Saw II: Flesh & Blood review
There weren’t many movies that were more visceral than the original Saw back in 2004. It was smart, it was grim and it most definitely was terrifying. It’s too bad that Konami has yet to figure out how replicate the success of the popular film franchise within the video game medium as Saw II: Flesh & Blood is an atrocious game that does so little right.
Rather than honoring the idea behind the original Saw, Flesh & Blood is a pitiful cash-in attempt to make a quick buck. As expected, it revolves around puzzles that put into question the morality of the main character. Unfortunately for the sake of the player, the puzzles are nothing to write home about and there’s little to no combat whatsoever to maintain excitement.
Caught in a maze of sorts that’s within the confines of several buildings by the mastermind serial killer Jigsaw, Flesh & Blood never moves beyond the standard conventions of lever pulls, button presses or finding hidden walls. Within the maze are deathtraps that are meant to deliver the killing blow, so it’s up to the player to overcome the odds and escape the perils that is set before them. Many of these traps are easy to figure out, so players wanting a true challenge will want to look elsewhere. Although, halfway through the title, the puzzles do ramp up in difficulty, but never to the level that will keep players guessing hours on end.
While it is somewhat unfair to compare the video games to the first film due to the medium differences, it’s rather disappointing to set the two side-by-side and notice the lack of enticing moments within the video game that keep the player on edge. There was never a time where the unexpected happen. For the most part, it was one clichéd pratfall after another that was neither torture porn nor creepy. The only clever contraption within Flesh & Blood happened to be the mechanics to unlocking padlocks that puts the player in the first-person view of the key. Even then, some may find the lock-picking unnecessary, so it’s ultimately a matter of taste.
Relying on short quick-time events, simplified combat that is rare, and lacking any sort of innovation to push the survival-horror genre forward, Flesh & Blood is a bare-bones title. While it didn’t essentially need innovation to be a fine game, it was at least expected that it would create compelling scenarios for bloodthirsty fans. Sadly, Flesh & Blood never delivers upon the promise of stimulating traps or exhilarating deaths. After the first hour of play, it became increasingly apparent that I could sense the upcoming traps and the deaths that could potentially follow.
Saw II: Flesh & Blood provides a short campaign, answers a few canonical questions, contains less aggravating tripwires than those that plagued the original and delivers a handful of puzzles that may be of interest to diehard fans. Outside of those few positives, it’s a lesson on how not to use a movie license within the video game industry.
[Reviewed on PS3]