Did you play through hours and hours and hours of exceedingly difficult boss fights and the lengthy puzzles of Soul Reaver only to practically tear the game apart when met by the least wanted game ending ever... 'To Be Continued?' 'Cos I certainly did. I mean seriously, what game doesn't give you an ending in favour of 'to be continued?!' But good news! It continued! And two years wasn't too much of a wait and it was certainly worth it.
The game picks up exactly where the last game left off. The introductory sequence is the final confrontation from Soul Reaver setting the scene with no interruption at all. You reprise your role as Raziel seeking his nemesis, Kain, across the ravaged land of Nosgoth with the sole intent to destroy him. In Soul Reaver 2 Raziel chases Kain through time, meeting a varied cast of characters trying to discover the truth behind his destiny and finally take his revenge on his former master.
Eidos takes full advantage of the graphics available on the Playstation 2 to present Nosgoth as we have never seen it. Comparatively you see less of the world of Nosgoth than you do in the other Legacy of Kain games thusfar (Blood Omen and Soul Reaver). However in Soul Reaver 2 you experience the location in three different timelines: The corruption of the pillars (slightly before the events of Blood Omen), the wasteland (roughly a hundred years after Kain's refusal at the pillars, some years before he creates Raziel and his brethren) and the age of the Sarafan (Nosgoth's past, during the early vampire purges). Soul Reaver 2 presents the same locations throughout the game but with the effects of three drastically different timelines and the result is visually stunning. As well as this you explore differing environments ranging from temples to swampland to a snow covered village to an underwater citadel. If anything one of the major disadvantages of this game is that the camera angles restrict your views of these stunning landscapes.
=Gameplay and Combat=
Controlling Raziel has not changed much since the last game, indeed he retains all of the abilities gained from defeating his brothers in Soul Reaver. (Possibly even those from the brothers you didn't defeat... ... like anyone bothers with Melchiah on the second play through, cheating is much more fun :P). You still switch between the spectral and physical realms in order to progress and solve puzzles. Weapons can still be taken from your enemies or the walls though as you can expect there is a lot more variety to the available weaponry and each comes with a pleasantly gory killing maneuver. Raziel also seems to have learned a few more hand to hand combatative moves and has distinctive light and heavy attacks for the array of weapons he is able to utilise. Of course all of the weapons are irrelevent when you consider that Raziel wields the Soul Reaver, the most powerful weapon in the game. Except to make sure you cannot rely too much upon this rather mind blowingly powerful sword, it can sap your own health with overuse...which is actually only about four or five swings. This is a bit of a kick in the teeth but a necessary one otherwise you could easily dispatch all of your enemies in a single soul sucking hit.
Impressive is the variety of enemies who come against you. Each timeline sports a different type of enemies. The corruption of the pillars sees you pitted against Moebius' ragtag vampire hunters, the 'future' throws mutants at you while the 'past' matches you against the best of the Sarafan while rather difficult demonic assailants stalk you throughout.
There are however significantly less boss fights than the previous game with the only real bosses appearing at the conclusion of the game.
The puzzles are taken to a new level in this game with the emphasis being on long (very, very long) elemental affinities which you can imbue the Reaver with. While there are some environmental puzzles based around you opening doors using levers and such the like the majority of puzzle take place in environmental temples where you work to gain an element for your Reaver. On the plus side the puzzles are pretty linear and you can't go much wrong with them. On the other hand, dear Lord they're long winded. You can spend upwards of an hour in a single temple, which is just not fun. It's not that it's frustrating either, it is just pure boredom. It really does feel like filler to draw out your time in the various timelines. After the initial tutorial esque level you find the need for the Light Reaver...but to get the Light Reaver you must first obtain the Dark Reaver which involves a trip to two different puzzle buildings, what fun! This is just at the beginning setting the tone for the rest of the game which is frustrating to say the least.
This game is great in terms of graphics, gameplay and storyline. However it does have some major pitfalls. The game is about as linear as you can get, there are virtually no side quests or optional explorations to pursue. Instead the game tells you where to go and you go, solving an excessivly long puzzle or two on the way. This damages the replayability massively and there is little replay value. Frequently I have tried another playthrough but found that once you hit that very first elemental chamber you quickly remember how much time was wasted solving puzzles and promptly turn it off. That said if you are a fan of the series the story will certainly tide you over and the graphics and setting complement it wonderfully. The attention to detail is visible in every location, from the individual stained glass window panes to the crunching sound your feet make when you run through fresh snow (it's the best sound ever!). Also the ending, while another open ended cliff hanger of sorts is nonetheless much better than a 'to be continued' and unlocks you bonus features including some hilarious outtakes from the very funny voice actors.
So...while Soul Reaver 2 is a very good game you may find it better to play once, youtube the scenes when you feel like it and just go play Defiance instead.
The story is set several thousand years after the playstation adventure game, Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain. The first Soul Reaver put you in control of Raziel, a lieutenant in the vampire army that is lead by none other than Kain himself. When Kain sees that Raziel has gotten his wings before he has, he rips off his wings and throws him into the abyss where Kain figured Raziel would never come back from, boy was he wrong. Raziel awoke many years where he now has to survive on souls instead of human blood. The Elder God, who says that he resurrected Raziel, commands Raziel to go and kill his former master and bring some order to the world. Now the story continues after the ridiculous ending where Kain has just barely escaped with his life by entering a time stream that takes them far into the past. Now you must follow Kain throughout the ancient world of Nosgoth trying to catch him and tie up all the loose ends left from it's predessor. There are also many plotlines thrown in from the original Blood Omen game which can make everything very confusing. The gameplay pretty much copies from the other Eidos hit, Tomb Raider. You can climb, jump, and fight your way throughout the game with no problems. But Soul Reaver 2 has a lot of interesting elements that make it ten times better than the Tomb Raider games. Raziel has tons more abilities, he can glide from place to place, when he gets into a jam he can climb up walls with his claws. He can also shift between the material realm and the spectral realm, where all the environments change and can make for a lot of interesting ways to find your way through the puzzles. They have gotten rid of most of those stupid block puzzles and replaced them with puzzles that utilize the Soul Reaver. The fighting system in Soul Reaver 2 is a lot like the first one except you have the Soul Reaver sword throughout the entire game but while you have it on it slowly drains your energy away so you have to use it sp
aringly. Now the element system comes into play where you can put the Soul Reaver into a spectral forge and transform it into four different elements. You can also fight with a multitude of weapons where you can bludgeon your opponent to death then do a finishing blow with the weapon, like taking the axe and chopping the enemies head off. The graphics in Soul Reaver 2 are awesome. The graphics have not really improved that much over the dreamcast original but once you get further into the game you will notice that they have incorporated way better architectual designs. The characters themselves look very smooth and highly detailed. The game runs at a constant framerate of 60 fps and the water and lighting effects are unbelievable and some of the best yet on the playstation 2. The story sequences are brought to life threw in-game cutscenes and FMV, the in-game cutscenes are fantastic but don't really compare to the sheer beauty of the FMVs. The music for Soul Reaver 2 is fantastic and is on par with high budget motion picture soundtracks. The voice acting is probably the best I have heard, besides the Metal Gear Solid games, and the voice actors deserve a lot of credit for bringing these characters to life through their voices. The sound effects are on par with the rest of the sound and make the environments come to life. Soul Reaver 2 is shorter than the previous one but it makes up for it in having a overall better package.
The demo of Soul Reaver 2 is looking good but playing poorly. The combat feels clunky, actually a step backwards from the relatively fluid two button system used in the first game. The camera is fairly dumb, & sits too far away from Raziel to show off the gorgeous character design so distinctive to this series. On the graphics side, the level featured in the demo glowed with beautiful lighting techniques but lacked the gothic style of the ruins & cliffs of Soul Reaver 1. I am a fan of the series, hooked like many others by the inspired storyline & excellent characters. Because of this I will tolerate a lot, but I feel that being repeatedly bitch slapped by lowly vampire underlings while Raziel flails pathetically in the wrong direction could be a bit too much for some players. Here's hoping that Crystal Dynamics iron out the gameplay problems & don't bring us yet another rushed, 7/10 Playstation 2 game.
Now soul reaver on the PSX was an excellent game, it challenged the maight of Tomb Raider for best 3D platform.adventure game. It had gore, it had amzing graphics, amazingly spooky and spine chilling sound and music and guess what, its happened again. This time around everything is better though, the graphics are excellent, i could personnaly spend days looking at some of the games beutiful scenery and architecture because they are that good. The gore, well for you gore fans, its got better theres nore of it this time, and monster can be rippied in half, scewered and allsorts, It really is great, and as usuall the game boast some great sound effects and music, making the game really spooky and atmospheric. Now i have only played a demo of this game as the full PAL version isn't out YET (watch this space), and just by playing that i can tell this is a must have title if you liked the first one. At first you will just think, its the same but with better graphics and so on. Well yeah so it kinda is, hey why mess with a winning formula, but there are a few nice new touches. Like for example the enemies are alot mor intelligent, you can't just go in with all claws flying oh no you will have to dodge, sometime duck maybe even jump from time time. This may not seem like much but it makes the fights more interesting and rewarding i fell and make the game that small bit more difficult. Also in this game there are 3 versions of the excellent soul reaver, a mighty weapon Raziel picks up in this first game, this time you can stick it into some strange flame/light/candley thingy, there are 2 types, a light one and a dark one. This gives the soul reaver different abilities and make puzzles more complex and gives them extra puzzles within them, for example certain doors can only be opened with the light reaver. This can be boring having to do it all the time but really just gives the puzzles a new edge and increases the games length. I can't
really say much more, but as soon as i get my hands on the full game i will fill you in with what you want and need to know. (WATCH THIS SPACE)
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Taking the basic idea from Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain and running with it, last year's Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver was a five-senses assault on gaming. Bloodsucking vampires, a world in tatters, and a character in torment were just the tip of a ten-ton gaming iceberg. However, despite its 3D glory, wonderful plot, and excellent character design, something was missing - an ending! You see, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver was in development so long that the final level and a few key plot points met with the ax. These alterations didn't hurt the game per se, but seeing Raziel and Kain slip into a time vortex subtitled by the phrase "to be continued" was inelegant enough to dismay more than a few gamers. Fret not, as Crystal Dynamics will soon be back with a sequel, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2. Thankfully, contrary to most people's fears, the game isn't only going to be a way to tie up loose ends from the first Soul Reaver. This time around, Soul Reaver 2 will take you on a journey through three key time periods in the Kain universe. In the first portion of the game, you'll encounter budding vampires and a prehistory Nasgoth that's unsullied by tyranny or waste. As you progress, you'll find yourself experiencing the key moments that came to pass in Blood Omen, most notably Kain's fall from grace. The latter time period takes place between the first two Legacy of Kain titles, giving you a chance to save Nasgoth from the clutches of the savior turned dictator, Kain. Of course, making things interesting, you're still going to find yourself greatly outnumbered, as the poor, unsuspecting citizens of Nasgoth won't exactly embrace your mission with open arms. Furthermore, you'll have two Kains to contend with, one the uberdemon from the second game, and the other who is mere footsteps away from beginning his reign of terror. While Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2 takes place where the original left off, replete wi
th Raziel's earned assortment of weapons and spells, this new game will put forth a variety of new challenges. For example, the Reaver isn't just going to be a tool for killing. By seeking out Reaver pools, you can use the Reaver to gain access to a variety of new powers, such as grappling, invisibility, and illumination. In all, there will be nearly 40 skills you can gain via the Reaver, allowing you to constantly re-explore new areas and rooms within each of the game's main locations. Thankfully, unlike the previous Soul Reaver, which required a collection of glyphs to open doors, this next incarnation merely asks that you learn a specific spell to reach an area's exit. In short, everything you acquire and do in this game will have a use, and you won't find yourself searching in vain for items you'll never reuse. Furthermore, unlike the first Soul Reaver's simplistic kill-and-finish gameplay, the sequel will require a more intelligent approach to destroying your enemies. Want to impale a skeletal vampire or decapitate an elemental? Good luck. Each enemy will require just the right finishing move to vanquish, lest you find yourself on the receiving end of one peeved, headless vampire. The first Soul Reaver was a game deep in planning and short on development time. Crystal Dynamics isn't out to re-create a similar situation this time around. With most of the same team returning, CD's goal is to once and for all tie Raziel and Kain's histories together, while firmly tying Blood Omen and Soul Reaver into a cohesive story. Highlighting this attention to spit and polish, the team has made one important decision already. Originally intended for a PlayStation release in addition to its next-generation counterparts, the game is now slated for only two platforms: Dreamcast and PlayStation 2. With this reaffirmed focus comes another important change: increased visual quality. The polygon and texture counts for both titles are
going up, way up. When all is said and done, expect Raziel, Kain, Vorador, and Turel to ooze with 2,000-plus polygon splendor. If your idea of ambience is Gothic cathedrals, spooky lighting, and bad mamma jamma vampires, Soul Reaver 2 may just burn a hole in your shorts that would make Howard Stern envious. Forget cliffhangers, Kain's Legacy ends March 2001. At least, until the next sequel, that is.
An adventure game developed by Crystal Dynamics and published by Eidos Interactive. Raziel returns yet again to uncover the mysteries behind the world of Nosgoth and his nemesis Kain. Taking place before the time of the original Soul Reaver Eidos' sequel answers a lot of questions as it takes players on another gothic journey.