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The Saw franchise is known for inventive traps, twists and turns, and a warped sense of right and wrong. The Saw games have attempted to bring the suspense and horror to a console near you. The first Saw game was panned for terrible combat, poor graphics, and for being completely boring. The second game aims to remedy the situation by updating the cast of characters and continuing the story. Coming a year after the first game, Saw II: Flesh and Blood misses the mark by simply ignoring the problems of the first game.
The game follows Michael Tapp, the son of Detective David Tapp (Danny Glover in the first Saw movie) as he struggles to find out who killed his father, and instead discovers a different conspiracy. The plot is paper thin, held together with collectable case files and audio logs. The cutscenes are used mostly to introduce traps to the player and not really used to expand on the story. The dialogue is pretty terrible with the only exception being Tobin Bell who reprises his role as Jigsaw from the movies. It is a credit to his acting ability that he is able to make the excruciating writing actual bearable. He will occasionally explain the most inane things to you; it is not creepy when he tells you that you will need a lever to open the door. You should be able to infer what you need to do without having it spelled out for you by a ventriloquist dummy.
The game looks like last year’s Saw game. In fact, it runs on the exact same engine. The character models are pretty average looking and the environments are keep very dark so that you don’t see how cobbled together they are. Most of the time, it is difficult to tell one room from the other and after awhile you will not ever care. The controls are somehow even worse than the graphics. One would think that in a game that consists of about 5 buttons, the controls would be the easy part. You would be mistaken. Most of the time you simply amble around and press the A button to open doors and solve puzzles but there are about a dozen instances in the 6 hour campaign that you will need to engage in actual combat. Actually “combat” is a rather loose interpretation of the experience you have; “awkward quick-time events” is a better description of what the experience boils down to. Then there are the boss fights, oh boy! The boss fights are really just the same boss fight over and over with a slightly different way to triumph over the threat. Basically a man runs at you and you move and he runs into something and either dies or becomes stuck. At that point you hit him with a pipe, or crutch, or bat until he dies. Rinse and repeat.
The sound department is just as lax as the graphic department. There is hardly any ambient sound to scare you and a distinct lack of music most of the time. When you trigger an instant kill trap by opening a door you get a 5 second clip of the same sound effect when you manage to avoid it. The only sound you will hear 90 percent of the time, is the sound of chains dragging. That’s the only way to describe the sound, exactly like chains dragging. I was never able to find the source of the sound and it almost drove me insane. Nonetheless, that is a rather small complaint in comparison to the total package.
Saw II: Flesh and Blood is essentially Saw I. The developers have learned very little from the failures of the first game and seem to be content with milking the cash cow until it runs dry. Despite the complaints, I did find moments where I enjoyed the ridiculousness of it all. The beginning and the end of the game, while very satisfying are not going to surprise you at all. It is worth noting that the game has two different endings that are both fairly interesting despite how boring the rest of the game can be. The minigames are fun for a few hours, but completing the same 5 tasks for 6 hours can wear on you. Even casual fans may find sections interesting, but overall the game is lacking dynamic gameplay and graphics. You may have some fun with this gruesome romp, but your fun will be short-lived.