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Saw II: Flesh & Blood is a third person survival horror game and the first video game set in the Saw franchise. It was developed by Zombie Studios and published by Konami. The game launched on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It was released on October 19, 2010 to coincide with the release of the seventh film, Saw 3D. Being a tie-in game of the film series, the game is set between Saw and Saw II.

Plot

The first part of the game revolves around Campbell Iman, a drug addict, who wakes up in one of the traps of John Kramer, better known as the Jigsaw Killer. He 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 find out the truth about his estranged son, who is also a drug addict. However, before Campbell finds his son, he has to face another test, where he has to choose to either fight for his life or to sacrifice himself for the life of a stranger, who is about the same age as his son.

Following the first section of the game, the players take over the role of Michael Tapp, the son of David Tapp, who committed suicide in his apartment after the events of the first video game. There, he comes across the Chief of Police, Henry Jacobs, and a vice detective, Joseph Poltzer, who investigate the scene, and also briefly meets one of his father's neighbors, Sarah Blalok. As he leaves the building to have a smoke, he is abducted by a pig-masked man, who injects him with an anesthetic and takes him to the abandoned Holmes Hotel, where he has to play one of Jigsaw's games in order to find out the truth about his father's death. Thereby, he has to save numerous other victims trapped along his way. Most of them are criminals who were previously arrested by David Tapp.

The first one is Griff, a college student who was arrested by Michael's father after raping his professor. Michael continues his way and thereby rescues the next prisoner, a pedophile named Zeke. Immediately afterwards, Michael finds Henry Jacobs in a trap and learns that he was in fact a drug trafficker. Upon being saved by Michael, Henry pretends to be grateful, but later meets up with his accomplice, Joseph Poltzer, who has been abducted as well, and orders him to kill Michael as he was afraid that he might find out too much about their drug cartel.

As he continues his way, Michael comes across Sarah Blalock, who is a drug addict and has been trapped inside a glass tank, which quickly fills with water. Michael saves her from drowning, but is abandoned by her as she blames him for ruining his father's life. Michael follows her and thereby escapes the hotel, only to find himself inside an abandoned chemical plant.

The next victim Michael has to save is Joseph Poltzer, who has been put in a trap during his pursuit of Michael. Despite Michael's knowledge that Joseph had planned to kill him, he saves him from the trap, but is abandoned by him as well.

Afterwards, Michael further proceeds through the chemical plant and soon finds out about another victim. Carla Song, a doctor who stole pharmaceuticals from her clinic to sell them on the street, is strapped to an elevator, which would tear her in half if Michael doesn't manage to save her. Eventually, he successfully accomplishes this task as well and goes on to find the last victim of his test.

Solomon Bates, a criminal accountant that Michael had already encountered at the beginning of his test, is trapped in the furnace room of the plant. Upon being saved by Michael, he, along with Henry Jacobs, Joseph Poltzer, Sarah Blalok and Carla Song, are all part of a drug cartel. While investigating the Jigsaw Case, Michael's father found out about the cartel, but was more interested in pursuing the killer rather than arresting the corrupt cops. Michael admits that he had stolen his father's files about Jigsaw and published them in a newspaper article in order to push his career and get revenge on his father for being abandoned by him as a child. This article was also the reason why Henry Jacobs discharged Michael's father from the Metropolitan Police Department in order to cover up his drug ring.

While Michael proceeds through the building, he witnesses the death of Carla and Sarah, who are killed by Henry and Poltzer in order to tie up loose ends. Henry, however, is later killed by Pighead. During a final encounter between Michael and Joseph, the latter is killed with his own gun. After defeating him, Michael goes on to the last part of his game and finds himself in the same room as Campbell Iman. Depending on the player's decision at the start of the game, there are two different outcomes to the story.

If the player saved Campbell, he survives the final test, while Michael is crushed to death by the surrounding walls, which close in on him. Jigsaw then confronts Campbell and says he is now free and can find his son. Campbell, however, attacks Jigsaw, stating that his son can never live properly in a world with people like him. Jigsaw evades his attack, causing Campbell to be killed by a falling scythe. Afterwards, Jigsaw ends his game with the words "Game Over."

If the player sacrifice Campbell, Michael survives the final test and is taken to another room. A video tape left for him claims that he and Jigsaw are similar and both desire to bring justice to a world of criminals. Michael then faces two doors. One leads Michael to freedom and gives him the chance to use the evidence found by his father to print the story of Jigsaw and the drug cartel. The other door reveals a Pighead costume and and offers Michael the chance to help other people by using Jigsaw's methods. The choice made is not revealed to the player.

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. 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.

Development

Following the release of the first Saw: The Video Game, Konami stated intentions to turn the franchise license into their next great survival horror franchise. Relying on visual intensity rather than psychological terror, Konami felt both Saw and their other survival horror franchise, Silent Hill, could survive together without competing. Plans for a sequel were further evident when a cryptic "case file" was placed in the first game and an internet job listing by Zombie Inc. for a focus group was released, both pointing to a possible April announcement of a sequel in Los Angeles via press release.

The game was officially announced at Konami's Gamers Night 2010 by a trailer and details accompanying after. The trailer depicted Jigsaw voicing over an anonymous man in the "Venus Fly Trap" cutting his eye out to retrieve a key before failing and being killed. In the same press event, details followed including the new setting between Saw II and Saw III as well as the basic storyline of David Tapp's son and protagonist Michael investigating his death and encountering Jigsaw along the way. Martin Schneider, European Marketing & PR Director for Konami, stated that "[the] original Saw video game gave horror fans and gamers a new outlet to advance their favorite genre, but left them wanting more. Saw 2 will give it to them, but be careful for what you wish for! Our successful partnership with Lionsgate allows us to advance the survival horror genre, giving players the most intense look into the Saw universe ever."

On May 5 it was confirmed that Saw II would be displayed by Konami at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2010. At E3 2010, Tobin Bell was announced to return to voice the Jigsaw Killer as well as lend his likeness to the game; in addition, the subtitle Flesh & Blood was confirmed. The game was also shown at the San Diego Comic-Con 2010 at the Konami booth. In an interview, producer Jaime Benecia stated that all of the characters and plotlines present in the game had to be approved by Lionsgate to fit the canon of the films.

Reception

Upon release, Flesh & Blood received mixed reviews from critics. It currently holds a 51% in aggregator GameRankings. 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. Game Informer gave the game a 4.5 out of 10 saying "The game failed to polish the concepts of the original." Anthony Gallegos of IGN gave the game a negative review, 4.5 out of 10.

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