Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2

   After Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver's cliffhanger "ending", gamers immediately began wondering what was in store next for its winged anti-hero Raziel. Fortunately, a sequel was right around the corner, and the new game picks up right where the previous one left off: with Raziel hurtling through time after a duel with his archnemesis Kain. In order to vanquish the vampires for good, Raziel will now have to venture through Nosgoth's past, present, and future to determine just what role he plays in the coming struggle.


   While Soul Reaver 2 continues its predecessor's storyline, it is not simply a regurgitation of the areas cut from the end of Soul Reaver 1. In the sequel, Raziel's travels through time leave him stranded in the era before Kain devastated Nosgoth at the end of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain. Raziel will encounter many familiar areas and characters from the earlier games and is certain to find himself at the center of some shifting alliances.

   The new adventure begins with Raziel retaining all the abilities he acquired in the first game -- meaning an entirely new set of powers will be up for discovery. Seven elemental glyphs must be located; once obtained, each glyph allows Raziel to power up the Soul Reaver by striking materials related to the element. For example, swiping the Soul Reaver through a beam of light turns the blade into a Light Reaver that lights up darkened rooms. (This feature was originally planned for inclusion in Soul Reaver 1, but eventually reduced to just the Fire Glyph.) While not every ability had to be found to finish Soul Reaver, they will all be required to complete Soul Reaver 2 -- there won't be any "optional" acquisitions.

   What else is new in the sequel? Crystal Dynamics promises substantially fewer block-pushing puzzles, as well as improved enemy AI. More types of opponents should appear in the sequel as well; Raziel will battle various demons and spirits in addition to rival vampires and human vampire hunters. In response to complaints that aiming was too difficult in the original, Crystal Dynamics has also implemented a targeting grid to make it easier to connect.

Raziel attempts to boost his SETI@home score

   And, of course, expect a graphical tune-up. Soul Reaver 2 will feature cleaner textures, a constant 60 frames per second frame rate, and improved lighting effects; lighting will even play into some puzzle solutions. Perhaps most impressive is the seamless shifts between the material and spirit planes; when Raziel jumps between planes, the objects on-screen smoothly morph into their alternate-reality counterparts. Producer Amy Hennig asserts that the PlayStation 2 and Dreamcast versions will have "no glaring visible disparities", though the special effects on the PS2 version may be a bit sharper.

   While Soul Reaver 2 doesn't offer much in the way of innovation, it does offer an extension of Soul Reaver's popular story and game design, and should prove to be an exciting title to those who enjoyed the original. System preferences won't get in the way of the continuing saga, either; the title is scheduled to be released on both the Dreamcast and PlayStation 2 simultaneously.

Preview by Fritz Fraundorf, GIA.
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2
Developer Crystal Dynamics
Publisher Eidos
Genre Adventure
Medium GD-ROM (?) / DVD-ROM (?)
Platform Dreamcast / PlayStation 2
Release Date  Unknown
E3: Soul Reaver: Legacy of Kain 2 impressions
5 Dreamcast screenshots / 5 PlayStation screenshots
8 wallpaper images