Saturday, 5 March 2016

Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver Review

Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver is a rather marvellous little example of Action/Adventure game making. You take control of Raziel who, after being cast out by Kain, is brought back to stop him as he and his people descend further and further into depravity. The game is played in third person, with a camera you can freely rotate via the triggers. Gameplay is made up of hack and slash combat and a healthy amount of puzzles.

You can take a physical form or enter the spectral realm. This affects gameplay by changing enemy types (for example wraiths only occur in the spectral realm) and shifting the world to enable more complex puzzles. It’s a nifty little feature that is put to good use, providing a nice level of variety to the world design and puzzles, which is well needed as without it the heavy emphasis on block based puzzles would quite swiftly become tiresome. It’s a clever feature that sets the game aside from its peers and still feels rather modern.

The hack and slash gameplay takes a similar approach and introduces a level of interactivity and complexity you might not necessarily expect from a game of this age. The undead enemies you face can’t simply be clawed to death, they need to be impaled, set on fire, exposed to sunlight or immersed in water. You lock on with R1 and dodge with X and the directional buttons, attacking with the square button. You can then use triangle to grab your opponent, throwing them into sunlight, water, fire or onto spikes on the wall. You can even grab weapons and torches from the wall to impale your enemies or set fire to them. Your enemies, once despatched, burn up and you can hold circle to absorb their souls and regain health. If you used a weapon to impale them you pick it back up but be careful to do so only after their body burns up as if you remove the object that impales them before they burn up they will come back to life – one of the game’s coolest features and one that caught me very much off guard.

Souls are green?
The fictional world of Nosgoth is filled with some rather nice castle/tomb like structures, some mountainous areas etc. It’s what you’d expect from a Vampire inhabited world, suitably gloomy, suitably epic and suitably decaying. The 3D graphics aren’t much by today’s standards but they’re a pretty good example of decent PlayStation graphics. Add to this the decent voice acting, music and sound effects and you’re left with a well presented game that isn’t offensive by today’s standards.

If you’re a fan of the PS1 I’d certainly say this is a must have, it holds up well and is great fun, also it’s part of a fair sized series so if you it like there is plenty more to enjoy.

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