SAN DIEGO — Do you want to play a game?
Konami would sure like you to.
I was lucky enough to go to Konami’s offsite Comic-Con event and get some hands-on action with Saw.‚ Though I am usually a little skeptical about the quality of many movie inspired games, my demo with Saw made me think twice about disregarding Konami’s upcoming title.
For those who don’t know, the Saw series is a wildly successful collection of psychological thrillers based around the antics of the man known as Jigsaw.‚ This antagonist puts various everyday people in impossible situations by making characters often solve puzzles and put themselves (or others) to death or through incredible physical and emotional pain; the ultimate goal being for the characters to appreciate life and reflect on mistakes.
Konami’s Saw game hopes to become a seamless transition between the first and second movies as players take control of Detective David Tapp (Danny Glover’s character).‚ When the game is started, Tapp finds himself in one of Jigsaw’s traps.‚ From there, players must find a way out of the deadly game and escape to safety.
All things considered, it is no surprise that Konami decided to make Saw a very puzzle-intensive game.‚ In my short demo, I was able to solve more than a few riddles and tasks to prolong my life.‚ The clues in the game are dynamic in that they come in a variety of forms.‚ Sometimes a clue will be as blatant as some numbers written on a wall, while other times a hint will only be revealed when a player looks at a mirror in a certain angle.
Saw stays true to the movies that inspired it.‚ The developers worked very closely with the folks at Lions Gate Entertainment to bring gamers the most authentic and interesting Saw experience possible.‚ Players will be introduced with chronologically past and future characters while also escaping from classic traps and solving puzzles that are unique to the game.
One thing that makes Saw stand out when compared to other movie-inspired games is the way it looks.‚ From the shadowing to the cut scenes, Konami’s creation is impressive in a variety of ways.‚ One of the things that really impressed me from a visual standpoint was the look of the environments.‚ Each room that I got a chance to see established a sense of creepiness and helplessness, complete with rotting and bloodstained walls and that very recognizable cold tint that Saw fans have grown to love.
Unfortunately, not all visual aspects of Saw were so impressive.‚ What especially stood out to me as lacking were the character models and motion.‚ I was thoroughly unimpressed with how Tapp looked after I found myself so astounded by the environmental look of the game. Also, being a third-person game, character movement is an important part of the experience.‚ Sadly, Tapp’s walking seemed awkward.‚ Furthermore, although the traps in the game looked very good, the motions involving activating the solutions were lackluster as well.
Saw incorporates both mental and physical types of gameplay.‚ Not surprisingly, Saw, being focused on solving puzzles and riddles, involves a lot of cognitive exercise.‚ Taking clues from the walls or in the messages from Jigsaw will likely kick your brain into gear as you attempt escape from the latest situation Tapp finds himself in.‚ Physical challenges include the pressing of buttons or rotating of sticks.‚ An example of the physical gameplay is when Tapp needs to escape from the classic reverse bear trap.‚ In this challenge, players must unwind the clamps from the trap within a certain amount of time or else the trap will spring and inevitably kill Tapp.‚ To safely remove the trap, players must follow the on-screen instructions by rotating the joysticks in a certain sequence, resembling the unwinding actions that would be necessary in reality.
Overall, Saw seems like it has some potential.‚ With the already impressive visuals and‚ dynamic, creative puzzle-intensive gamplay, Konami’s movie-inspired title has kept me optimistic.‚ Keep an eye out in late to 2009 for Saw (which should be at a rentable game, at worst) when it drops.