Saw II: Flesh and Blood
Review: Saw II: Flesh and Blood for Xbox 360 and PS3 features victim-rescuing puzzles but lacks in combat
- Complemented by atmosphere-amping environmental touches, victim-rescuing puzzles capture the morbid appeal of the franchise
- Barely-there combat, repetitive puzzling and false play-extending filler doom this one to the bargain bin.
The Saw series' latest "torture porn" romp shows some promise, but ultimately does little to evolve the franchise past last year's lacklustre entry.
Price$ 99.95 (AUD)
Rescued by Konami from failed licensed game publishing house Brash Entertainment, the original Saw, based on the "torture porn" horror film franchise of the same name, was released last year to lukewarm reviews. Its recently released sequel, Saw II: Flesh and Blood, shows promise, but ultimately seems doomed to suffer the same fate. It's not a bad game -- especially for a budget title slapped together in less than a year -- but it doesn't do nearly enough to evolve or refine the ideas introduced by its mediocre predecessor.
Saw II's set-up should be instantly familiar to fans of the annually released fright-fest: Dropped in an elaborate maze of traps and puzzles masterminded by spooky series' antagonist Jigsaw, you're tasked with saving your ass from a gory end. Specifically, Saw II takes place between the first and second films, and puts you in the unlucky shoes of the original film's Danny Glover-played protagonist's son. While familiar, the appropriately creepy warehouse setting certainly sells the scares; messages scrawled in blood, old machinery that looks more monstrous than mechanical, moody lighting, and an overall dilapidated presentation do a decent job of snapping your neck hairs to attention. Additionally, the sequel borrows the original's behind-closed-doors surprises, making every doorknob twist like a Russian roulette spin. Simply passing from one room to another can never be taken for granted, as shotguns and explosive trip wires threaten to redecorate the environments with your entrails.
While used a bit too liberally, these tricks manage to keep you on edge, wondering what lies beyond each entry and exit. Sadly, the sequel takes away the first title's ability to use these booby-traps against your adversaries. This table-turning mechanic was one of Saw's cooler defensive tactics, so it's surprising they excised it from the sequel. Saw II also waters down the melee combat significantly. The first game's hand-to-hand encounters were unintuitive and repetitive, but rather than addressing these issues, the sequel simply slaps a Band-Aid over them. The half-assed fix comes in the form of quick-time events, requiring players to thwart rampaging crazies with a few button inputs. I'm not sure this is any worse than the last game's clunky combat, but it's certainly not an evolution, either.
While the occasional death trap and psychopath will chill -- or maybe just mildly cool -- your spine, Saw II's puzzles are much better at fueling the frights. Many are of the simple fuse box fixing, lock picking, and wire matching variety, but still offer an engaging challenge, especially when failure brings instant death. But it's the set piece-driven brain-benders that really tweak your nerves; usually involving the rescue of some poor sap from an intricate death-dealing device, these macabre puzzles truly capture the films' morbid style, while providing authentic heart-in-chest moments. The puzzles themselves aren't any more creative than the ones thrown at you throughout the campaign, but the stakes are driven significantly higher by the presence of terrified victims. Just try and keep your cool when one wrong move could trigger a reverse bear trap around some sobbing woman's head. It's one thing when your own re-spawnable life is on the line, but when you're staring at a man who's eyes are about to be ejected from his skull by a crushing vice grip, it's another story.
When forcing you into these incomprehensible situations, Saw II shows its true potential. These terror-ratcheting rescues make you feel helpless, demanding that you switch on your survival instincts before faced with a gore-drenched outcome. They also capitalise on the films' core concept of teasing our most morbid curiosities. Unfortunately, when Saw II isn't putting someone else's fate in your hands, its limping along on half-hearted scares, shoehorned combat, and tired survival horror tropes. If next year's inevitable follow-up can more effectively leverage the series' strengths while excising all the fright-light filler, I'll happily schedule another date with Jigsaw.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 2 Sony's latest Ultra HD OLED debuts in Australia
- 3 Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- 4 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
- 5 Oppo A77 smartphone: Full in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Robot House announce vacuum-bot adventure game ahead of PAX Australia
- Wargaming launches ANZ servers for World of Tanks
- VR fairytale game Luna due for Oct 17 release
- Event schedule announced for PAX Aus 2017
- Hand of Fate 2 set for Nov. 7 launch, will support 4K HD on Xbox
PCW Evaluation Team
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.
- iPhone 8
- Canon 6D MK II: Full, in-depth review
- Panasonic’s EX600U UHD HDR TV + HTB688 soundbar:
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTLead PHP DeveloperNSW
- FTSenior Change AnalystVIC
- CCProject Support AnalystVIC
- TPSoftware Implementation Project Manager.NSW
- CCTechnologyOne Systems AdministratorQLD
- CCEnterprise Architect / Network & InfrastructureNSW
- CCEnterprise Architect ? Network & InfrastructureNSW
- CCMiddleware SpecialistNSW
- FTSenior Systems Engineer, Wintel, VMWareOther
- CCWintel Engineer - BrisbaneVIC
- FTSenior Software EngineerNSW
- FTDigital Copywriter/ Content ProducerOther
- CCMessageQueue/DataPower AdministratorACT
- FTTest Lead - Automation (energy and metering sector)Other
- FTBusiness Project ManagerOther
- FTInfrastructure Project ManagerOther
- CCSharepoint DeveloperWA
- FTDevOps ConsultantVIC
- CCDigital Reporting AnalystNSW
- CCProject CoordinatorVIC
- CCBusiness Analyst - Multiple RolesACT
- CCService Desk AnalystACT
- FT.Net - Sitecore DeveloperQLD
- CCInfrastructure Solution ArchitectNSW
- TPTechnical Business AnalystQLD