Platforms: PS3 (reviewed) | Xbox 360 | PC
How do you make a game of the megabucks-making gorno series? Well developers Zombie ran into trouble when their original publisher went bust, but Konami swooped in and picked up publishing rights and seemingly had an influence on the game itself too. So we’re left with this inbred Silent Hill knockoff with more torture scenes and poor hand-to-anything coordination.
You are Detective Tapp (played by Danny Glover in the first film) who after his injuries has been nursed back to health by Jigsaw purely for the purpose of f**cking him around in his own purpose built asylum. Jigsaw’s lair is suitably littered with dozens of his victims’ destroyed corpses in various devices you’ll recognise from the movies. Jigsaw’s game is to try and convince Tapp to forget his obsession with catching him (this’ll help).
The game plays like a broken version of the Silent Hill games, complete with even more awkward combat and plenty of identical, bleak corridors to explore. The combat is the game’s ultimate weakness with the controls redefining unresponsive. You do get a wide range of weapons that would be quite at home in a Manhunt game, such as scissors, mannequin arms, baseball bats (with/without nails), table legs, pistols (rare), hypodermic needles or just your fists. The medium and strong attacks take forever to travel from your couch to on-screen; thankfully the AI is pretty thick and goes down without much of a fight. The only real selling point to the combat is that each first kill with a weapon is awarded with a Trophy. The main people you fight are people in similar situations to yourself, but their task is pretty much to kill you. Great, they get a quick stab mission, I’ve got eight hours of clumsy combat and puzzles. Cheers Jigsaw, you prick.
There are traps you can set for your enemies but you’re only allowed to do this really late in the game. It’s too late by then; you’ll just be heading towards the light at the end of the tunnel that is playing something else. You’ll have to watch out for traps too, such as the shotgun tripwires and shotgun door-opening QTEs.
The rest of the game involves fining keys, avoiding walking on glass as you’re barefoot and flipping switches. Most of this is in the dark too with only the piss-poor light coming from a lighter, the world’s crappest torch or a vision-blurring camera flash. To make matters worse if you’re facing a wall from a couple of feet away, there’s a glitch and the light disappears. Half the time you don’t know if there’s an empty dark corridor in front of you or a wall. Walls that absorb light, brilliant. Konami should be ashamed, dark corridors and torches is something they mastered back on the PS1.
The game’s puzzles are made up of toilet searches where you root around a crapper full of syringes for a key, Arkham Asylum-style perspective puzzles to find number codes for locks and lock picking mini-games in the form of random timer puzzles needing you to stop rotating icons in time or place different sized cogs to form a moving chain.
The most prominent puzzles are the never ending pipe puzzles where you create a path from A-B with various rotating puzzle sections and the circuit boards where every node must be rotated to get power going through it from one of the few electric nodes on the board. The small ones aren’t so bad, but by the time you have to complete a small one followed by two 7x7 ones all while you’re being gassed to death, you’ll really start to feel like one of these poor bastards in the films. That’s not a good thing.
‘Boss fights’ are actually events where you have to save someone from one of Jigsaw’s traps. They usually cheaply recycle the puzzles mentioned above, but some will go the extra distance to keep you awake. Matching up pairs from a large number of images would be fine, except every wrong choice results in a spike getting shoved through the victim. If they die you’ll have to keep retrying, but at least gore-fans can look forward to a messy cutscene if they fail. The trap devices themselves are one of the few things that resemble the films, apart from the creepy voice of Jigsaw and his clown, once again finely voiced by Tobin Bell.
If you’re into your Trophies, then there’s every chance you’ll be able to Platinum this swine if you can complete it, as the Trophy conditions are pretty straight forward and can be done in one playthrough. Those circuit puzzles will really test how much you want it though. That shiny Platinum was the only reason I didn’t stop playing after the first couple of hours.
Not into Trophies? Think the films are meh? Then avoid this like a guy in a red robe, wearing a pigmask and waving a chloroform hanky.
- Creepy atmosphere early on
- Cheap Platinum Trophy
- Fans of the series may enjoy the references
- The combat is like Silent Hill on horse tranquillisers
- Glitchy lighting
- Another circuit puzzle? I’m going back to that shotgun tripwire!
The Short Version: If you managed to stay a fan of the Saw series after it stopped being a worthwhile endeavour then you might be able to look past some of this game’s flaws. To the rest of us that enjoyed the first film, then rapidly got bored with it, don’t bother. The awful combat and repetitive puzzles will possibly make you hack off your own thumbs off with a rusty spoon.