Oh dear. Whilst the first Saw game was broken, cheaply made, rough around every single edge and hamstrung by poor design and bad implementation, it did manage to convey the grim atmosphere of the films and captured at least an element of the sweaty palmed tension that the films do so well.
So you'd think the sequel could at least build on that and improve with no real effort? Wrong. First up, one of the most baffling design decisions I've come across. In the first Saw you could pick up various items of weaponry and use them to stove in heads of the crazy victims out to kill you in Jigsaws twisted game - in Saw 2? Well this has been reduced to the most basic QTE button pressing dullness. You can't switch between weapons, you can't choose your tactics, you can't dodge or decide when to swing your axe - no, what you can do when an enemy shambles into view is press X to initiate the fight cutscene and then press A, B, X or Y when prompted to hit them in an entirely prescribed manner. Its pathetic. The combat in the first game was broken and rubbish, but it was better than this.
So as combat has been completely ruined we're left with the puzzles and atmosphere to carry things through. And again, its mostly a bit of a mis step. Puzzles follow the same formula as the first game, in many cases identical to Saw 1. Switch puzzles, gear puzzles, rack pulling puzzles. The new lock picking 'mini game' is an oft repeated chore and completely bizarre. And as the combat is essentially reduced to a mini game, theres little to do other than stalk the grubby environments pressing buttons when prompted and dying and reloading when the game unfairly kills you off.
And die you will, many times. Insta kill events lurk around every corner and if you're not swift enough with your button presses you'll find yourself staring at the unacceptably lengthy loading screen more often than you can stand. And upon reload you'll get to enjoy first hand the dismal checkpointing which resurrects you way back from where you were, back behind multiple locked doors or rotated switches, requiring you to trawl through all over again and more often than not die again at the same place. Rinse and repeat.
Collectables can be found throughout, the problem is once collected, they don't stay collected. Trawl through some optional puzzles or areas to get a Billy doll or a bit of jigsaw and should you die before checkpointing you'll have to do it all again if you want to keep on the path to your achievements.
Technically as with the first game its all fairly basic and broken. Again the torch theoreticaly casts real time shadows, always a lovely effect in any game - except when its inconsitently applied. This box casts a shadow, that one doesn't. This entire room is devoid of shadowing, this one has it all. Its poor and lazy.
Ultimately the atmosphere is again quite nicely portrayed if you like grim drippy warehouses and derelict hotels. Furniture and environments do suffer from repeated use, but its not a bad effort 0 but again, barely a step up from Saw 1.
A real shame as theres the ghost of a good game here, but whoever designed and playtested this needs a good kicking and development duties need handing over to a competant developer.