For the fans, cult or otherwise
Well its finally here, when this was first announced I think even the most devoted Saw fanatic scoffed at the premise that it had come to a videogame adaptation of our beloved franchise.
However since this game was first announced and its release, Saw has become a very different monster, Jigsaw has 'evolved' into a maniacal multi-faceted genius, seemingly capable of precognition, aswell as being an expert in human nature. Therefore he presents a very interesting antagonist in the premise that he is aware of everything you are doing and planning before you do yourself.
This notion which has always been present in the movies but was brought to the forefront in Saw IV after the death of ol' Jiggers, is the primary weapon the game has in building the atmosphere, and the first time you enter a room only to have the door shut behind you and the timer on the wall start to count down, will for any Saw fan be a VERY tense experience, followed by a very satisfying exhale if you survive your first 'test'.
I am very happy with how the game turned out, as it has a very strict focus on puzzles and exploration, gradually drip-feeding information and hints that relate to characters and locations from the films, again the only way you will get any joy out of these is if you LOVE Saw with a passion, if not you'll barely even notice them, which I personally think is awesome, as it makes the experience just that little more involving and individual. A fantastic example of this is when you find a camera lying about, you have the option to use this as your light source, thereby recreating the famous scene with Adam in his apartment, it makes the exact same noise aswell.
However one very poignant negative is the combat, it's very Silent Hill or early Resi, in that you do a standing attack and thats IT, you move yourself into position and strike, move again and try the same, rinse and repeat. It is extremely clumsy and is the only part of the game that feels like it was ignored in favour of the other elements, you can however do a 'execution' of sorts if you floor an opponent which amounts to you going to town on them until the camera lense and floor is covered in blood.
Another neat touch is the use of Jigsaw's traps against your enemies, if you collect some shotgun shells and tripwire, you can rig one of the wall mounted guns to go off and kill a pursuer Detective Sing-style, which of course, is AWESOME. Collecting other items such as ammonium or explosives allow you to create miniature traps that will stun foes or explode letting you get the drop on them, I didnt mention the occasional slow motion when dropping a dude with one swing of a bat did I?
Overall this serves perfectly as a companion piece to any of the movies, and is a good competent survival horror game set in a realistic believable world. If you like the movies, or games like Manhunt and the like, you will undoubtedly love Saw, providing you survive your first test. Let the games begin...