It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that Konami and Zombie Studios are working on another Saw game. After all, this is the same horror movie franchise that has been delivering annual sequels for so long that you’d expect your grandfather to start telling you about the first time he watched a Saw movie back in the silent film era. Really, it has just been since 2004, but it’s clear the game franchise has a lot of catching up to do with the movies. To see what’s in store for Saw 2, we had a look at the game at a San Francisco Konami event yesterday.
Who's Making This Game: Zombie Studios, the same developer behind the first Saw game, released in October of last year.
What The Game Looks Like: In a word? Gruesome. Expect to see the same sort of “unfortunate demises” that the movies offer, complete with splattered blood and twisted booby traps. But on a technical level, Zombie has upgraded to the latest version of the Unreal Engine, meaning it has got some new tricks up its sleeve with the game’s visuals. Characters and textures look noticeably better than in the first game, but more importantly, light and shadows are looking quite a bit more realistic and creepy. For a game that relies so heavily on unsettling the player, improving the creepiness of shadows seems like a big deal.
What There Is To Do: Saw 2 is a survival horror game that combines puzzles, minigames, and infrequent combat as you try to escape the twisted machinations of the villain Jigsaw. This time around, rather than escaping from one nondescript building, you’ll make your way through multiple locales, including hotels, sewers, and factories.
We played the first 10 or so minutes of the game, facing off against a variety of puzzles and traps. The first had our character’s head in an iron maiden, on a timer, which was set to snap shut and impale our head with dozens of spikes unless we could find a way out in a hurry. The solution was a grim one: we had to use a scalpel to dig out a key surgically planted beneath our eye. Welcome to Saw!
How The Game Is Played: At times, the game can feel like an adventure game (albeit a twisted one) as you move through the dark from one puzzle to another without much button-pressing in between. But there are occasional moments of combat when you have to defend yourself. For the sequel, Zombie has gone for a more defensive style of combat. At one point, we were placed in a sort of fighting arena against a lunatic man charging at us with his arms tied behind his back and spikes on his head. With no weapons to be found, we had to frantically find a way to deal with him using wits rather than brute force. It turns out that opening a door leading to an empty elevator shaft and letting the poor sap charge blindly into the abyss worked quit well.
What They Say: Konami’s company line describes the game thusly: “With a blend of intense combat, mind-bending puzzles, and a twisted story players will face horror and terror that only SAW can deliver.”
What We Say: Agreed. But whether or not you’re up for the depravity that a Saw game is uniquely capable of delivering is another story entirely. If you are, expect to see the game released on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 this fall.