Saw II Hands-On ImpressionsBy Jake Gaskill - Posted Apr 09, 2010
Saw II, the next chapter in Zombie Studios’ video game series based on the perennial horror franchise, picks up directly after the events of the first game, and is actually set between the first and second movies. This time around, Zombie Studios has upped the ante in pretty much every respect from the puzzles to the diabolically vicious traps to the terrifying environments. Konami has high hopes for the sequel, and the franchise, and from what I saw (get it?!), they could be well on their way.
During Konami’s recent Gamers Night, I was able to spend a little hands-on time with the survival-horror title. As the game opened, I found myself in the same situation as the unfortunate character from the first scene of the movie Saw II: sitting in a chair with a Venus flytrap-like mask of death strapped onto my character's head. The key to unlocking the trap had been unfortunately sewn into my face, just underneath my right eye. To get it out, I had to gently guide a scalpel along the stitches just below my eyeball. Once I had cut out the key, I was able to remove the trap just before it snapped shut.
The next task was to escape the room I was trapped in by using a nearby mirror and the back wall, both of which contained a certain portion of a jigsaw puzzle piece. The exit was of course locked, but thanks to the mirror/wall combo, the simple rotating puzzle, which required me to line up the concentric circles to form the previously uncovered puzzle piece, was swiftly solved.
The next scenario required me to shine my newly acquired flashlight on glow-in-the-dark chalk outlines of bodies to locate a combination to a nearby padlocked door. This particular room was especially revealing as it contained a number of prototype death traps. Hitting A to investigate them cued a brief, bloody cutscene showcasing the traps deadly potential. In the atmosphere department, the game definitely gets its point across, and you feel like you need about 80 tetanus shots just from looking at it. And even in the very brief time I spent with the game, there were a bunch of super creepy little moments where you could see other poor souls being killed in the next room, or running into a room only to be skewered by a swinging scythe. Catching these mini-moments really gives you a sense of how much broader the game story is, since it’s clearly not all about you and your particular suffering.
In addition to the puzzles, I also encountered a couple of quick-time sequences. In one had you hit A to avoid falling into a hole created by weak floorboards, and the other required you to hit two buttons in order to avoid being impaled by the same swinging scythe I mentioned earlier. I actually failed the second one twice and died horribly as a result, but I eventually got it right and was able to move on.
The last sequence worth mentioning was a mini-boss battle of sorts, which pitted me against a terrifying dude in a spiked helmet whose arms were bound behind his back. Taking him out requires you to open a nearby elevator door, and sidestep at the last second as the guy charges at you, causing him to plummet down the empty elevator shaft. There will apparently be a number of new and returning enemies in the game, but this was the only one I was able to see.
Saw II felt and looked decent enough, and it definitely creeped me out quite a bit, so mission accomplished there. The prospect of larger, more varied environments, better controls and new death traps is certainly enticing. Whether the game will be the stepping stone to eventually getting the franchise in the same league as Silent Hill the way Konami is hoping it will is hard to say. You know what's fun to say though? I saw Saw II too.