Synyster Graves

Saw: The Video Game

by on Apr.23, 2010, under Xbox 360

Saw boxSaw: The Video Game puts you in the body of Detective Tapp or Danny Glover’s character from the first film. I personally loved the Saw series of movies as they were original and very atmospheric. Being a Saw fan, it was only logical that the combination of one of the best horror franchises in recent years turned into a survival horror game seemed right up my proverbial street. So as a fan of both media genres I feel obliged to give an indepth review of this game.

The game starts with Tapp, trapped so to speak, in a reverse bear trap and its a series of Fuzion Frenzy style quick time events to free yourself before your head is turned into a man sized Pez dispenser before you’ve even realised you’ve put the disk in. The game begins after that in a series of tutorials to acclimatise yourself with the controls. One of the initial info screens informs you that you cannot traverse certain passages without losing health due to the carpeting of broken glass, similar to the outside of a Wetherspoons forecourt and you happen to be barefoot. “Fine” I thought, “the next enemy that I come across I’ll just steal his shoes and I’ll be impervious to the silicon based mauling I just got from a corridor”. “Fuck you” replied the game as the first few enemies I came across also did not have shoes leading me to believe that Jigsaw has some kind of shoe fetish. Not only that but Tapp at no point in the ENTIRE game tries relinquish the footwear from a vanquished opponent.

Another mass annoyance in the game is cheese wire style gun traps that always seem to fully decapitate you with a shotgun regardless of the angle of entry. This is fine as a challenge but gets annoying when you can’t see the 1mm width of wire as you don’t seem to have Xenomorph style hunting vision, as well as the fact that the black shadows on the black canvas in the distance pretty much makes you run around in the, well, dark. The game also seems to absolutely litter them about, even in the stupidest places as it causes you to leg it through a corridor and place it in a room full of poisonous gas and provides a veriable gauntlet before you can even get to the puzzle to shut the fucking thing off!

And that’s another thing, the puzzles. A puzzles go this is challenging but the difficult/scale of them massively ramps up in the game without any prior warning! If there was some diversity to the puzzles this would be fine but a whole playthrough consisting of 8 hours of pipe and box moving gets quite tedious. The boss fights are merely a stage show sized medley of puzzles which force you swiftly conquer the puzzle before the poor hapless victim is ceremoniously eviscerated with Hollywood effect. This in all honesty was quite stressful, which if the developers were aiming for that, hit right on the mark.

Another amusing quirk to note is the health system. Games like Gears of War and Call of Duty have made all accustomed to finding cover and regenerating limbs over time. Not so in Saw. The only way to regain health is to find ampoules of salubrious green liquid and inject yourself with it. After two hours I was so full of dettol and my character’s arm would probably look like I spent an evening with Pete Doherty in a tattoo parlour. Plus you have to hold the button down to restore health. If the syringe is only halfway donw by the time you life is at max, Trapp with discard it quite stupidly, it is at this point (possibly quite early on) that you realise that Detective Tapp is completely retarded and possibly deserves to die, a bit like Lara Croft acts stupid and you kill her on purpose in Tomb Raider.

The combat in the game as with most survival horror games (excluding Dead Space) is pretty pants. Weapons are sluggish and wayward and by the time you’ve lined up your shot with a spare table leg you’ve been killed and Jigsaw is taunting you with his paedophile voice. I found actually the best attack is go unarmed and spam the enemies with the uppercut attack leaving every single enemy after this revelation to be shoryukened into oblivion.

So in summary, Saw was an entertaining game but suffered from game developers who weren’t hugged enough as children with a couple of cheap scares here and there. And puzzles, lots of PUZZLES!

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