Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver
Review by Slateman
"Visually impressive, an enormous world and no load times...what more do you need?"
Visually impressive, an enormous world and no load times...what more do you need?
This review includes references to the original Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen, as well as comparisons to the Playstation version of Soul Reaver. (LoK, BO and SR for short)
When LoK:BO came out it was a stunning game with one MAJOR flaw. The best part? Blood everywhere. The worst? Tremendously annoying load times. Hacking away at your victims, and then draining their blood from afar was visually great...blood flying through the air. Choosing an axe in the weapon select screen to hack down a tree, just to go back into that screen to select your regular sword again took over a minute I'd wager. It was painful. It was the worst! First things first. LoK: SR has ZERO load times. It's the best!
The world painted by the original game was wonderful. A fictitious dark aged earth with you running through it pillaging and killing.
The world painted here by Soul Reaver is the same world, with an amazing story to accompany it. I won't give anything away, b/c hearing the superb voice overs telling the story with a deep vocabulary is far beyond that which I could describe here. It is a dismal world, with death everywhere. The only living beings are horrendous mutates, essentially. It is somewhat bare though. This game will not give you 100% action. It isn't as deserted as say, the original Tomb Raider game, but it is similar in that a good portion of your time will be devoted to exploration. Looking around to see what's what and where it is. It is so grim...and I love it.
Since this is really a port of the Sony Playstation game, I think the visuals are
1) Amazing and
The Dreamcast is a powerful machine. And comparing the 2 versions will make the PSX version look like utter garbage. The PSX is a great system and it's lasted, but the graphics in the DC port are amazing. The higher resolution and crisp, clear textures make the world look so much more real. The fog that is apparent literally EVERYWHERE makes the world look too much like a game. It's unfortunate really. Some games (perhaps this game included) use fog to convey to the user a mystical feel. Here though, the fog hinders your view and really annoys me! Maybe b/c it is a port of the PSX version, but I thought the DC could handle the game without so much fog. Outside that, the game is visually outstanding.
What was that thing about no load times? Well, it's one of the best parts of the game. The world of Nosgoth (cool name) is pretty large. Like many other games, you can't access certain areas from the outset. But since it's all one large world, there's no real ''dungeons'' in the typical Zelda sense. The Dreamcast is constantly loading the next section that you're heading into, so there's no, ''walk through the door and wait for the entire level to load'' sections. It makes the experience ten times more realistic while answering the major problem of LoK: BO.
Speaking of realism, the music in the game is fantastic. It's rarely in the forefront, most of the time it's just a mystical backdrop to accompany the section of the world you're in at the time. You might not notice it all the time, but it is perfect. Dark, haunting and somewhat frightening, the sound effects, voices and music couldn't be better.
Again, without giving away anything from the story, the world is much different from LoK: BO. Unfortunately, blood everywhere isn't the name of the game here. The blood fountains from the original were so awesome and here, there's barely a drop of it. Sure, a little here and there. There's some cool imaplings and all, but don't look for it to flow like it did a few years ago.
The game's only real issue is the lack of an active camera setting. A good comparison would be to Sony's Spyro the Dragon. Quite a different game of course, but in that game you can choose to set the camera to active. This way, if it swings in front of you, once you pause, the camera will realign itself behind you, giving you the best view. In LoK: SR, this isn't the case, and it's downright annoying having to fix that every few seconds.
As a final note, the power ups, bosses and the way you progress through the world are all perfect. There's little more I could wish for here (less fog, the rest of the game [see below]). That's why it gets a perfect 10. It's a serious game with a dark soul. It's not for everyone, but if you have even a hint of interest, I say go for it. I can't imagine you being disappointed.
Damn fog...if not for that, it would be perfect
Outright amazing. Perfect
Damn camera...if not for that, it would be perfect
Tons of fun, it makes you think and explore.
This game rules...Almost every aspect of it reeks of quality.
Final final note: The PSX version kept getting pushed back. Eventually, the company decided to release the game even though it wasn't finished. If you have the PSX version you'll find quite a bit of voice overs and game data that doesn't appear in the game. They cut the game in half essentially. The second chapter will be coming out soon. Some people were bitter that it wasn't finished...others were relieved that it finally came out. Whichever way, I am positively satisfied in that I got to play it.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 04/20/00, Updated 04/20/00
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