Publisher: EIDOS Interactive
Developer: Crystal Dynamics
N Amer - 11/19/2001
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Soul Reaver 2 Review
“There is nothing noble or righteous in this crusade.”
Raziel’s twisted form burns with the need for vengeance; and yet, there is something more at stake than the death of a vampire lord.
Soul Reaver 2, from Eidos Interactive and Crystal Dynamics, is a follow-up to the 1999 game Soul Reaver: The Legacy of Kain. This game packs an incredibly well-scripted storyline with puzzles, and outstanding graphics to deliver an intriguing third-person RPG that is a joy to play.
Some back-story is necessary for those who have not played the first game.
The land of Nosgoth was protected by an oligarchy of sorcerers, known as the Circle of Nine. Dark forces infiltrated the circle and Ariel, the Balance Guardian, was murdered. Kain, the son of a nobleman, was selected to be Ariel’s replacement. But he was ignorant of his destiny, and when wandering the lands, was assailed and killed by brigands. However, Kain did not die – completely. He was resurrected by, and made a deal with Mortanius. It was a dark deal, and Kain discovered he had been returned to the world as a vampire. It was during his journey of self-discovery that he found the Soul Reaver – an ancient soul-devouring blade. He also found a time-streaming device created by Moebius, the Guardian of Time.
As Kain journeyed through time, he eventually began to build an empire. He established the ruined pillars of Nosgoth as the seat of his power. He raided an ancient tomb of the Sarafan, an order of fanatical warrior priest, and from the desiccated corpses he raised his six vampiric sons to become his lieutenants. One of these resurrected souls was Raziel.
Vampires can evolve, and Raziel was the first to grow bat-like wings. But Kain, in what seemed like jealously, shredded the wings and ordered Raziel thrown into the Lake of the Dead, where his flesh would dissolve and he would burn forever. But Raziel was drawn back from the brink of oblivion, which transformed him into a devourer of souls.
And thus Raziel has become an angel of death, and he burns with the desire to kill Kain. The Soul Reaver has become Raziel’s to control, or, as he puts it: “ The Reaver was now in command and I its helpless host.”
Now Kain and Raziel have traveled back in time, centuries into Nosgoth’s past. Their fates are intertwined, but how?
Soul Reaver 2 begins with Raziel attempting to exit the Sarafan temple, where Moebius had brought him as he chased Kain through the time portal. He will have to work through both Nosgoth’s world and a spiritual plane – with the transition from each world incredibly seamless.
This game has a wealth of cutscenes, but rather that detract, they add to the joy of the game – showing some excellent plot twists and treating game players to the rich dialogue of this program.
This game picks up where the original left off (and that is a recommended game as well). Raziel had to work hard to get his abilities up to the point they are when this game opens, but the nice think is that game players won’t have to start anew with a raw, inexperienced character.
If nothing else, Raziel is one of the best anti-heroes in the RPG realm. He sucks souls to survive and will kill indiscriminately, but his mind is constantly battling with the nature of what he is.
And then Kain, Moebius and the Elder God who created Raziel all seem to have agendas, which add to the intrigue of this game. It does have enough battle to satisfy those who enjoy that aspect of gaming, but it will also tickle the mind and imagination with its multiple plot layers.
The game controls are fairly involved, and game players should count on taking some time to learn what everything does. Rework through the early portions of the game (which can be set up to act as a tutorial) until you are familiar with the different elements of the game. A game pad does a nice job in controlling Raziel and his unique abilities. The game can only be saved in certain locations and should Raziel die, or shift into the spectral realm, you will have to find certain spots to return to the material world.
Despite some clipping problems (such as swords disappearing into walls) he graphics of this game are quite outstanding. The effects are wonderful, and the environments and animation are delightful. The cinematic cutscenes are very well done.
There is some synch problems in portions of the sound track – where characters mouths and works are way off target (the mouth shuts or stops moving but the voice goes on – that sort of thing).
Soul Reaver 2 is an incredible game, quite addictive and intriguing. One can only hope that Eidos doesn’t wait another 2 1/2 years to release another game in this series.
This game is rated Mature for …
The installation of the game will eat up a minimum of 792 megs or a maximum of 942 megs of hard-drive space. Still, it goes on quickly.
This game is absolutely seamless. The realms are expansion and variety of environments is wonderful.
There are some clipping problems, but overall this game is very well done in every aspect.
The voice acting is superb, the script is a joy to hear and the music is well done.
This game doesn’t indulge in difficulty levels, but challenges players to improve as they progress through the realms. The controls are involved and will take some time (say about 20 minutes) to get comfortable with.
This game picks up where its predecessor left off, without requiring players who haven’t played the first game to do so before undertaking this adventure.
This is one of those games that is a joy to play, not only because it has great characters, but also because it is well designed from top to bottom.
GameZone Review Detail
Soul Reaver 2 offers RPGers depth of plot, terrific graphics
Reviewer: Michael Lafferty
Review Date: 01/24/2002