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Xbox 360 Game Review



Format: Xbox 360
RRP: £44.99
4 012927 033838
Age Restrictions: 18+
Available 20 November 2009

Jigsaw has killed your partner and destroyed your life. Now he has trapped you in an abandoned insane asylum that he alone controls. If you can defeat his brutal traps and survive, you may just discover the truth behind what drives this twisted serial killer...

SAW is a third-person perspective, survival horror game based on the SAW movie franchise. The game features many of the deadly mechanical traps seen in the film, as well as terrifying new ones. Pit your wits against Jigsaw as you navigate his world in an attempt to evade and escape his gruesome traps, while also struggling against his minions in brutal combat by using weapons found within the environment.

Set between the SAW and SAW II movies, SAW the video game focuses on Detective David Tapp who awakens in a decrepit, abandoned asylum. He has been captured by his longtime nemesis, Jigsaw. Obsessed with catching this serial killer, Tapp’s mission has consumed him and ruined his family, resulting in divorce, mental imbalance, and abandonment. Worse yet, this frantic hunt destroyed Tapp’s career while he watched his long-time friend and partner get killed by one of Jigsaw’s traps.

To add a bit of additional drama to the game Jigsaw has performed a little bit of surgery on Tapp while he was unconscious. He's placed a key inside Tapp and the other inmates of the asylum have been told that if they can get the key they are free to leave. Later in the game even more problems are placed on your shoulders as a special neck brace is placed on you which starts to flash if you get near other inmates who are wearing similar neck braces. You have to keep your distance from these other prisoners, otherwise the trap will be sprung and your head will explode.

The map for the asylum is fairly small and there's not much freedom to explore your surroundings - you can only really go in one direction, once you've completed a task then a new door is unlocked and your way back is blocked. But to be honest this doesn't really present a problem. What you're focusing on are the traps Jigsaw is setting for you, so like some twisted fairground haunted house, Jigsaw only allows you access to certain areas of the asylum until you complete that task so that he can open up the door to the next problem.

The puzzles are quite varied and surprisingly good fun. These range from the odd perspective puzzles (where you must stand in a certain spot in a room to see a bunch of numbers) to placing different sized cogs on a board in such a way that one moving cog will move another stationary cog across the board.

There are also mini games (place your hand in a toilet full of syringes and grab a key; or pick the lock to a door by ensuring that a number of connected barrels all have the same icon facing each other) which getting harder the deeper into the game you get.

There are also door traps which are fairly easy to navigate. If, when you open a door, you can see a pendulum and one of the action buttons, then you must press this action button to stop a wired up shotgun blasting off your head. Likewise, you must be careful while exploring your environment. If you see a trip wire (not easy to spot) then you can quickly disarm this trap (otherwise once again it will instantly blow your head off - making you jump in the process). If you have the right equipment (which you can find by searching the numerous cupboards around the asylum) you can rearm the trap to kill any of the other inmates who want to kill you.

The game is also incredibly atmospheric. Yes, it does feel like a poor man's Silent Hill, but some of the background screams and cries are quite unnerving - to the point where several people in the office left what they were doing in order to see what "sick thing I was doing".

My main complaints, which to be fair are not that major, are the fact that the game can be a little too dark in places - the flashlight seems to provide less light than the lighter; and that when you die you have to watch an entire video segment again before you can pick up where you left off. Also, the graphics are not as cutting edge as they could have been.

On balance though this is quite an interesting title, which adds plenty of atmosphere and jumps to get your heart racing. The puzzles are more varied than I was expecting, and pitched at just the right level of difficulty to make it feel like you're working hard to achieve your goals, but not that hard that they take an age to master.

For fans of SAW, as well as those who like puzzle games, this will be a pretty interesting game.


Nick Smithson

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