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 PC World newsletter!
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Acer Swift 7
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Google Daydream VR headset
Huawei Mate 9
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Lexar® Portable SSD
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Surface Pro 4
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- 2 ZTE Axon 7 review: Is ZTE dumping old stock on Australia?
- 3 Oppo R9s smartphone full review
- 4 Huawei Nova Plus smartphone review
- 5 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
Latest News Articles
- You can download Nintendo's Fire Emblem Heroes for iOS and Android today
- Nintendo's Fire Emblem Heroes looks sharp, but will it survive the freemium transition?
- Nintendo's bringing Super Mario Run to Android in March, but Fire Emblem's coming first
- The Switch is a mix of Nintendo's past consoles
- Dead Rising 4 impressions: 'Tis the season to BBQ zombies with your flaming sword
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- Time to ditch Foxtel and the iQ3: How to replace Foxtel packages with cheaper alternatives
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- TPInfrastructure Project ManagerNSW
- CCIT Procurement OfficerNSW
- CCNetwork Engineer/ Network AdministratorQLD
- FTWeb Developer / Applications AnalystQLD
- CCFront-End DeveloperQLD
- CCSAP ISU Device Management ConsultantNSW
- CCIT Senior Business AnalystNSW
- FTTechnical Consultant - SQL Server programming skillsACT
- FTSenior Network AdministratorNSW
- TPIT Project CoordinatorVIC
- FTApplications DeveloperACT
- CCTechnical Consultant - ITSM/HP Service ManagerVIC
- CCMDM Consultant/DesignerVIC
- CCTechnical Consultant - ITSM/HP Service ManagerQLD
- CCData Engineer (SQL/Big Data/Scala)VIC
- CCFront End DeveloperNSW
- FTData Conversion LeadNSW
- TPOracle Consultant - CC&BQLD
- FTLevel 3 EngineerNSW
- CCSenior Mobile Application DeveloperNSW
- TPBI Commercial AnalystVIC
- FTService Desk Analyst / Security EngineerQLD
- CCADABAS Natural DeveloperNSW
- CCDevOps/Senior Sys Admin - eCommerce - Contract - Sydney Northern BeachesNSW
- TPBusiness Analyst - PeopleSoft HR/Payroll ProjectVIC