|PS2, GC, Xbox
|Blood and Gore, Violence
| The Good
Graphics convey a great dark atmosphere
Voice Acting is excellent
Story is well written
| The Bad
Minor Glitches (sound skipping, occasional slowdown)
Blood Omen 2 is the fourth game in the Legacy of Kain
series, but it's story takes place after the settings of the
first game, 400 years after to be precise. After destroying
the Pillars at the end of Blood Omen, Kain proceeded
to amass a vampire army to rule over Nosgoth. At the same
time, a fanatical group of warriors called the Sarafan were
formed to wipe out the vampire threat. Kain underestimated
their abilities, and was defeated in battle by the Sarafan
lord and thrown off a cliff, presumed dead. Members of his
army saved Kain however, they brought him back from the brink
of death and nursed him back to health. Kain awakens from
a 200-year slumber to find that he has lost most of his memories
and former powers, and the Sarafan now rule the land. Vampires
have been hunted almost to extinction, and Kain is their last
hope to regain their former domination over the land. Since
he is presumed dead by everyone, he is the perfect agent for
the Cabal, the vampire resistance, to find the Sarafan's weakness
and defeat them. Thus the story begins.
The Legacy of Kain series has always been quite good graphically,
and while this installment doesn't look much better than previous
games, it doesn't disappoint either. The slums of the cities
look run down, with doors and windows boarded up and flies
buzzing around street lamps and various piles of trash. The
character models are a step up from Soul
Reaver 2, but not quite as detailed as Metal
Gear Solid 2. Kain himself looks quite different from
the way he has been portrayed in previous titles. He hasn't
yet reached the stage we see him at in the Soul Reaver
games, yet he looks considerably "prettier" than he did in
the original Blood Omen. Some will like the change,
others will call him a Goth pretty boy, but either way the
character looks quite good. The graphics are sharp for other
characters as well, even the minor citizens of the city, with
little touches like chests moving as they breathe and detailed
clothing and weapons.
Fans of the control setup of Soul
Reaver 1& 2 may be a bit put off with the controls
in Blood Omen 2. Gone is the "run in the direction
pushed" control scheme, it is replaced by one more akin to
Resident Evil. You press up to move forward, right
and left turn you in their respective directions, and down
moves you backwards. It takes a bit of getting used to after
the previous games, but it works well and doesn't hinder gameplay.
The game itself plays mainly like Soul Reaver, with
a bit of Tenchu thrown in. You can auto-lock on enemies
and block their attacks, sidestep and parry, and do multi-hit
combos. Anyone familiar with the previous games will feel
right at home with the combat. The puzzles in the game are
quite simple, mainly consisting of finding the right switch
or moving a block so you can jump over a certain wall.
The Tenchu aspect comes into play with the addition
of "stealth kills", which are an important part of the game.
In Kain's mist form, you can sneak up on enemies from behind
and deliver a one-hit deathblow. The type of attack depends
on what weapon you have equipped, and range from simple decapitation
to a gruesome "heart punch". These are essential to taking
out multiple enemies, as you can kill one, then hide again
and sneak up on the others at your leisure.
Weapons also play an important part in this game; you no
longer have the Soul Reaver and must find weapons as you go.
You start with your bare claws but can obtain various swords,
knives, clubs and other deadly instruments throughout the
course of the game. Weapons will break over time, and it is
always advisable to pick up a new one when you dispatch its'
previous owner. As in Soul Reaver, constant feeding
is necessary; it's best to feed off every enemy you kill,
even if you are at full health. The only way to gain a larger
life bar is to find various vampire "gift" boxes found around
the cities, and feed off your enemies blood.
Another aspect that has always been exceptional in the Legacy
of Kain series is the voice acting and sound effects.
Blood Omen 2 delivers here as well, retaining the original
voice actors for Kain, Vorador, and Janos from Soul Reaver
2, while adding new cast members that are well acted out.
Weapons clash and clang as you would expect them to, and when
you slash skin it responds with disgustingly realistic sounding
results. The music isn't remarkable, but it isn't bad either.
It provides good atmosphere for the levels without being overbearing,
and conveys the overall dark mood of the game quite well.
Although there is a lot to like about this game, there are
a few flaws. When new sections of the level load, there tends
to be a bit of slowdown. Occasional soundtrack skipping also
occurs, in some cases you have to reload a previous save to
correct it. The save system is improved over Soul Reaver
2, but not by much. You can save anytime you like, however
you will start from the last checkpoint activated, rather
than from the exact spot where you saved. As mentioned before,
the control system is different from previous games, but this
isn't necessarily a bad thing, it really depends on your personal
tastes. However, none of these detract from the game enough
to drag it down, it is still a well-made and executed game.
Fans of previous games in the Kain series will certainly
enjoy this, as it expands on the Nosgoth universe and ties
up some loose story points from earlier titles. Those who
have never played a Legacy of Kain game will still
find a lot to like, but may feel a bit lost when certain story
elements appear that aren't fully explained. Nevertheless
it is a very good game, fans should purchase it to add another
chapter to the ever expanding story, every one else should
at least rent it to play one of the better games released
- - Darken Rahl