Tuesday, 22 February 2011

I "Saw" what you did there! - Saw: The Videogame Review

I've already gone into detail of the Saw films, and why I like them so lets talk about the first installment of the videogame series. Saw: The Videogame, actually i'm going to refer to it as Saw from now on, is set between movies one and two. Saw is a puzzle, pseudo-survival horror game, where the puzzles can repeat themselves, but there is always a big one at the end of the level to look forward to.

It follows a character from the first film that we do not get an explanation of what happened to them in the second one and is quickly forgotten about. While it is interesting to see an established character in this game without the fear of maybe having to kill him off considering this is a different medium and not everyone will see it, it is strange to not throw us in with a new character that we can get to know instead. To fans of the film series this makes sense, but to people picking up the game who haven't seen the films the film references do not make as much sense.

You play as Detective Tapp, as he wakes up in an asylum and must go through several real time hours of traps to try and discover who the Jigsaw Killer really is and bring him to justice for his crimes. What we get is a journey of discovery as more light is shed on the detective's backstory, his cohorts, and the consequences of his actions. We also get a origin story for a Saw 2 character in here which solves one of the major plot holes in Saw 2, but also raises many more.

The way the game plays is very clumbsy. This is a short game and it seems to pad out its playtime by making you restart areas as you didn't see that tripwire shotgun trap until it was too late. The game quickly tries to solve this gameplay mechanic of different traps that you can disarm and rearm though by adding in way too many checkpoints. In a chapter that could take you just under half an hour to complete if you were going fast, fifteen checkpoints is too much.

This is a very linear game, but I would have preferred more exploration in it. Does this mean that it is not fun? Of course not! I loved it through and through, although at certain points I was confused as to what I was supposed to be doing. The big end of level puzzles were a very much welcome asset, although one of them towards the end of the game was a bit underwhelming. I remember my thought process "A snap minigame, seriously?". It wasn't really snap, but it was close enough for me to call it that and people to know what I was talking about. This game also has multiple endings. I bet you didn't expect that. I didn't.

What makes this game fun is to see what will happen next. Zombie Games have done a wonderful job creating an atmosphere in which you will be jump scared at least once. Jump scares are of course not the best type of scares but its Saw, i'll take what I can get.

What really kills this game in my opinion are two things. The combat and the trophies/achievements. Lets talk about the combat first. There are a variety of weapons available to use which you will learn are basically divided into light and heavy weapons. The game doesn't admit this, but it is very prominent. The combat itself is a mess though. You hold down R2 to go into combat mode, and then press X for a light attack and square for a heavy attack. What kills me as well, figuratively of course, is the fact that there is little difference between the speed that these attacks go at and I was killed several times while trying to hit people with a table leg while they punched me to death. While your fists do less damage, they are by far the most useful multipurpose weapon. There are instakill weapons such as the syringe and the scissors, but these are one use and not worth it.

Just going to talk briefly about the achievements/trophies here. I have played through the game from start to finish, seen both of the endings, and I am sitting here with 88% of the achievements. If you are not going to put fufilling achievements in your games, don't bother. This in my opinion is not even excused by this being a very linear game. Even Dead Space 2 had achievements for experimenting with the tools at your disposal and that was a linear game, rather than having an achievement for the end of every chapter and significant event, and one for first kill with every weapon. I know that trophies on the PS3 had not been around that long when this game came out, but you really shouldn't have bothered and put more work into the combat. Seriously guys.

I really shouldn't talk about this game forever, so i'll end it here. I know alot of people will be very skeptical about this game as the film series it is based on doesn't have the same following as other popular film brands. Basically if you forget that its a Saw game, it is a good puzzle solving game with gore thrown in.

Overall, 7/10. Considered giving it an 8, but something seemed to stop me. May have been the endings.

This is Tyramatt, signing off.

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