By Marc Saltzman,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Atmospheric horror game with gory, sadistic gameplay.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Like the movies, Saw doesn't deliver any positive message other than the fact you've been captured by a twisted psychopath named Jigsaw and not the one who IS the psycopath. Plus, players have to make moral decisions while saving others who are also at the whim of the evil Jigsaw.
Positive Role Models
Players assume the role of a kidnapped detective who is captured by the serial killer named Jigsaw. They must decide whether to help others out of their deadly traps -- though these others have upset your character in the past. Will you help them or let them suffer? A good role model will save them despite their differences. But players must also fight against violent inmates who follow Jigsaw. Jigsaw is a twisted, evil person.
Ease of Play
While some of the puzzles can get challenging, the game itself is fairly easy to control thanks to many icon-driven cues on the screen (such as press X for this, or B for that, etc.).
Violence & Scariness
Much like the films, this game is disturbingly violent, gory, and bloody -- not just because of seeing and hearing characters dying in pain but because a demented serial killer is deriving pleasure of this "game" where the player has to try to survive. Characters can die with a bear trap on the face, shut in an iron maiden chamber, exploded, ripped in half, or sawed to pieces -- and you witness it all with screams and blood. To defend yourself from others, you can use bombs, spiked bats, pipes, shotgun traps and other things, some which result in your decapitating your enemy.
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The game does contains offensive language, including the "f--k" and "sh-t", as well as "damn" and "hell."
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Products & Purchases
It could be argued this game serves as a marketing tool to promote the Saw films, but at least it's not debuting the same day as a new Saw film, which would be even more shameless.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
References to drugs can be heard or read throughout the game, but the act of drinking, drugs, or smoking isn't seen in the game. Examples of drug abuse references include "I promise I won't do it anymore: the drugs, the cutting, none of it," while LSD use is referred to in the file of an asylum patient.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this survival horror game is not appropriate for kids or young teenagers. Just as the five feature films are disturbingly sadistic and gory, the game is equally as graphic. Gamers will witness explosive helmets, spiky iron maiden chambers, saws that cut through bone, and an incinerator that burns a body inside. There is plenty of cussing and some references to drug use. Needless-to-say this game is for mature audiences only.
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Based on 13 parent reviews
Bloody but good
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What’s It About?
Fans of the creepy Saw horror flicks from Lions Gate – which has grossed more than $665 million worldwide, including 28 million DVDs sold to date – can now get up close and personal with the masked Jigsaw killer. Based on the films of the same name, SAW – the video game – was designed with input from the creators of the Saw franchise, Leigh Whannell and James Wan, to ensure a tight integration with the movie's story, characters, and visual style. The game is a third-person "survival horror" adventure that drops you into the twisted world of Jigsaw, as you attempt to evade and escape his sadistic mechanical traps (planted for you and others), while also taking on his devoted minions using weapons found in the environment. The storyline takes place sometime between the movies Saw and Saw II, where Detective David Tapp awakens in a decrepit, abandoned asylum, captured by his long-time nemesis and serial killer, Jigsaw.
Is It Any Good?
Sounds like the ingredients of a bone-chilling interactive entertainment experience, right? Not quite. The good news is the atmosphere is terrific (including incredible voice acting), some of the time-sensitive traps and puzzles are gratifyingly challenging, and the moral decisions you must make while saving others add another layer of depth. But the bad news is the game becomes repetitive quickly, the combat is lackluster, and because of its linearity, the game lacks replayability. In the end, fans of the Saw films might get a kick at this foray into games, and it helps tie up loose ends in the films (such as the origin of Jigsaw), but it's better as a weekend rental than splurging $60 to own it.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how this game compares to the movies on which it is based. Is this game less frightening than the movie because the character's aren't photorealistic and therefore might be less disturbing? Or is a Saw video game worse than a film because it's more active rather than passive. That is, in a movie you watch the action unfold onscreen, but in a game you're the one planting bombs to blow up enemies or fighting to take down Jigsaw.
How did you feel about the moral decisions you had to make in the game?
- Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
- Available online?: Not available online
- Publisher: Konami
- Release date: October 8, 2009
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Strong Language
- Last updated: August 31, 2016
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