E3: Blood Omen 2 hands-on impressions

[05.18.01] » Kain returns in another quest for the Soul Reaver.

   The original Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen may have seen a spiritual sequel in Soul Reaver, but now the man himself is back to once more take charge. Blood Omen 2's events take Kain 400 years ahead of the events of the original game: 200 years after Blood Omen, Kain is defeated and stripped of the Soul Reaver by the Lord of the Seraphim, a group of knights fighting for peace, justice, and all of those other irksome causes. After the passing of another 200 years, Kain is again revived, and now he wants his sword back.

   Tentively scheduled for a "winter release," Blood Omen 2 was shown in very early stages with only two levels in place. However, from what was shown, Blood Omen 2 has much more in common with the Soul Reaver titles than the original game. The action is shown from the over-the-shoulder perspective, with the emphasis split between action and adventure-style exploration. Controlling Kain is handled by the ubiquitous character-relative control scheme seen in the Resident Evil series, Silent Hill series, and just about every adventure game made for a console since the release of the original Resident Evil.

   Much like his kin Razael, Kain can attack with his claws or weapons picked up along the way, although once the enemies or hapless bystanders are done in, he prefers to stick to good old-fashioned blood sucking to build his strength. The media information explains that sucking the blood of the living is how Kain builds his strength; whether blood serves entirely as a sort of level-building device or if sucking the blood of certain foes grants Kain new powers was not shown in the game's incomplete state.

   In addition to the kill-and-suck mechanics, Kain can call upon his "Dark Gifts" to advance. Those on show were the Super Jump and Charm "Gifts." The Super Jump allows Kain to project himself a short distance over holes and other obstacles, granted nothing blocks the arc of his leap. Charm lets Kain place a character under his control, although what abilities this allows him to commandeer remains to be seen.

   Although what was shown was nothing terribly original in light of the Soul Reaver games, Blood Omen 2 clearly had a long way to go before completion. That the title's greatest inspiration and competition are the acclaimed Soul Reaver games gives hope that Kain himself will return in fighting form.

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