Review by KasketDarkfyre

Reviewed: 10/02/02 | Updated: 10/02/02

Raziel know's no bounds.

I have played Soul Reaver for the PSX and on the Dreamcast, and when I saw this game at Electronics Boutique for the PC, I had to pick it up. Being a fan of the Legacy of Kain series, I thought this might be an interesting change of pace, and I was right! Some of the most impressive game play and visuals in a Dreamcast game can be found on this title and with the amount of story and battling that you do throughout, there is nothing like this game on the PC that I have found that can beat this one out!

Taking the role of Raziel, you play as the cast aside lieutenant of Kain, a mythical and evil vampire who rules over the land of Nasgoth. Through several stages of play, you’ll unlock more of a deeper story and traverse through several stages that are both expansive and breath taking in their own right. The story is what really sets this title apart and even though it can be slow to start and finish, the game play could take hours upon hours to finish!

-The Game Play-

As a fan of Tomb Raider and the series, it's hard to come across a game that follows the same elements, but this one does. Wrapping you up in an enveloping storyline of vengeance and pain, revenge and redemption, you'll find yourself loving every moment of the game, just to find out what happens next. The game play is Tomb-raider type, exploring and finding areas, gathering things to further your quest, it will definitely keep you going, and sometimes, it'll make you go out of your mind. Definitely a great combination of both puzzle and platform gaming that requires you to use your head more than your thumbs to complete the game. At some points in the game itself, you’ll find that you need almost precision timing in order to complete and get through the puzzles.

The puzzles is what really sets this title above the Tomb Raider series in the respect that you are no longer looking at just the physical and normal world as you may know it. Now, you’re drifting into the spirit world where items and locations are different in terms of outcroppings are there or locations are open where as in the real world, they aren’t! This adds in for some brain busting situations in which you may come to a dead end, and without really thinking about it, you may wrack your own brain because you can’t figure out how to get past it. In your travels, you’ll face off against some of the most impressively difficult bosses in any game of this type, having to do one action first and then go back and complete a different one just to score one hit. Again, this adds more into the challenge of having to use your head and not just your sword to get through the game!

The control really is Tomb Raider type in which it requires more of a fine touch than it does just blazing through the game. At points, you’ll have to climb, jump and time your actions so that you don’t end up falling to your doom or otherwise and with some of the puzzles, you really have to have dead on accuracy with how you jump and move. The battle system is also a little different in which you aren’t using guns and all of your offensive maneuvers require you to be up close and personal with your enemy! You can do things such as impale your opponents either in the air or against the wall, throw them into sunlight and knock them into the water. All of these actions are leaps and bounds above the Tomb Raider games in the sense that you really have to watch what it is you’re doing and use your surroundings to your advantage!

-The Visuals-

Visually, Soul Reaver is just a stunning PC title with plenty of eye candy to see and watch as you traverse through the realms. No more jagged polygons with your characters, as they look real to life in just about every way, putting bounds ahead of the Blood Omen counterpart. Everything is based with a streamlined look, from Razial's glowing eyes, to the fog effects that are placed for mood lighting. I was impressed with the way everything flowed, the camera angles hold nicely, and even sucking the souls looks realistic enough to be a DVD movie. Nicely done in my opinion with all of the locations and situations that you may run into. Nothing beats playing through the game and impaling your enemies before using your powers to pull down the sheath and open your maw to suck in the fleeting souls to regain your power!

-The Audio-

The sounds are exceptional. I haven't heard a story told, like I have with this one, in a long time. The voice over, with it's high and lows...showing the meaning of revenge and sadness makes it well worth the money you shell out for the game. The music, down to the swing of the staff, or the hum of the blade, all keep a nice pace with the faint beating of the drums, and different music scores for different areas of the game, all rolled nicely together to make an excellent soundtrack. The music alone is worthy of any suspense type game in which it adds in the highs and lows that you could come to expect from an epic title such as this one. With the amount of sound effects and the way that the story is told in a rather reedy voice that is both mysterious and intriguing, most PC RPG owners won’t find another title that unravels a story such as this and in the manner of greatness!

-The Verdict-

Great storyline, great graphics and sound, great everything. It all rolls up to make this a near perfect game and possibly one of the best RPG’s on the PC to date. Weekend warriors shouldn’t even bother to try this one out, as the amount of traveling and exploration that you’ll do will well surpass the three-day limit that most casual gamers seem to have. Anyone who is into the Tomb Raider series will find this to be a rather well done alternative with plenty of violence and story to go along with it!

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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