Sometimes when I go to select a game to play, I find a sequel in which I haven’t played the first installment. Normally, this doesn’t cause any issues – most sequels give you a brief overview of the relevant story bits from the previous entry in order to get you up to speed. Unfortunately, that was not the case with this week’s entry, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2 (Giant Bomb|Wikipedia).
You begin with a cutscene that seems like a continuation of another – but this is the first one in the game. I’m assuming that if you’ve played the first, this lines up perfectly. Unfortunately, I did not and was a bit lost. In my brief time with the game, I noticed that it was extremely heavy on story and exposition – lots of haughty dialog delivered with pretentious British accents. I don’t know if the story will pay off in the end, but they are sure trying to sell that it’ll be an epic of betrayal and retribution.
The graphics look nice – not bad for a 2001 PS2 title, but they didn’t blow me away. The frame rate was nice and solid with no slow downs. The cutscenes were mostly prerendered and looked as you would expect from a game of this vintage. The style of the game is distinctive, and from looking through screen capture galleries on Giant Bomb, the environments seem to be varied.
Sound was middle of the road, none of the music stood out to me, but it was all fitting. Sound effects were good in general, and I did notice that your footsteps sounded differently depending on the surface you were walking on, which is a nice touch. There is a lot of dialog, and the voice actors are decent, but the script is a bit full of itself and a little cheesy.
Gameplay was similar to the PS1 era Tomb Raider games – some combat but the primary focus is on exploration and puzzle solving. This is good, because the combat is not great – you lock onto an enemy then hack them until they die. They can counter attack, and have some predictable animations, but the combat doesn’t feel particularly satisfying. Exploration is another focus, but I wasn’t able to fully experience it with my time with the game.
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2 is a game that I wished I had both played the previous entry, and had more time to play for evaluation – but the point of this series is to spend some time with each game and move on. I’m sure I’ll be back.
Verdict: Play again. Preferably after I’ve played Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver.
Images courtesy of Giant Bomb