Legacy of Kain: Defiance
Description official descriptions
Following the events of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2, Raziel and Kain were trapped in the Serafan fortress. Separated by sudden events, Raziel was forced to retreat into the spectral realm, leaving Kain to escape from the Serafan on his own. Both must escape the predicament they find themselves in and fight back against those who would seek to use them as manipulations in a grander plot. From both heroes cry out shouts of defiance, and a thirst to find the revelations that have been buried in the world of Nosgoth.
Legacy of Kain: Defiance is a third-person action game with light puzzle-solving elements, combining concepts seen in both Blood Omen 2 and Soul Reaver 2. The story unfolds through chapters, focusing alternately on Kain and Raziel as they pursue their separate, though intertwined quests. Control of each character alternates between levels, however both are controlled from a behind-the-shoulder perspective. While both heroes are different, they are similar in movement, ability to attack, defend, jump and access special abilities.
Kain and Raziel no longer pick up weapons, instead both using a form of the Soul Reaver weapon (Kain uses the physical sword form, Raziel uses an energy blade). Each Soul Reaver can now be "charged" to unleash a special ability, determined by the current alignment of Soul Reaver at the time. Both Kain and Raziel lose energy at a constant rate and must feed to replenish life energy (Kain feeds on the blood of living creatures, Raziel feeds on the souls of living and non-living creatures). And both Kain and Raziel feature telekinetic abilities to manipulate objects at a distance.
The two are, however, different characters that play differently, each requiring use of his talents, to bypass obstacles (sometimes the same obstacle). Kain focuses on strong combat and destructive abilities. He is able to power up the Soul Reaver weapon using properties of the Pillars of Nosgoth. Raziel is more subtle, able to use stealth and the phasing between material and spectral worlds in order to discover new paths. As in Soul Reaver, Raziel can phase into the spectral world at any time but must find a special location in order to phase back. Raziel powers up the Soul Reaver using elemental powers.
- Наследие Каина. Defiance - Russian spelling
- 凯恩的遗产：挑战 - Simplified Chinese spelling
Credits (PlayStation 2 version)
190 People (155 developers, 35 thanks) · View all
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Average score: 76% (based on 52 ratings)
Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 58 ratings with 5 reviews)
Note: This review is based in only a three-hour game experience (since overall I dislike the game I am not willing to continue playing).
1) The game appear to have a good story, at least at the start and everyone slightly or deeply liking vampires themes will find enough good points and will be not disappointed.
2) The cinematic, music, speech, graphics and so-on are all well worked and stand on today gaming industry standards.
Here we go with those two-steps...
1) The worst gameplay experience that I have seen for a couple of years in a 3D game. As many players already wrote in other reviews... Introducing a static-point camera playing system for games like Alone in the Dark that are slow-paced games is ok but not for this one. Even in this case the cameras are so bad implemented that many times you have absolutely no idea about where you are going through or from where you are taking hits. That is annoying.
2) No quicksaves and no custom save points, therefore you will pay your mistakes by replaying the game from the last autosave that in my short experience it means a couple of times replaying about 5 mins each. Too much for modern games, annoying again.
The Bottom Line
Twice annoying means unplayable if I do my math but maybe you want to try it. Good luck.
Windows · by Cabeza2000 (689) · 2004
Given the choice; whether to rule a corrupt and failing Empire, or to challenge the fates for another throw, a better throw against one's destiny --what was a king to do?
Kain, the Vampire emperor, saw the beginning and the end of his story, and found the tale to be crude and ill-conceived.
He saw the strings of the puppetmasters that drove the land of Nosgoth to its demise.
He saw his lieutenant Raziel, predestined to be the messiah of the Vampire race, killing him, only to be later imprisoned inside the Reaver Blade, a legendary Vampiric sword.
Kain then decided to gamble everything in an attempt to rewrite history.
Kain eventually convinced Raziel to spare his life, and in the ultimate moment, saved him from being absorbed into the Reaver blade.
The plan worked...
Or did it?
Did Kain actually defy fate, or was his own plan also orchestrated by the mysterious puppetmasters?
Weakened to an unbearable level, Raziel shifted to the land of the dead --the Spectral Realm-- where an angry Elder God was waiting to punish him for his transgressions.
Kain was left alone in the castle of the Vampire-hunting order of warrior-priests known as the Sarafan, with the Reaver Blade in his hands, and suspicions of having been used as a pawn --again.
Thus, the fifth chapter in the legendary
DEFIANCE is a 3rd person perspective game with platforming, puzzles, and a strong emphasis in close-hand combat.
This time around, there are two major treats with which the developers have been teasing us for months:
1) a completely revamped combat interface and
2) the possibility to play with both heroes of the saga --the soul-devouring ghoul Raziel, and the almighty Vampire emperor Kain.
THE GRAPHICS: Dressed to kill
The first thing that shocks you when you fire up
Remember Avernus Cathedral? And Vorador's Mansion? Well...
DEFIANCE carries lots of new-generation special effects: fancy volumetric shading, blinding lighting, cubic-mapped reflections, water ripples... it's all there.
However, the real treat comes when we shift into the Spectral Realm. The Spectral Realm is basically a dark parody of the Material Realm: walls, columns, statues, trees --everything gets badly twisted, all colors turn to shady tones of blue, and soul-devouring vermin crawl out of the shadows.
In DEFIANCE, the Spectral Realm is decorated with eerie lighting, motion blur on EVERYTHING, and a disturbing soundscape of grim music and the tormented screaming of the dead. For the first time in the series, the Spectral Realm becomes an actually SCARY place.
Finally, congratulations Crystal Dynamics for the work in the program polishing dept:
First, like always, the game barely loads, ever. DEFIANCE does have some loading between levels, but it's barely long enough as to even read what the loading screen says.
Second, all this impressive package comes, once again, at almost no performance cost. Of course the game requires a T&L capable video card, but provided you have even the cheapest available one, you can raise all the details to the top and you will hardly perceive a slight stutter in the most crowded fights.
Finally, this game is the first one on the series (in fact the first one in a good while in PC gaming) which didn't require me to go look for a patch to fix some nasty bug before even getting to play it. In fact, I don't know if there IS a patch available, as I never needed one at all.
Of course, this is how all games SHOULD be, but...
GAMEPLAY: Step back, we have a winner!
Until now, I had the game
The combat interface is tremendously intuitive, you get to do a lot of stuff in no time, specially when it comes to fighting:
Two different kinds of normal attacks, five special upgradeable attacks, telekinetic blasts, telekinetic push & pull; and the combination of all of the above in any way you can imagine.
For example, you can lift an enemy in the air, jump after him, perform a three-hit mid-air combo, hold him floating with telekinesis, and then throw him on a lit torch, making him catch on fire and run around the room screaming in pain.
Or let's say you come out in the open, and three archers are shooting at you from a distance, on a higher floor. You can lift one of them with telekinesis, and then choose to throw him over his own comrades, push him down some abyss, or pull him down towards you: "I didn't hear you up there, dude. You were saying...?"
As you progress in the game, your character will learn new moves, and even though there are not as many attacks to learn as there were in
The lock-on-one-enemy-at-a-time thing has been removed, switched to a much more useful automatic system. Also, as well as enemies can gang up against you, you can attack several of them at the same time. Even if two of them come from opposite sides, you can get to do some elegant swings to give each of them some soup.
The seldom useful block function has been removed as well, and the dodge movement has been improved: it's a treat to use and to watch in action, specially Kain's dodge move, in which he turns to mist and literally passes through his enemies.
The game is divided in chapters, and each of them gives us the control of either Raziel or Kain, each following their own quests, until they ultimately meet. They basically share the same combat moves, but each one is best at a different thing, which nicely enhances the gameplay variety.
All that said, one thing you need to keep in mind is that, while it is technically possible to play the game with keyboard+mouse, not only I wouldn't recommended to do so: I'd say the use of a PS2-like dual-analog gamepad is simply mandatory. I know, PC games should be playable with the keyboard, gamepads are a console thing, blah blah blah --But let's face it: Most games out there are console ports nowadays, and gamepads for the PC can be found all over the place, and not only they're dirt-cheap, given the proper game, they're a pleasure to play with; so don't be such a wuss and go get one already.
I left for the ending of this section the camera --the most controversial feature of the game.
This is the fact: the camera doesn't follow the player over the shoulder in the classic 3rd person perspective, nor you can control it as in the last games of the series. Instead, it moves on a rail, zooming in and out, and changing perspectives every now and then. Crystal Dynamics called this a cinematic camera, and the visual effect looks pretty cinematic alright.
I for one love the feeling, specially while fighting. I gotta admit, however, the system is not without some problems --we'll get back to this in a minute.
SOUND AND MUSIC: Still going up
In the sound dept, there's just one thing to say: DEFIANCE keeps with the astounding level of the series.
The voice acting, like I say all the time, is the best in any game I've known so far. Our favourite voice actors are all back, and once again they all do a magnificent job. As it happened in
The music doesn't deserve any special mention, except that as a fan of the series I found quite nice to hear many tunes from some of the previous games again.
THE STORY: Twisting by the pillars
After all the answers we got in the last chapter of the series, I wasn't hoping to be any more surprised now. I thought I had every possible plot fact DEFIANCE could bring figured out beforehand... I should have known better.
Moebius explained it clearly near the very beginning of the game: "you know nothing."
For one thing, we finally get to watch a scene we've been waiting for a really long time: Raziel versus Kain.
We know Raziel has been chasing Kain for as long as two full games already, and while his rage slowly cooled down with a number of intriguing facts he learned, he's far from calling his former master a friend.
We don't really know what Kain has in his mind, other than he constantly repeats that all his actions were orchestrated in order to help Raziel reclaiming his genuine destiny.
We also know that the primary objective of the game is to get both heroes to meet.
So WHAT happens once they meet?
Well of course I'm not answering that right here, but I will say this: the encounter alone makes the whole experience worth it --and I talk about all the 5 games.
Aside from this much-postponed memento, the game uncovers a truckload of events, enough to surprise even the sharpest-minded fan of the series.
How much does Moebius actually know? Did Kain ever met the Elder God? What were those demons stalking Raziel? What IS the source of Nosgoth's corruption? Who forged the Reaver? If Raziel actually is the Vampire messiah, does it mean there's some sort of Hylden messiah? How did the Ancient Vampires die? Who was the unspoken that brought the destruction of the Circle of Nine?
All these questions, and some more, are going to be answered in this game. And believe me, you can't possibly guess one third of the answers.
Looking objectively, what Amy Hennig has been doing this far was taking some points of the first
Far from being this a negative criticism, I say she deserves to be applauded for the incredibly elegant way in which she ties up the loose ends. Looking at the full picture, it looks like a huge storyline which was carefully crafted eons ago. Each new chapter just makes it look even bigger.
Finally, we get to see a re-enactment of a couple of scenes from the first game, but shown from an alternative perspective that gives the whole situation a new level. In english: if you enjoyed the Malek cameo in
FREEBIES: Like a DVD
We usually accept the fact that porting a console game to the PC means losing all kinds of freebies to the lame small space of the CD-ROM --well no more!... Or kinda.
Our good friends at Crystal Dynamics noticed the game itself left a little room in the second CD, so they filled it up with as many freebies as they could. Of course, you won't be seeing the funny voice acting outtakes, but still you'll see some cool art concept and photographs of the DEFIANCE team.
The Dark Diary, a replay of the most important events in the game so far, is back and better than ever: this time you get to replay EVERY SINGLE cutscene seen. A great way of refreshing the events so far, or simply reviewing the best moments, which many developers out there should take notice of.
STORYTELLING: For all those yellow mindless masses...
DEFIANCE is meant to attract both hardcore fans of the series and clueless newcomers, including those who are in for the fast-paced combat, the blood-splattering, and little more. To this end the storytelling was made as easy to follow as it could.
Unfortunately, this means that the dialogues have been tuned down from smart double-senses and long rantings full of metaphors, to more concise and easy-going phrases. Hence, the cutscenes have lost half the class they used to have.
Kain saying stuff like "I could promise you a quick and painless death... but it would be a lie" makes him look like the uninspired villain of crappy cartoon, under the shadow of his infamous "Drop a stone into a rushing river..." metaphor in the previous game.
A boss character saying "No more questions. No more worship. Time to run. Time to scream. Time... TO DIE!" could be fine in a class-B horror flick, but it's just too cheap for this series.
I said the story is as brilliant as one could have expected, and it is; but there are a number of inconsistencies with previously known facts, like Raziel being able to climb walls in the Spectral Realm, or some deadly mist which has in Raziel the same effect that water has on common vampires.
These details are not as noticeable as to make a big deal of them, but LOK fans tend to be picky people, and at times, this game doesn't feel like LOKFan-proof.
GAMEPLAY: The flying beholder
Like I said, I DID like the cinematic camera, but I gotta agree that it becomes annoying in some parts. I don't care much about a swapping camera that suddenly makes left become right, or bumping against a wall because the camera was facing the character instead of the road but I DO care about the camera changing perspectives in the middle of a jumping puzzle. Some jumping sections can turn into an incredible pain in the neck because of these swappings, and I remember at least one moment in which the perspective was so unfortunate that I couldn't calculate the distances properly, which meant having to make a leap of faith towards a tiny thin piece of rock standing in the middle of a deadly pool of mist.
The difficulty level in the fights has been raised noticeably from previous games, but the combat interface makes up a good balance... except in one particular spot: the final boss fight.
It's not only the hardest fight in the game it's downright annoying. The whole experience will take you about 30 minutes at a fairly fast pace, in a constant running and jumping to avoid attacks, while desperately trying to pass one or two hits every now and then.
I remember how in
Finally, the most worrying thing gameplay-wise has to be the puzzles. I already complained about the utterly silly puzzles in the misleading and almost forgettable
Most of the puzzles don't even feel like puzzles. They're so easy it's embarrassing to solve them.
When thinking about the innovative block puzzles in
LOCATIONS: Deja vu!
Even though the environments are beautifully designed and show a lot of class, I seem to feel
The backgrounds in DEFIANCE ARE very detailed, but not the "hey, Rahab has some seahorses carved in his armor!" kind of detailed.
Furthermore, at several points the game gets annoyingly repetitive.
In previous games we already had to do a lot of back-tracking into aleady visited places, but it wasn't necessarily bad, as the places would change dramatically with the time warping. However, this time you'll be returning up to three times to the EXACT same place.
Even worse, the Reaver Forges that Raziel has to visit in order to enhance his Wraith Blade are practically identical to one another. This means that 7 out of 15 chapters of the game are about navigating virtually the same place, in which you won't be doing much more than an eventual boss fight.
If that wasn't enough, 8 out of 11 boss characters in the game look EXACTLY THE SAME.
Also, note that when I mention Forges, you probably think of those enormous and magnificent temples we found in
These are the low-budget version of the Forges: modest circle-shaped two-tier buildings with 4 or 5 small chambers to visit. You'll be done navigating the whole place in less than 20 seconds.
SOUND ISSUES: A minute of silence
I don't know if this happens only to me, but some specific scenes of the game (including a few cutscenes) don't have any music. This is odd to say the least, since they are the kind of scene in which not only one would expect to hear music, but an enormous, ominous music as well.
The distinctive footsteps noise that so nicely would correspond every different kind of floor Raziel walked on in
CLIPPING: The bad cut
Last but not least, I need to mention the clipping issues. This series tend to be pretty buggy in the clipping section, but in this game I found some really nasty issues.
I have a few screenshots in which, for example, the cape of a given character comes forward and covers his legs in an impossible way, I saw Kain's hair pass through his own chest, I saw corpses dissappearing inside a wall, I saw enemies getting trapped behind decorative bars...
While most of these bugs are not deadly-serious, this is definitely an area to improve.
**The Bottom Line**
Even though the cinematic camera is a source of discussion, the smooth combat interface alone undoubtedly makes DEFIANCE one of the best third-person action games ever made.
Gameplay-wise, the only SERIOUS drawback I find is the simplicity of the puzzles.
With more challenging puzzles, this game would have been just perfect.
To meet the demands of a mainstream market, the dialogues have been somewhat simplified, which is pretty sad to hear for us lovers of Kain's inspired rantings; but the story of DEFIANCE still sports everything you could ask for: charismatic characters, shocking answers, enigmatic questions, delicious cameos, and some massive plot branching & twisting.
DEFIANCE brings a beautiful conclusion to this legendary saga, and it's
also a great way to be introduced to the series: even if you dislike the
story, you WILL enjoy the gameplay anyway.
From any angle you look at it, DEFIANCE is a must have.
Windows · by Slug Camargo (583) · 2007
The Legacy of Kain series is somewhat alien to me. I've only briefly played the original Blood Omen and only played Soul Reaver about halfway through before the computer that I was using had crashed or some other mishap that prevented me from finishing it. But after finishing Defiance, I have a strong urge to find and play through every game in the series.
First of all, the graphics are top-notch. They don't go overboard in pushing the envelope, but utilize all the tricks that are becoming a standard now. Facial expressions, accurate and believable lip-syncing, blur effects, fluid animation, and so on and so forth. The result is a near flawless game, graphically. From the very beginning to the very end you will be immersed in the textures, colors and architecture of the world around you, even if it does get very repetetive as you go on (more on that in a minute). Characters couldn't look more believable, and the cutscenes are a real treat to watch. The lip syncing and facial expressions really make you wonder if you're watching a CG cinematic or an in-game cutscene.
The storyline is...well, confusing, really. At least for me, one who barely knows anything about the series. It is obvious that fans of the Legacy of Kain series will get the most from this game, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, especially towards the end. This game has a very unique element to it, in that throughout the game you play as two different characters, Kain and Razael, both searching in their own when and where for the same goal, and as the story progresses, you really feel the epic climax building up when the two characters' timelines intersect, and when it does, oh boy was that ever a moment in gaming I'll remember for some time.
Fighting is also a lot of fun, though I much more enjoyed fighting in the material plane rather than Razael's spirit-world. Something is just more satisfying about impaling a human archer on a torch and watching him burst into flames than smacking some weird booger-monster into oblivion. Though that certain has its own appeal. I found that I never got bored of the fighting, despite its repetition. Battles could always be fought in a different manner, using the different styles of fighting available. You could just go in, sword-slingin' and cut'em up, or you could use telekenesis to fling'em off a cliff, or impale them on a torch (heh heh), or use one of your six-or-seven special elemental attacks to do all kinds of extra damage. Not to mention the other abilities you get as you gain combat experience, which, while tricky to perform at times, are great to do. Fighting was a blast, throughout the entire game.
The puzzles are also great. Those of you who have played the Soul Reaver games will be pleased to know the same original materal plane/spirit world unique puzzles are there for Razael to explot, though I was disappointed to find they weren't used quite as much as in previous games. As for Kain, his puzzles are standard "knock over this thing so you can climb up here to get the key" type puzzles, which can be good, I suppose, if you don't like difficult puzzles. Normally, I really don't like puzzles that leave me stumped, but I felt these were just a little too easy.
Voice overs are absolutely wonderful, combined with the graphics, facial expressions, lip-syncing and amazing storyline, again, it makes you question the idea that you're playing a game or playing a movie. A real fricken good movie. The way the storyline developes as you play through the game as two characters is...just amazing. I wouldn't think that sort of tactic would really work -- playing as two characters, one at a time, I mean. I would think it would get annoying, but it's not at all, as for the story to unfold properly it needs this system, and it's just a real treat. I found I didn't favor one character over the other, and fell in love with both throughout the game.
When I see some of the ratings for this game, I just want to scream "UNDER RATED MASTERPIECE!" but then I control myself and take a look at perhaps why this game is not rated as high as it should be. It all becomes quite obvious.
First, the camera. Now we're really yet to see a camera that is completely friendly to the player, but they really could have done better with this game. The camera never really "follows" the player, but appears to ride on an invisible rail, switching from time to time to fixed locations. You cannot control the camera (except enter first-person mode just to look around) and it never follows you over the shoulder. Instead, it always points at you, but from fixed locations. Sometimes it remains static, other times it moves around. I really appreciate the cinematic element this creates for the player, but it just doesn't work in some places. I recall at least two locations that the player MUST be able to reach, that is completely oblivious to the camera. You would have to enter first-person view to see it, or happen upon them by chance. There may have been other such locations, but I can only remember two. Because of this, you may find yourself wandering around the same four rooms for a half hour before you discover where you're supposed to go. Also, throughout the game, the camera will switch to another camera view as you're moving, say, into another room. Because of this change in view, you might find that where just a moment ago you were pressing the "right" key to move to the right, you character is now facing left. The game compensates for this by keeping your character moving as long as you hold down the button, but this can be very disorienting and more than once I found myself caught in a enter-the-room-leave-the-room loop because of the camera switching.
The other thing that hurts the game is the repetition of the levels, especially when playing as Razael. As the game progresses, Razael must acquire new elemental Reaver abilities, and to get these, he must travel into ancient Vampire guardian tomb places. I think there are six and all, and they all look exactly the same. And not only that, they're a real pain in the ass to get around in. This, unfortunately, is where you'll probably spend most of your time as Razael, because the puzzles, while not difficult, can take some time to get through, and when you have to do these damned things one after the other after the other after the other...it's aggrivating. VERY aggrivating.
Also: Vorridor's Mansion is a pain in the ass level :P
The Bottom Line
If not for the camera annoyances and those Vampire elemental Reaver places, this game, I think, would be rated as one of the best games ever. But despite those two faults (there are others to be sure, but I consider them minor) the game is an amazing experience with a fantastic storyline and graphics that immerse you in the Legacy of Kain universe. If you're a fan of the series, this addition will make you cream your pants. If you've never played any of the others, I'd suggest you play them before this as it can prove to be somewhat confusing, but I for one enjoyed this game more than I've enjoyed most games I played in 2003.
Windows · by kbmb (416) · 2004
|A new title?!?!?!?!?!||Donatello (453)||Aug 23rd, 2012|
- There is a cheat code that replaces Kain's weapon with a cardboard tube, with Kain uttering "Fear the Tube". This is a reference to the popular web comic Penny Arcade and its "Cardboard Tube Samurai" character.
- In one of the larger rooms in Vorador's Mansion, you can see a large painting. It is a portrait of a woman's face. However, the interesting thing is that she may be a reference to Umah, the female vampire from Blood Omen. If you look closely at her forehead and the sides of her face, you can make out tattoos similar to Umah's. In fact, one event that was removed from the game was the appearance of a pre-vampiric Umah.
The boss monster Turel, who Raziel encounters later in the game, was cut from the very first Soul Reaver. Although Turel was mentioned in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver as one of Kain's vampire clan leaders and his disciples could be found in the game, he himself was missing without any plot-related explanation. Furthermore, a strategy exploiting Turel's weakness is needed to defeat him in Defiance, similar to the bosses in Soul Reaver.
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Game added by Slug Camargo.
Game added December 30th, 2003. Last modified August 27th, 2023.