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Saw II: Flesh & Blood

Saw II: Flesh & Blood

Saw II: Flesh & Blood

Saw II: Flesh & Blood is a 2010 third person survival horror video game developed by Zombie Studios and published by Konami for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It is the sequel to 2009's Saw: The Video Game, both of which are set in the same fictional universe as the Saw films. It was released on October 19, 2010 to coincide with the release of the seventh film, Saw 3D, a week later.

Saw II 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. The game expands technically on the previous game, also using the Unreal Engine 3. Gameplay improvements include the ability to use the environment to combat enemies and redone combat system based on quick timing and defensive techniques.

Upon release, Flesh & Blood received mixed to negative reviews, lower than the reception for the first Saw game. Critics noted an improved story but disliked the new combat system, which they felt took the excitement and suspense out of the game.

Saw II: Flesh & Blood Plot

The first part of the game involves Campbell, a drug addict placed in the "Venus Fly Trap" who has to cut beneath his right eye to retrieve a key to stop the deadly mechanism. He then has to go through numerous, deadly traps in order to retrieve his long lost son, who is also a drug addict. Before finding his son, the player is forced to choose either sacrificing Campbell for the sake of a stranger, or saving himself.

After Campbell's sections, the game then cuts to Michael Tapp at his father's apartment after his suicide. He sees Chief of Police Henry Jacobs, a detective named Joseph, and David Tapp's reclusive neighbor Sarah. Michael also sees Jennings Foster, a forensics specialist who was a survivor of the first Saw game. Michael is then kidnapped by Pighead and forced to play Jigsaw's game in order to investigate his father's death. The first victim Michael must save is Sarah Blalock, who he met earlier but turns out to be a drug addict being drowned in a glass case. Upon being freed, Sarah flees and Tapp goes to a hotel to save his next victim. In the hotel, Michael finds Chief of Police Henry Jacobs in a trap because of being corrupt and selling drugs on the streets.

Upon being saved, Henry pretends to be grateful but later meets up with another corrupt policeman, Joseph Poltzer, who together decide to kill Michael because he learned about their drug smuggling operation. Before Joseph can confront Michael, however, he is kidnapped by Pighead and is forced into a vise-trap which Michael must save him from. Joseph leaves the player and Michael is led to a factory, where the next victim is. In the factory, Henry attacks Michael to silence him but Michael escapes. He next saves Carla Song, a hospital intern from the first Saw film, from an elevator trap which would rip her in half. It is revealed she was smuggling drugs from the hospital to sell illegally. Michael's last victim is Solomon Bates, the third partner of John Kramer (Jigsaw) and Art Blank. Bates altered finances and forged books to cover for a larger group of criminals. Upon being saved by Michael, Bates reveals that Henry Jacobs, Joseph Poltzer, Sarah Blalock, Carla Song, and himself were all part of a large drug operation. It was also revealed that David Tapp, Michael's father, discovered this operation while chasing Jigsaw but was more interested in pursuing him rather than corrupt cops. Michael also admits to stealing his father's files on Jigsaw, and using the files to advance his reporting career. The files, in which Tapp admitted that his raid on Jigsaw's lair was without a warrant, was used as grounds by the corrupt Henry Jacobs to fire Tapp to coverup his drug ring.

Along the way, Carla is murdered by Henry to eliminate loose ends, while Henry is later killed by Pighead while Michael witnesses. Solomon is pushed into a pit of needles by Pighead and never seen again. Joseph also kills Sarah in a train station, but is later killed himself by Michael. After killing Joseph, Michael sees and chases Jigsaw to a room where it is revealed that Campbell, the man from the beginning, has chosen Michael's fate by either sacrificing or saving himself.

Saw II: Flesh & Blood Gameplay

Saw II retains the same gameplay style as the first game, being primarily a third-person survival horror game with action elements. Puzzles of the original game return; such as the "circuit puzzles"; though instead of matching them with the same color, the player needs to match wires of opposite color (red to yellow and vice-versa). Lockpicking returns, but uses a new minigame that has the player manipulate the tumblers to unlock. Environmental puzzles are also presented in a new way, such as having to turn a flashlight on-and-off in certain areas to show certain clues. Quick-time traps are back; in addition to shotguns being placed behind doors, swinging scythes, closing walls, and loose floorboards are placed throughout certain environments for the player to avoid by pressing a button in a timely fashion.

For the sequel, the entire combat system was reworked from the original game. There are two types of combat: melee and puzzle-based. Puzzle-based combat encourages the player to use traps or the environment to execute enemies such as opening an elevator shaft as an enemy charges into it to kill them. The other type, melee combat, consists of the player using weapons or their hands and feet to neutralize an enemy. The basis of the combat will be on quick maneuvers and defensive reactions to defend the player from aggressive enemies. Timing is also essential to fighting and neutralizing enemies.

The "Case Files" from the first game return. The subject of the files are varied but some focus on Tapp's testimonies on his raid of Jigsaw's lair and his entrapment in Whitehurst Asylum. A new collectible scattered throughout the game are small Billy the Puppet dolls that can be found, though are not required. Players are able to solve more difficult puzzles in hard to reach areas to obtain the dolls. Multiple endings return, but this time around players must complete the game again in its entirety to unlock a different ending due to the decisions made during the game that affect the ending.

Reception
Upon release, Flesh & Blood received mixed to negative reviews from critics. The Xbox 360 version of the game currently holds a 47/100 on Metacritic, while the PlayStation 3 version has a 45/100, both indicating "Generally unfavorable reviews". These are lesser scores than the original Saw game, which earned a 59 for both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions, indicating "Generally mixed reviews". On Game Rankings, another aggregate site. Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions hold a 52.11 percent based on 27 reviews and a 48.11 percent based on 19 reviews, respectively.

Game Informer gave the game a 4.5 out of 10 saying "The game not only failed to polish the concepts of the original and not only took a step back from its predecessor, it took a swan dive into a pool filled with razor blades." Anthony Gallegos of IGN gave the game a very negative review. Reviewer felt the new combat system was actually worse than its predecessors. He reasoned the quick-time events rob the game of any suspense and disrupt the horror atmosphere, which he also criticized separately. Gallegos felt the game was poorly designed and disliked the difficult puzzles, which led to a very low score of 4.5 out of 10.

However, there were a few comparably positive reviews. Matthew Castle GamesRadar gave the game a 7 out of 10. In his review he praised the improved combat and elaborate set-pieces, as well as the puzzles, comparing them to the "Riddler's Challenges" in Batman: Arkham Asylum. His only negative remarks were poor checkpoint locations and subpar graphics.


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