We test the soul reavin' action Eidos has in store for 2000...
Groveling does work! Case in point: We finally received a copy of an
80-percent complete beta of Eidos' most hotly-anticipated Dreamcast release
to date, Legacy of Kain 2: Soul Reaver last night, and immediately popped
that puppy in! I own the PSX version and played through about a fifth of the
game before I heard it was headed to Dreamcast and decided to wait for the
According to my contact at Eidos, the game conversion is 80-percent
complete. All that remains is for higher-resolution textures to be added to
things like floors, walls, and ceilings, and for higher-res textures to be
added to most of the enemies in the game, and the work will be complete.
Props go out to the Eidos/DC conversion team for making such short work of
Raziel, however, is in full high-res texture mode and looks better than
ever. Gone is the graininess that seeped through the PSX version; everything
that has been updated so far looks very sharp and crisp compared to the PSX
version. Even the opening movie sequence, which had some video and sound
clipping problems on the slower-spinning PSX, looks better here. Running at
twice the speed (60 frames per second) of its PSX predecessor, the opening
movie is near-broadcast quality and runs smoothly from beginning to end.
Gamers frustrated by load times will be happy to know the "no load times"
technology made the leap from PSX to Dreamcast, as did the smooth, load-free
plane-shifting. Basically, once you get started in this game (or load a
save) you are done with load times until you finish your gaming session and
pick it up the next day.
I played most of the way through the initial level, up to about the first
boss, and found some nice tweaks to the game; maybe it's my imagination, but
enemy AI seems to be superior in the Dreamcast version. Paired enemies fight
Raziel more effectively as a team than in the PSX rev. Fortunately, the
Dreamcast provides faster, smoother 60 fps animation, so your attacks are
also more efficient; it balances.
While there are no changes to storyline or level design, Eidos has worked in
some niche touches to make the familiar seem a bit fresh. For example, some
of the camera angles seem to have changed; many establishing shots seem to
begin further back, depicting more of the surrounding real estate in an
area, than did the PSX version.
Will there be drawbacks? Sure. We're stuck with the same ending that PSX and
PC gamers got, which is to say a sudden, abrupt end to gameplay with no real
resolution (which Eidos has assured us will pay off when the next Soul
Reaver title ships in Fall 2000).
While we're still anxious to see the improvements to terrain and enemies that
will appear in the final rev, this beta of Soul Reaver looks smooth and
promises to give adventure-title lovers an awesome game. If you own a PSX
copy and are expecting something new, there may not be enough reason to buy
the Dreamcast version of the game.
But from the way things look, the DC
version is definitely the prettiest, smoothest rev of an awesome adventure
title, and should join Acclaim's Shadowman in the "must have" library of
Dreamcast gamers who can't live without some kickass adventure titles.
Don't EVEN mention Blue Stinger... as with Shadowman, Soul Reaver truly is
"the next generation" of adventure titles. Lara Croft be damned! (Which is a
good idea...then she could show up in the next Soul Reaver title...heh heh