Saw: The Video Game

Saw

After writing about Saw: The Video Game in an earlier post, I realised that I may have given people the wrong impression. Yes, the game does a good job of creating an unsettling atmosphere and yes, at times it is quite clever. But trust me; they’re the only positive aspects of the whole thing. In the interest of properly establishing my opinion on the game, here are some reasons why it’s shit:

Repetitive, unimaginative puzzles. Primarily, bigger and more difficult versions of the same two puzzles repeated ad nauseum throughout the entirety of the game. The first is a simple circuit puzzle which involves directing electricity from a source point to several nodes, and the second requires a selection of pipes to be rotated until they fit together. There are others, but they usually only crop up once or twice in specific scenarios, so Konami rejected more of them on the grounds that they were too much like puzzles that made sense and were enjoyable to solve.

Barely visible, instant-death traps. Tension is a good thing in a horror game, and creeping slowly through the environment is generally quite a natural thing to do, especially considering your lighter extinguishes itself if you move too fast. However, when you’re being chased by a lunatic swinging around a baseball bat with nails through the end, rounding a corner at high speed and having your head blown off by an almost invisible wall-mounted shotgun is a little bit harsh.

Combat. Oh, the combat. Perhaps the worst combat in any game I’ve ever played in almost two decades of gaming. Swinging a length of piping takes roughly ten minutes, and usually five minutes in the enemy clubs you over the head with something and cancels the animation. The best course of action is generally to just spam the game-breaking uppercut move and give all the weapons a wide berth.

To be honest, the game starts off really well. Detective Tapp (the player-character), is stuck in the familiar Reverse Bear Trap which will bisect his head in just 60 seconds if the player doesn’t quickly complete the required quick-time event. It’s not particularly difficult but it’s a tense, very immediate opening which really catches the vibe of the films.

After managing to free himself of the trap with just a few seconds to spare, Tapp finds he’s stuck in a bathroom and can only unlock the door with a specific code. Where is this mysterious code? Nowhere to be seen, but on closer inspection he realises that if he closes all the cubicle doors and then looks in the mirror, there are three numbers painted in bright red letters on the doors. Ah, very clever. Then, after escaping the bathroom, everything goes rapidly downhill.

Look, the first time I had to stuff my hand in a toilet full of used syringes, it was pretty cool. After the sixth time, not so much. And don’t even get me started on the barrel full of acid which I was forced to delve into despite the fact that there was a convenient drain on the floor right next to the fucking thing. Saw is full of moments like this, and it’s a shame that the great atmosphere and occasional good idea are spoiled by simply terrible design decisions.

So Jigsaw, no, I wouldn’t like to play a game. Perhaps if the development team put some thought into the design and actually used the wealth of good ideas that the movies provided them with, I might have held out some hope for other games in the franchise. As it is, your games can all go for a swim in that big vat of liquidised pigs, and as far as I’m concerned so can you, you miserable old cunt.

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