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Sept 1999

GW Sega > Sega Previews > Preview Page


Legacy of Kain 2: Soul Reaver




Q1 2000


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 better version.

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 the process.

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 heh.)

Craig Hansen

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