Review by TRichter
"Not perfect but still very good"
I'm a big fan of the Legacy of Kain series, since I've played the first Soul Reaver on the PC, and I was very happy when Legacy of Kain "Defiance" (LoKD) was released, and I was very happy that I bought this game.
Let's take a look on the graphics first: There are no problems in this department. In fact LokD's graphics are really good, especially when you keep in mind, that this game is a original console game. The backgrounds, objects and other things in the different areas are very well done and very well designed. Also all characters are looking very well. Raziels eyes are glowing more beautiful then ever before, Kains evil smile is looking more wicked then ever before. But not only the main characters all creatures in this game are looking and moving very well. For all this reasons LoKD needs a better PC the Soul Reaver 2 or Blood Omen 2. But don't be afraid, even on a not high end system, this game should be running without serious problems.
All Legacy of Kain games were very strong in the music department, LoKD is no exception, which is not a big surprise, because this game has, except for one or two tracks, no own soundtrack. Yes, it uses music from the older Legacy of Kain games, but the old music sounds so good and it's fitting so perfectly into this new game, that I will not say anything about the music.
The sound effects are very well too. I've played only the German version of LokD, so I can't say anything about the English voice actors, but I can say something about the German ones: They did a really great job. The other sounds like monster screams and battle noises are sounding very well.
While the graphics, the sound and the music are without really flaws, the controls of this game are a different story. It is madness to play this game without a good gamepad. I highly recommended a pad with 8 buttons and a analog stick. You can of course use the keyboard, but believe me, this game is a lot more fun with a gamepad (and a lot less frustrating).
Now let's talk about gameplay and let's talk about the favorite camera of LokD! Okay the camera is a problem, cause you can't really control it. While other 3D games like the brilliant Prince of Persia, are giving full control about the camera, there is no possibility to control the camera in LoKD. You can enter a first person view, where you can't move, but freely look around and decide where to go next, but if you leave this mode, you are a slave to the game camera. Now you might ask, why I give this game a 8. when the camera is so bad, the answer is simple: The automatic camera is no problem in 95% of the game. Some jumps would be easier with a free camera and it can happen that you have to fight against enemies, without seeing anything, but this WILL NOT happen very often. But to be honest, if this game would allow you to control the camera as you wish, it would score a close to perfect 9 and not a 8.
While the camera is the biggest problem of LoKD, the level design is the best part of the game. First it is important to know, that you play one level with Kain, after this a level with Raziel, before you continue playing Kain and so on. The game features a lot more fighting then Soul Reaver 2 and a lot more puzzle solving then Blood Omen 2. It is in fact a perfect mixture. While the puzzles in Soul Reaver 2 were too big and too weird, Blood Omen was a little boring, cause you were just running from one fight into another, LoKD presents a perfect balance between slaughter and thinking.
The battle system is similar to the older Legacy of Kain games, but now Kain and Raziel are able to learn new combos. Sadly the two are learning nearly the same combos and there are only small differences between the two characters. While in the older Legacy of Kain games, Raziel and Kain were able to use different weapons, they are now forced to use the Soul Reaver only, but I didn't have a problem with this.
An important point is the save system. This game features no really save points, you can save the game everywhere, but when you restart it you will start from special respawn points, but all puzzles, you have solved, and all enemies, you have killed, will stay solved and killed. So the save system is okay. In fact it is very similar but a little better then the one in Blood Omen 2 and much, much better then the terrible save system in Soul Reaver 2.
The game is not too easy or too hard, so that all gamers, no matter how skilled they are, should be able to have a lot of fun with this game.
Well, there is one last thing: The story. Of course you can play this game without having played the older Legacy of Kain games, but you will understand nearly nothing. All others will enjoy a story as weird and twisted, as you might expect it from a Legacy of Kain game.
Finally I can honestly say, that I like this game, and everyone, who liked Soul Reaver or Blood Omen should go out and get this!
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 10/23/04
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