Review by DiasMagnus

Reviewed: 04/13/01 | Updated: 04/13/01

This just might get a 2D lover into the 3D genre.

Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver has been highly anticipated for about a year (1998-99, not 2000-2001). When fans saw that the publisher was Eidos, they feared that this would end up as another Tomb Raider clone. However, the fans stayed loyal to Eidos and Crystal Dynamics, and the end result was pleasing. Though I have not really played Blood Omen, the original, I was interested in giving the critically-acclaimed game a try. Being one of my first 3D games, Soul Reaver has found a place in my gaming memory.

Soul Reaver begins with a nicely designed FMV, narrated by the game's prtagonist, Raziel. Raziel is a vampire created by his master Kain (those who have played Blood Omen will remember Kain being the hero). Kain would be the first to evolve, and his servants/sons would evolve soon after. After a millenium of service, Raziel evolves before his master by growing wings. Seeing a sign, Kain breaks the wings and has Raziel casted into the Lake of the Dead. Years (possibly centuries, I'm not sure) pass, and Raziel is awakened by a spirit; with a torn, dried-up body, Raziel seeks revenge on Kain.
The plot is smooth and is hardly confusing. The turn of events is excellent, and Raziel often gives backstory to the places he goes. Definitely the best story for an adventure game.

For a Playstation title, the visuals and interface are amazing. Menus are rare abd easy to use. The framerate is very impressive showing hardly any slowdown. Raziel's character design as well as his enemies' look great though there is not much enemy variety. While it isn't what you would call eye candy today, it is pretty amazing. As for the musical score, this game proves that the composition of the music doesn't matter if it sets the mood. Short yet suspenseful music is found throghout the game. Sound effects are average, but the greatest aspect of the game is the voice acting. For the second time (Blood Omen being the first), American voice actors put emotion into their parts. That is the advantage of American games: No ''hand-me-down'' voices.

The question is, ''Why is Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver so critically-acclaimed?'' Part of it is the voice acting and story. but the main reason is the fun you get out of it. Where should I start? Controlling is very simple for a 3D platforming/adventure game. There are camera buttons, an attack button, a feed button, a jump, and a button for other actions. Moving is fairly simple. but the analog is too quick as the digital is too forced. There are several commands and attack moves to learn, but they come to you easily.

First of all, let me inform you that it is similar to that Lara Croft series that everyone knows about (look at the block puzzles). Unlike the unbearable load times of Blood Omen, Soul Reaver has seamless gameplay. The game takes place in two realms: The material realm is the world as it is while the spectral realm is a warped version of the material realm where time does not exist. Raziel will be constantly shifting back and forth between realms to solve puzzles and overcome obstacles. Fighting is simple; attack, side-step when necessary, attack until enemy is stunned, and use a weapon to kill the enemy. After the enemy is killed, you either suck in his soul for life or let it flow into the spectral realm. There are several weapons in the environment to use including rocks, staves, and bonfires. In each level of the game, you explore your surrondings, fight several enemies. learn some backstory, solve some puzzles, and fight one of your brothers. Speaking of puzzles, most of them ae fairly simple (however, there were a few that drove me crazy, and you will get sick of those constant block puzzles).

After the horrible ending, you may ask, ''Is it worth replaying?'' It depends. If you are going to let the last minutes spoil the game for you, then go away. However, there are several spells (Glyphs) and extras to get. The game is not long, and the backstory is nice to learn . If I bought this game, I would be playng this game over and over and over. So is it worth it? It depends. If you like 3D platform/adventure games, go ahead. The majority of Blood Omen fans will also enjoy. It's only $20; give it a try.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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