Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2 Crystal Dynamics / Eidos Interactive 2001

Soul Reaver 2, despite its name, is actually the third game in the Legacy of Kain series that debuted with Blood Omen. It concerns a vampire named Raziel and his quest through time to destroy the evil blood-sucking vampire Kain. It's a complicated and confusing plot involving a mysterious being known as the Elder God, lots of dimensional and time travel, nods and references to the previous games in the series, and plenty of combat, puzzle solving, and adventure. You needn't have played the previous games to make sense of this title's plot (although it certainly helps), so newbies and series vets alike will find this a solid and well-built adventure. The game is played in third-person perspective, and, like most games of that type, it features a lot of climbing, jumping, and puzzle solving through the fine art of pushing things, climbing on them, and exploring for powerful items. Raziel has access to all kinds of power-ups for his mighty weapon, the Soul Reaver sword that lets him suck the spirit energy from fallen foes. He can glide using his spirit wings and enter a shadowy spectral dimension at will that allows him to pass through certain barriers like a ghost. Journey through canyons, swamps, temples, and even time itself as you rush headlong to come face to face with your inescapable destiny. The sword plays a much more central role to the gameplay than in previous installments. For one thing, you can now summon it at will, regardless of your health status. But there are also limits in place that keep you from overusing it. If you suck too many souls, it begins to draw power from you. Raziel can no longer sneak up and kill foes without a fair fight, but combat in this game is more fun than in previous games. Each enemy combatant fights well, making each fight something to enjoy rather than avoid. Many unanswered questions are answered here, but new ones crop up, and some will be pleased to hear this third game also ends with a cliffhanger.
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