Review by Daddy-O
Reviewed: 11/01/99 | Updated: 07/05/02
A dark twisted adventure in the land of Nosgoth
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver takes place a millenium after it's predoccesor Blood Omen. The story starts off assuming Kain chose to take over and rule Nosgoth at the end of blood omen. He slowly builds his empire destroying most of the humans that inhabit it, leaving only vampires. To help him rule over the territory he appoints 6 leutenants, each having there own clan of vampires. Raziel was one of them.
As time passed the vampires started to evolve. Kain would always be the first and then one of his leutenants would follow. But one day Raziel had grown wings before his master. Infuriated Kain rips off his wings and throws him into an abyss. Raziel is put through an insurmountable amount of pain and torture as he slowly falls to the bottom of the obyss. His body slowly starts to crumble and he is left at the bottom. Centuries Pass.
Raziel finally gets awakened and is left in the Spectral Plane, the world of the dead. In the spectral plane time stands still and nothing can be moved. This is where he hears the voice of the elder. He tells raziel to stalk the material plane, the world of the leaving, and defeat his breatheren. After this his done he can have his chance of Vengeance against his former master, Kain.
This is where your journey starts.
Soul Reaver is much differant then its predeccesor Blood Omen. Instead of a top down 2-D game it is a 3-D 3rd Person adventure. You control Raziel in two differant worlds, The Spectral Plane and The Material Plane. In the Spectral Plane time is nothing and nothing can be moved or changed. This is raziels world, the world of the dead. The Material plane on the other hand is the land of the living. This is where you can interact with the differant objects in the world. Most of the game takes place in the material plane.
Since Raziel isnt a vampire any more he does not need to feed on blood like a vampire would. Instead he needs to feed on souls, when he does so his life meter fills up, to move from the Spectral to the Material plane you will need a full life meter. Once in the material plane your life meter will slowly degenerate requiring you too feed on souls regularly. If your life meter runs out you are taken back to the Spectral plane. You can switch back from the material plane to the spectral plane at the press of a button, but to switch from the spectral to the material you will have to have a full life meter and a warp to the material world. It all sounds confusing at first, but the idea of the two planes is so brilliant, its worth the confusion.
The main gameplay is a mix of Action and Puzzles. The fighting is done through a zelda esque targeting system. Once an enemy is targeted you can side step to avoid the enemy. Untill you aquire the soul reaver you will find plenty of weapons lying around Nosgoth, from tourches to big stakes. You can kill a vampire in differant ways. You can throw them in water, burn em, throw em in light, or stap em through the heart. Then there is the Soul Reaver. This legendary weapon is round later in the game and is the only weapon that can be taken to the spectral plane. It becomes active when you have a full life meter, when your in the spectral plane your life no longer degenerates, the soul reaver takes that damage, but once hit by an enemy the soul reaver is deactivated. The combat in this game is incredibly fun, and the soul reaver is a great touch too.
The puzzle side of things also represent Legend of Zelda. You mainly move a bunch of blocks. But Raziel has the ability to flip over block and pile blocks on top of each other. The range of puzzles is great and the range of difficult very's too. They never get too hard where you wanna throw your controller down but they can get pretty tricky. Warpin from the Material Plane to the Spectral plane is also a way to solve puzzles. This opens up a wide variety of fun and clever puzzles.
The Graphics are top notch. All the levels are huge and they come with absolutely no loading times at all! The character models are incredible. Ranging from the horrid look of Raziel, to the even creepeir boss models. These are probably the coolest characters in any game to date. The lighting effects in Soul Reaver are amazing and the textures are pretty good too. All in all soul reaver really delivers on the graphics side of things, pushing the playstations powers to the max.
The sound is phenominal. Im glad to say that many of the voices are the same from the original which is a very good thing. All the actors do an incredibly good job and really give you a sense of emotion. The sound effects are crisp and clear and they blend in with the music perfectly making the game as good to hear as it is to look at and play.
So are there any flaws. Yes there are. The camera for one thing can get a little bit shaky. Although it is better then most games it can still give you a raging headache especially near corners. Also the game can sometimes feel like there is no sense of direction because there is nobody holding your hand through out most of the game. Sometimes people like this but others dont.
All in all Kain is an incredible adventure. I recommend this to any one looking for a big huge game. Kain is a barrel of fun and then some.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
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