Review by Mr Pibb

"Makes up for Blood Omen 2, what more can you ask for?"

Legacy of Kain: Defiance crept up on me. As an avid fan of the series, the past two installments have been tremendous let downs, so when a new LoK game was announced, I thought nothing of it. Looking at screenshots two days prior to release, I could tell that this game was going to do something for the series that has never been done in the past 7 years.

If you haven't played the previous games in the series, I'll fill you in on something. They weren't very ''good'' action games. Blood Omen had good combat, the same with Soul Reaver, but the second in each ''legacy'' were not up to par. Crystal Dynamics threw everything away and started fresh when it comes to the combat aspect of their beloved creation.
Three words: Devil May Cry
Inspired (from what I hear, and it's quite obvious) from Capcom's Devil May Cry, Defiance uses a combo and juggle system that is not only fun to play with, but pretty as hell to watch. This breaks up the monotony which was Blood Omen 2, and the sluggishness of Soul Reaver 2. The camera isn't too bad, although some people might not agree with me. It's a controllable, yet fixed, DMC styled camera. You can pan it all over the place and go into first person view (when applicable). It works for the most part, but there are quite a few times I've had bad views that were hard to liberate from, and other times where I couldn't see the enemy, thus taking damage.

The control set up is flawless. Absolutely flawless. Two main action buttons are at your disposal, a 'slasher' and an 'air launcher.' The player is free to do as they wish, and let’s not forget the other big addition, TK (telekinesis). You now have the ability to throw energy blasts at your enemy, but to also grab them mid air and fling them into spikes, fire or off of cliffs.

Unfortunately, Kain and Raziel play a little too similar, but the combat stays fresh throughout the entire game thanks to numerous Reaver power ups for both Kain and Raziel.

The story those guys threw together for Defiance is amazing. It takes between 10 and 15 hours for most players to finish, but the story line, voice acting and animation make it feel like a Hollywood Blockbuster. The lack of cg movies is upsetting, but the graphics engine is still able to deliver unbelievable movies that are captivating and thought provoking. I usually skip the cut scenes, but I watched each and every one in Defiance countless times. Michael Bell and Simon Templeman are amazing voice actors, and use the power of their voice to keep you in the game.

I'm not going to get into the nitty gritty of the plot since some major events happen in this game that will [hopefully] change the next games in the Kain series. If you are a fan, you must play this one just to find out what happens.

The sound is generic, but it gets the job done. I hate Raziels' spirit world, and Defiance doesn't change it for me. I rushed out of it ASAP due to the annoying ambiance and 'vocals' thrown in.

There really isn't much to do after completing Defiance. I found myself viewing the behind the scenes footage you unlock after defeating the final boss, but don't see myself playing through it again. This is not surprising, since most games like this don't offer high replay value. This doesn't detract from the overall product, and the story and voice acting alone are reasons to purchase instead of rent this title.

Overall I am very pleased with Legacy of Kain: Defiance. The combat is fast paced and fun, the story is great with superb voice acting, and the concise length is perfect for people with little time on their hands. Plain and simple, this game is awesome. You will find yourself hooked on it until you complete it, and then you will want to replay the previous games in the series just to see how far these characters have developed.

Graphics: 9/10
Much better then anything else in the series. Not perfect due to some clipping issues, but overall great.
Sound: 7.5/10
Decent, but nothing special. Voice acting is superb.
Control: 9.5/10
Easy to pick up and play from the get go, perfect.
Story: 10/10
Plot twists and paradoxes galore, the best story since Blood Omen.
Overall: 9/10

As a fan of the series, I thoroughly enjoyed Defiance. One part even *almost* brought a tear to my eye. Crystal Dynamics should pat themselves on the back for giving us a game that lives up to the name Legacy of Kain.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 11/25/03

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