 3 has been around now for a good while now and with examples of games such as Final Fantasy, God of War, Call of Duty etc as a gamer we come to expect decent looking graphics. It doesn't make a game, but nowadays it could break a game and it is really an important aspect to create a visual spectacular for the player but also to add atmosphere, replayability and recognition. If I was to be honest, characters in Saw: The Videogame looked bland and lacking in a really specific kind of detail. It promotes generic-esque design and results in a sort of budget Playstation 2 feel. What I mean by this is the sort of block colour fill-in that makes up the variety. There doesn't seem to be much texture to the character design either that is usually always the case with low budget titles.
Animation is a little jerky also, which for me put me off the game, im sorry to admit. When fighting (see Gameplay) the actions are very limited and often square-ish which is game talk for an action that doesn't flow or follow through smoothly. It just looks unrealistic and unnatural. However lighting is used to create a truly spectacularly cold atmosphere. At the beginning of the game you only have a lighter to see your war ahead. Just imagine how dark the game is and the great potential for scares and frights. Atmosphere in a horror survival game is a must and here is one plus to go on the 'too buy' list. However, sadly the atmospheric potential of thrills and scares never really materialise and you are left with what if's and could be's.
Many critics pointed out the accomplished soundtrack and sound effects that add the scare factor in, but perhaps I missed something. It has been known. But if there was a soundtrack in the game surely it can't be that great since I can't even remember anything stand out and grab my attention. I can recall the shattered glass effects from walking around in the dark, plus the chilling voice of the Jigsaw which is also a nice touch, but im afraid that's it.
Gameplay and Replayability
There are countless games in the Horror Survival genre now, all with varying takes on the Gameplay aspect. Some go for all out action, whilst some rely on atmosphere and plot. Saw: The Videogame mixes the two in what can be called a cataclysmic failure. Let's take the combat first. As aforementioned in the plot, other characters are out to kill Tapp to obtain the key inside his chest. Therefore it becomes necessary to arm yourself with a weapon and defend yourself. Metal pipes, wooden bats, scalpels and many many more are all available at your will to wipe out the hoards of attackers. With a light and hard attack button available you'd expect a wide variety of actions available, but sadly not. There are no combos and you have to rely on blocking then attacking and vice versa to get lucky and kill your opponent. What's worse is the slow reaction from controller to Detective Tapp, which means at times you are already loosing valuable health before the commands are even recognised. Enemy AI isn't better either, with lacklustre opponents that suffer from mediocre moves themselves.
The combat is really just an added extra into the Gameplay; the puzzles are the heart and soul of the actual Gameplay. So for example you need to press the right button at the right time to avoid booby traps and also play mini games such as sticking your arm into a toilet filled of needles to obtain a key. By moving the analogue stick against pressure and pressing the pick up button will successfully catch the key. The problem with all these types of puzzles is that we've seen them all before and don't really take much brain power; no puzzle is really that challenging. Take the X-Ray puzzle for example. A key is hiding inside a corpse; there are four corpses with name tags. Choosing one of the three incorrect bodies will result in something bad happening. Which dead body do you pick? Simple, by looking at the X-Ray it will tell you the name of the patient.
Repetition is a common problem in this game and it halts the enjoyment of a game that had so much potential. You just get bored so easily. The game also suffers linear walkways. Later on in the game you can take multiple routes, but does this really solve that? Whole areas are blocked off early on so you just simply follow the only way through. This also comes back to the puzzle element of the game. Some puzzles are simply solved by taking one thing from one place to another part of the asylum and bingo!
There are multiple endings to the game which is always a plus point in any game, because it forces replayability. The problem with this is, is Saw worth playing again to see another ending? Probably not. There are also two difficulty levels. I've tried both and the harder setting gives you more opponents with much more aggressive tendencies and it also gives you a little less time on certain life or death puzzles. Trophies are a common thing now in all PS3 games, but there are 47 trophies to unlock, 11 of which are secret so figuring them all out can be a little challenging. There was apparently going to be multiplayer game mode but was scrapped early on in the development stage.
Atmospheric horror setting
Bland graphics engine
This horror game is one for fans only I'm afraid. I would certainly not recommend it over many other titles in the same genre. The worst part of the game is the fact that the controls are so unresponsive at times it becomes a chore to play and therefore you have to ask yourself is it worth its £37.99 RRP? The critics were right in saying that it is highly full of atmosphere and the omnipresence of the antagonist can provide a few thrills. It does have a good enough story, but im afraid the sad point is that you have to play the game to realise the truth. It has potential and at the current date of this review write up a sequel has been released. Let's hope that was given a much bigger budget because the promise is that it can be turned around. Unfortunately Saw: The Videogame is not an enjoyable experience and definitely doesn't re-ignite the genre liked I hope it would.
To be honest i cant say i am really suprised that this had become a game as they are 6 films (get ready for seven soon), toys and also a ride based on the Saw franchise. But i was suprised as to how they could possibly even make one. What would it be about? who would you be? would you make the traps? Although all very interesting i didnt buy into it as i have gone pretty tired of the Saw installments of late. I personally thought they should of left it at 3.
However my little (19years old) is for some reason a saw fanatic, has seen all the films and it eagerly waiting for the 7th to come out soon on 3D apparently. He even has the doll laugh on his phone!!! Anywho soon after buying the PS3 he quickly (stupidly in my eyes) went and spent £40 on the game. Why i asked? Because its saw was his reply. Anyway back to the game.
--Whats it all about?--
As with all the questions asked above you are pretty much nothing of the above. Instead you are set up in some sort of mental asylum unlocking puzzles in set times to add to some tension. So no you are not jigsaw, so you cant claim to be the brains of the tasks but your also not the victim. To run out to the newspaper whos pays out the most to say ' i survived jigsaw puzzle'. Instead you are Inspector David Tapp. Upon checking up on this it is Danny Glovers character who played in the first Saw film.
Like i said above you based in some sort of mental asylum which is completely in tatters to put it nicely and seems to be empty, or is it???? You are basically the trap rescuer. now and again you will be met by a TV which automatically switched on and the doll appears. It then tells you who is in danger and then goes off. Typical saw style. The voice of jigsaw i must say was very good. You then go off to the rescue, but its not so simple. You will be met by some hidden suprises and also the odd loony in the building who is also trapped in one of jigsaws games and the only way to survive is to get to you.
This being a PS3 game i thought the graphics would be top notch, fully realistic and all sorts. but for some reason it is. Run out of money? Why i dont know. The gameply is also a little slow for my liking and the odd time you need to fight seems to take agesss to finish, Just to hit hit once seems to take about 5 minutes itself! You get a range of weapons to help you on the way including a plastic leg!
The actual puzzle solving i really enjoyed and being a saw game you cant help but slowly tread around as anything can pop up or even blow up. It at times feels like the actual film as the traps are that realistic. we also see the entrance of a few of the popular traps set in the film too.
Overall this game is not as bad as i thought it was. I'm getting quite used to the surroundings and at time the game is very good. I get the odd rush of blood when i'm trying to unlock a trap, screaming at the screen to hurry up or where is it!!!!!!
From what i can see you can get the game for about £25 which i belive to be a much better price for this as the original my brother paid for. Worth a rent if your not to sure. Just depends really how into saw you are.