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PS3 Review – Saw

November 19, 2009 Written by Cameron Teague

saw_variety

Games based on movies are becoming a very popular trend in the industry, and the Saw horror movies have joined the cause, releasing a Saw video game, which was developed by Zombie Studios and published by Konami.  With a good sized library of movies to draw inspiration from, does this one make the cut?

Saw begins after the end of the second movie.  You play as detective Tapp, who has been put into an asylum by the Jigsaw killer to be taught a lesson.  You must now solve the puzzles laid out by the killer to make it out of the place alive, and you are not alone.  You will encounter many characters from the first movie, all dealing with their own jigsaw puzzles.  The Jigsaw killer’s motive is pretty clear from the beginning, as he is trying to teach and judge those who he deems fit.  Saw is a third person survival horror game that plays very similar to many of the games before it like Silent Hill and Siren.  You must move your character, Detective Tapp, around the asylum, searching for clues, solving puzzles and fighting.

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Combat in Saw is handled with four buttons.  L2 gets you into combat mode, in which you are afforded one weapon and a light of some sort, either a flashlight or a lighter.  You have two attacks, a heavy and a light attack, as well as a block/dodge.  Though the combat is not supposed to be a major part in the game, you do, however, get caught in combat quite often, and that is why it’s sad to say the combat is terrible.

You can pick up various weapons to use during your trek from a table leg to a scalpel. Most of the weapons in the game, however, are very slow to use, even when using the quick strike, so your best bet is to just use hand-to-hand combat, since you can pretty much just do quick attacks and enemies will never touch you.  The combat feels very weak in general and seems as though it was not given the same amount of attention as the rest of the game.

If hand to hand combat is not your thing, you have a few options of using the environment to your advantage.  You can lure enemies into trip wires, remote mines, poison traps, and electrified puddles, as well as throwing Molotov cocktails.  These are pretty easy to use, but since the computer AI is incredibly stupid 90 percent of the time, you might as well just stick to using your dukes.

Aside from the combat the next big part of the game are the puzzles throughout that you must solve.  There are a few different kinds of puzzles that you will encounter through the game.  There are poison rooms where you must match up the pipes in a valve so that you can stop the flow of poison.  There are also gear puzzles where you use three different sizes of gears to try to get a box open.  The last puzzle you will face in the asylum is circuit breakers that you must align properly to restore power to doors.  All of these traps are done very well and can be difficult in the short amount of time that you are given, but a bit more variety would have been nice.

You will also need to solve riddles throughout the game to receive combinations for door locks, which are needed to progress the story.  These are well done and really put your mind to the test.  As you progress through the story, you will also be forced to dig through toilets full of needles and barrels full of toxic waste to get keys to open certain doors.  These are well implemented, but it would have been nice to see a bit more variety, as towards the end of the game the puzzles will get old.  Lockpicks will also become your friend, as you are guaranteed to come across plenty of opportunities to pick various locks.

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The puzzles and atmosphere are all well done and really put you in the shoes of someone who is being judged.  Your every move will be watched as you go from puzzle to puzzle on your way to catching the jigsaw killer.  The environment really plays to this, as the entire world inside the asylum is dark and devoid of life.  You will, however, notice that a lot of the rooms begin to look the same after a while.  Many of the objects in the game are also duplicated numerous times, so as you get farther into the game, the feeling of repetition grows.  To make matters worse, there are only 3 or so different character models, and they are often re-used, so you will find yourself fighting the same unfortunate souls throughout the game.

The audio in the game is well done as far as the Jigsaw Killer, with Tobin Bell resuming his role.  This cannot save the rest of the audio, however, as it is very forgetful, and you end of hearing the same repeated lines from everyone else stuck in the Asylum.

Saw is a great beginning for the franchise’s leap into the gaming industry.  The atmosphere of the movies is captured with the voice of Tobin Bell, and the puzzles are well executed.  However, the combat fails in just about every aspect, as it is unresponsive and very poorly implemented.  Hopefully, developer Zombie Studios has learned their lessons, and if a sequel is made, will pay a bit more attention to this aspect.  The campaign will last around 6-9 hours and has multiple endings, though there is zero replay value, as the game automatically saves before the choices at the end.  A very solid first effort from Zombie Studios and worth a rental for those in the mood for some EASY trophies.

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score


Captures the essence of the Saw movies

Puzzles are interesting but repetitive

Terrible combat dirties a decent game

5 out of 10