Saw II: Flesh & Blood picks up right after Saw and is set between the first and second films. It features David Tapp's son, Michael, as the new protagonist as he searches for clues behind ... See full summary »
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Saw II: Flesh & Blood picks up right after Saw and is set between the first and second films. It features David Tapp's son, Michael, as the new protagonist as he searches for clues behind his father's death. In doing so, Michael becomes a target of the Jigsaw Killer and his mysterious apprentice wearing a Pighead costume. Written by Marco Bonelli

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Crime | Horror

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M | See all certifications »

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19 October 2010 (USA)  »

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Follows Saw (2009) See more »

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"Saw II: Flesh & Blood"- On par with its predecessor. A strong story is betrayed by weak graphics and poor gameplay.
25 October 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I am most certainly an unapologetic fan of the "Saw" film franchise. From its humble, low-budget beginning, through a slew of sequels and spin-off media, I stuck by the series through thick and thin, never giving up on it. And to this day, I continue to stalk message boards, theorize about unanswered questions and eagerly look forward to the day that the films will eventually continue. It's not even a hobby for me... it's simply a part of my life. That may sound silly, but the films were such a huge aspect of my adolescence and early adulthood, I consider them to be a part of what defined me as a fan of film and horror.

So it should come as no surprise that I also played my way through the two video-games that the series inspired with a degree of glee. For once, I was no longer a passive observer viewing a story... I was inside of the world. Able to control it. Able to experience the fear of Jigsaw's dreaded games first-hand!

...so why did they both have to suck?

Yes, anyone who has read my review for the first game knows I wasn't a huge fan of it. It had an interesting story for sure. And it absolutely nailed the grim, grimy and gritty atmosphere of the games perfectly. But it was betrayed by abysmal controls and battle mechanics, sub- par graphics and tediously repetitive gameplay. I went ahead with the second game knowing it would be an improvement. It had to be, right? Sadly, the answer is a big, old "Nope!" "Saw II: Flesh & Blood", a 2010 release for the Sony Playstation 3 and Microsoft X-Box 360 is every bit as flawed and messy as its predecessor.

This time around, we follow Michael Tapp, son of the slain detective David from the original game. (And original film, where he was portrayed by Danny Glover!) Investigating his father's suicide after the events of the previous entry, Michael is soon kidnapped and placed into a new series of traps, where he will come face-to- face with an intriguing plot about possible corruption and intrigue with his father's former co-workers, and face the demons that had haunted his father so.

Honestly, if there is anything this game does better than the original, it is the storyline. It's actually pretty interesting, especially as it isn't just a regurgitation of previously-seen characters and ideas as was the case the last time around. Michael is just good enough a character to want to follow on his journey and supporting roles are typically at very least interesting. It's fun putting the pieces together, and it's also a blast to see all the new traps (along with some returning classics) in action as you try to save other hapless victims.

Unfortunately, the rest of the experience is a mess. The graphics are once again incredibly dated and cheap-looking, with textures and models more on-par with an early Playstation 2 release than the at- the- time current generation consoles. Animations are as wonky as ever, with a lot of uncanny valley motion that just looks weird and a bit unsettling. Blood effects are also laughable at times, with the effects in a few scenes and traps reminiscent of good-ole MS paint. And the voices are also underwhelming almost across the board. Save for the excellent Tobin Bell once again providing the voice of the Jigsaw Killer himself, John Kramer. Bell adds a lot of class and gravitas to the game whenever he appears, as was to be expected.

Controls and battle mechanics if anything take a big step back. I can't help but feel everything is just a bit looser and less refined this time around... which is saying a lot because the controls in the original were abysmal already. It just seemed a lot more easy to mess something up, or accidentally get yourself killed in this one. And the battle mechanics are just laughable, with the clunky combat of the first game seemingly replaced wholly by even clunkier and bizarrely sub-par Quicktime Events. It takes away a lot of the suspense and also creates a much bigger aesthetic barrier between player and game. Heinously bad choice for the combat.

Oh, and I hope you liked the repetitive, incessant and irritating puzzles and mini-games from the original! Because they're back, baby! Tenfold! And they are just as lazy an excuse for padding as they were last time! Maybe even moreso, because we barely get anything new here. At least throw us a bone and give us entirely new mindless mini- games rather than condescendingly tossing in the same crap as before, developers!

Look, this shouldn't be that hard! "Saw" would make for a wonderful gaming experience. But it needs care and time. Not to be quickly thrown together in a desperate attempt at a cash-grab. A "Saw" game should be slow and deliberate... with plenty of puzzle-solving but minimal use of mini-games. Think the apartment level in "Silent Hill 2"... or the terrifying exploration of the mansion in "Fatal Frame." Something slow and mythodical like that, where you're petrified of the atmosphere and the few enemies you run into feel like ordeals. Something where you need to find various objects to solve puzzles and unlock new areas. And the traps could be stand- in's for the boss battles. That's where the mini-games and combat should come in!

But who am I kidding? They're not going to put in any effort, because like most movie-to-game adaptations, they don't care about the quality... only the money.

I give "Saw II: Flesh & Blood" a pretty darned bad 3 out of 10. Just stick with the movies.


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