The Good: Varied puzzles, captures the Saw atmosphere, good voice acting, simple combat
The Bad: Looks dated, dumb AI, combat is too simple, doesn't capture the shock value of the movies, puzzles are pretty lame
A lot of movie based games have a lot of potential, but fall flat due to short cuts, bad production values, or just rushed and unfinished work. Saw is one of these games that suffers this disease, but it's not a terrible game. You play as Detective Tapp who must find and help various people seen in the movies through traps, but there are small little traps you must get through to advance through areas; and find items to also advance through areas. This is where Saw should be great: Gore. It falls flat there in a sense that everything feels stale and noting have any weight or impact to it. When head pop it's no more exciting that a bubble. There's not much gore other than a red blob on someone's head and no cringe factor. The movies made me even feel sick and queezy, but the game does nothing for me.
Controlling the character feels floaty and weightless kind of like those first generation PS2 games. Combat involves a simple lock-on button and attacking, and it works except that it's as simple as A-B-C. You can pick up various weapons such as crutches, lead pipes, scalpels etc., but they have a damage meter so after a few hits they break apart. Enemies are as dumb as they come, and blocking their path by shutting doors can help, but they really can't kill you since they even struggle targeting you.
When it comes to exploration the game is linear to a fault with literally narrow corridors everywhere. Some times you'll come to a candle with a tape from Jigsaw or some type of document you can read, but the clues in the game are very vague or too obvious. Most traps that you must get through to advance through the levels are pretty mundane and not very interesting. These range from finding a code on the wall to a lock, reaching inside some nasty thing to grab a key, or timed lock mini-games. I want to see gruesome stuff not silly interpretations of things we've seen before. Saw is a game that could really innovate the mature audience inspired games with some pretty brutal stuff.
After you slog through this you can finally get to the finally which is a bigger main trap, but not all these are interesting and pretty much are more glorified versions of the advancement puzzles. Neither are very gory, look brutal, or are as convincing as the movies, and it's the graphics that really transpire this. They look very dated and the technology doesn't allow a lot of detail. If these guys could get a sophisticated engine they could make this game look fantastic, but they opted out for the cheap engine instead. They did capture the Saw atmosphere really well, but the shock value is pretty much non existent.
Overall Saw is a decent rental, but it's not one that you're going to walk away feeling great about, but instead depressed at how lame the game is instead of how great it could be. The game does support an Xbox 360 controller, but people who prefer the keyboard and mouse will be clueless as to what controls what because numbers don't really help and there are no tutorials. The puzzles, however, are varied enough to keep you interested and there are some fun doozies in there, but other than that this is a huge disappointment.