The Legacy of Kain Series: Blood Omen 2

Moby ID: 6083

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Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 73% (based on 45 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 61 ratings with 6 reviews)

A minor installment on the Legacy of Kain series, but one hell of a fun game anyway.

The Good
I got this game after a recommendation from some friend, as a 'funny 3rd perspective game'. At first I totally HATED it; specially the control interface, in which you can actually smell its console roots. There was no sidestep! wha—? I NEED sidestep!! I always thought of sidestep as a MUST since WOLFENSTEIN 3D (um, did WOLFENSTEIN 3D actually have a sidestep key?).
I just put the game down for a few weeks and almost forgot about it.
Then one day I decided to give it another shot, before I decided whether or not to uninstall it and definitely forget about it... turns out that I got used to the controls, and they weren't so bad. They still suck for the basic movement, but the combats are managed in a way I thought was original and very user-friendly.
Upon playing it for a few days, it started to grow a lot in me, I ended up LOVING the voice acting (a thing I never paid any particular attention to in other games); eventually there started to appear some characters from previous games, and intriguing references were made to those games... on top of that, Blood Omen 2 had a preview of SOUL REAVER 2, which looked amazing. So, out of wanting to know what was the whole story about, I bought the whole saga. Even the ancient first BLOOD OMEN.
Today, I LOVE the Legacy of Kain series. The storyline has to be one of the better stories I ever read. It's just ENORMOUS, it's full of interesting characters, smart twists, conspirations, deception... It's not only imaginative as few things I know, but it also has such a strong foundation that surpasses a lot of movies and even books.

Blood Omen 2 is set about 400 years after the first BLOOD OMEN, thousands of years before SOUL REAVER.
Blood Omen 2 shows a young vampire Kain (he still looks almost totally human, except for his claws, which anyway are still five and not yet three) who is still fighting his way towards the complete domination of the land of Nosgoth. In the intro sequence we see Kain and his armies taking over Nosgoth town by town, until they stand before the walls of Meridian, the capital city, home of the vampire hunting order of warrior priests known as the Sarafan. Armed with the Soul Reaver, his almighty sword, Kain fights the Sarafan Lord, a strange man with flames coming out of his head. Unexpectedly, Kain is defeated and falls to what seems to be his death.
However, we see him waking up in some sort of hideout, with a vampire female called Uma taking care of him. Kain is told that he slept for about 200 years, and the Sarafan are almost done with their goal of completely wiping vampires off the face of Nosgoth. Uma is part of a small resistance group called the Cabal, which needs the legendary power of Kain in order to be able to fight the Sarafan.
Weakened after his near-death experience and the long recovering slumber, and without his sword, Kain will have to make a long journey to recover his powers, memories, possessions, and ultimately retake his conquering plans. In the way, he will discover some dark secrets regarding the Sarafan, the mysterious Sarafan Lord, and the reason why he was defeated quite easily 200 years ago.

Blood Omen 2 is a minor installment in the series, I understand it's intended as some sort of side-story and the actual storyline isn't nearly as complex and intriguing as in any of the other games. Nevertheless there ARE some interesting secrets to unravel, and even some events that might clear up a few points of the whole series. In fact, after playing this game I played SOUL REAVER 2 again and, as I suspected, I just understood several small points that got unanswered and some even passed unnoticed my first time through.
Anyway, I definitely believe this one shouldn't be called Blood Omen 2, since such title is very misleading in several aspects. I'll go deeper on that later, but for starters, this game is mainly an action game, from a 3rd person perspective, with very few puzzles to solve and none of the RPG'ing of the first game.

Graphically the game is very good. I found it slightly below SOUL REAVER 2 but that doesn't mean it's bad at all, SOUL REAVER 2 is only too amazing. In Blood Omen 2, character design, textures, and special effects in general are above average and take advantage of the DirectX 8 pretty well.
The game takes place mostly in cities, which are amazingly well designed, working a lot for a grim atmosphere.
As it happened in the first game, Kain also changes clothes a few times (although this time he does it by himself with no option to choice from the player) and all his models look amazing. I specially love the suit he wears in the last level, when I saw it I was like 'alright! now bring that Sarafan Lord! I'm all dressed up for the ocassion!'.
Most of the enemies we'll meet are human, and although there is not much to be done with human models, it has to be said that the clothes and armours are very well designed, in fact I like these more than the Sarafan warriors from SOUL REAVER 2.

When it comes to music, again the game does good but not reaching the level of the awesome SOUL REAVER and SOUL REAVER 2... in fact, I even prefer the music of the first BLOOD OMEN.
On the other hand, the sounds do shine with a very powerful light, once again, specially for the voice acting. Just the fact that we're playing Kain in this game puts it slightly above SOUL REAVER and SOUL REAVER 2 in this dept, because I just love this guy's voice, and we get to hear it all the time.
As I said in other reviews, the voice acting of the Legacy of Kain series count among the best voice acting ever. It's my personal favourite cast of voice actors, no doubt.

As I said, Blood Omen 2 is mostly an action game, and although there are a few puzzles to solve, those are so simple that they can barely be called puzzles. 'Stallers' might suit them better.
The combat interface is a slightly reworked version of the one in SOUL REAVER 2. You have an 'autoaim' button which makes Kain lock on a given enemy, when you move with this button pressed you do it around the enemy (which allows you to perform a quick side-jump to avoid attacks, for example), and of course the button also lets you attack and cover from attacks. The autoaim can lock on an enemy at a fairly big distance, unlike SOUL REAVER 2 where you needed to be pretty close for it to work properly, and while you have the button pressed there's no way you 'miss lock' of the enemy, which often happens in SOUL REAVER 2.
I personaly like the interface —although getting used to it took a little while, since it's not the classic FPS-like interface— and I find it pretty suitable for the fights. Anyway, it's still not as good as the one in ONI, my all-time 3rd-person-action favourite control interface.

The fights are in a 99.99% close-hand, and you can use either your fangs, or weapons like swords, axes, et cetera, which you take from dead enemies or you find laying around.
You also have a set of special vampiric abilities called Dark Gifts, some of which can be applied in combat. You will get to fight a number of bosses, all vampire traitors who are working for the Sarafan Lord now, and after defeating each one you will be rewarded with a new Dark Gift.
The boss fights are pretty original, since they are divided in two or three stages, in each of them the boss will attack in a different way, which will require you to use a different approach, since straight-beating-up is not always the best solution. This is interesting, since it makes the boss fights challenging in a smart way, not just because the guy is so damned tough, as it usually happens in many games.

As a vampire, Kain can of course draw blood from his dead enemies in order to restore his health. Note that I say 'draw' and not 'suck', since (as it happened in BLOOD OMEN he does it through telekinesis, without touching the body of the enemy (what's with that anyway? you're drinking their BLOOD, it's not like this way is more 'antiseptic' or anything).

The Bad
The main drawback of the game comes hand in hand with its very name. As I said, calling this game Blood Omen 2 is VERY misleading, since it's nothing like the first one. The name 'Blood Omen' is a VERY big responsibility to bear, and with all its bright sides, this game just doesn't qualify for such name.

Although the combats are fun, and they are actually more fun than the ones in any of the other games of the series, they are just about all you're going to do. I already called the puzzles 'stallers' because they are practically pre-solved for you and hardly deserve to be called puzzles, the 'pieces' are usually in a range of 10 walking steps and they are so stupidly marked to stand out, that I often felt like playing a game meant for 5-year-old kids... no wait, not even that, in fact I felt like it's meant for plain MORONS. All you do is to move the 'pieces' to the proper location which is the only thing you can do (say, moving a box to a certain place, which is THE ONLY place where you can move it to; or pull a given lever, which is THE ONLY lever in a 100 miles area). The only time you spend in a given puzzles is the actual gameplay time, with no thinking to do at all. In fact, most of the times I found myself solving puzzles in a lever-pulling-spree even before I realized WHAT was I actually doing.
I definitely would have liked a more mature approach, make me DO some actual thinking.

All the best things of the first game have been brutally stripped off: no disguising to fool enemies, no choice of weapons for a reason (other than pure aesthetics), no spells (the Dark Gifts barely can count as spells, and they are just about 7 of them), no side-exploring nor secret areas (which practically takes out any replayability value), no shifting into animals or any other form whatsoever, no weather effects (no rain, no snow, nor anything), no daytime-to-nighttime switching, no replaying of cutscenes, no pre-rendered cutscenes...
The game is better than its predecessor in the way that it's almost 5 years more recent, and the technological gap between them is huge, but from a totally objective point of view, BLOOD OMEN is way better than this sequel.
All of these drawbacks would have been easily worked out just by naming the game to something else, clearly stating that this is a 'minor side-chapter', so people wouldn't expect an actual full-scale sequel.

Moving onto another area, I said that character graphics are very good —which they are— but I feel that the amount of polygons used is pretty low, you still can see some 'too polygonal' forms in some characters.
Also, some (luckily few) characters are badly designed. Uma looks awful from ANY point of view, which is specially bad giving the important part she plays in the game. Not even her clothes look any good.

The ages-old and always helpful trick of the dense fog has been used left and right in order to cover the far clipping plane, thus being able to create big environments at very low performance cost (and the fog fits the grim atmosphere also, which is always good), but at a few points the fog gets pretty annoying and spoils the picture. There's a scene near the ending where Kain stands in front of the huge building in which the main boss is waiting, and it is supposed to be a magnificent view, with a striking music and all, but the fog hides the building so much that you barely can get a glimpse of its silhouette. It's like 'what´s with the ominous music and all the camera action? what am I supposed to be so amazed at?... oh, there it is, it looks like there´s a big building behind all the fog...'.

The use of in-game graphics for cutscenes is —as usual— sort of a mixed bag. Even though the graphics DO look good enough as to make a good cutscene, animation still needs some workaround, and it clearly tells in some scenes that look really awful, specially the ones that involve physical contact between two characters.

Finally, there is a terrible bug in the game which triggers after you've been playing for a while (an hour or so), where the game bounces back to the desktop with no warning or message whatsoever. This is indeed a useful way of telling you 'hey, you played for quite a long time already, don't you think it's enough for today?', but I like to make those kind of decisions myself.



The Bottom Line
Blood Omen 2 is a minor installment in a major series. This is not bad at all, and it hints the possibility of other 'minor side-chapters' appearing in the future (Vorador is shown alive already in the intro cutscene, which raises a question that might ask for a new game to answer it).
As a lover of the series myself I think it would be great to have a new 'small Legacy of Kain' game every now and then while we wait for the next MAJOR chapter.
On the other hand, calling this game Blood Omen 2 might lead people to think this is actually a sequel to BLOOD OMEN, for which I don't think it qualifies.

All in all, the game looks great, the controls are pretty smooth, the voice acting is still the best, and above all the game is FUN, and that's the important thing. While it hasn't got a plot as intriguing and profound as any of the other Legacy of Kain games, this can be forgiven anyway keeping in mind the 'minor installment' thing.

The only thing a future 'minor installment' would NEED is more challenging puzzles. Let's face it, most of the people playing a Legacy of Kain game are grown ups, and anyway kids also deserve a harder challenge than these puzzles.

Windows · by Slug Camargo (583) · 2003

Toto, you're not in Soul Reaver 2 anymore.

The Good
I'll say something. The only other Legacy of Kain game I have played in Soul Reaver 2...and although this game came out several months after SR2, the graphics are actually worse and so are the controls. You'd expect some upgrades, but nah, you don't get that. However, these are fairly minor issues. The highest point in the game is easily the environment and atmosphere. You're a bloodthirsty vampire (EXCESSIVELY bloodthirsty I might add) stalking the streets of a medieval town, with a full moon, dark sky and great architectural drawing. The background goes perfectly with the game and is drawn great, much like the beautiful architecture of the Sarafam Castle in SR2. However, unlike SR2, this world is alive. In that game, the only people you'll meet are the ones you kill and a few people you talk to who develop the plot. This game has people wandering around, who, if not killed, will chat about various topics with each other and provide an interesting backdrop. You don't have to kill everyone, although the game somewhat encourages it. However, there are a lot less cutscenes and the plot doesn't seem to advance as dramatically as in SR2, where confusing and amazing new twists show up at every corner. The next high point, especially compared to Soul Reaver, is the combat. Although the controls are sometimes unresponsive which causes unlimited aggravating deaths every now and then, the combat system itself is very well done. As Raziel in Soul Reaver, you could win the game just by going, whack whack whack, against every foe until they backed down, and occasionally jumping over the stronger attacks. Here,you have to block to live, because the enemies are as skilled and smart as you, and they won't let you score a hit if they can help it. You have to know when to hit and when to block, and some of Kain's Dark Gifts reward blocking too. Another definite high point is the plot itself. You have to have played or at least read about the plot of the whole LoK series to appreciate the depth and complexity of it; this one is not as deep as the time-travelling twists of the previous game. However, once you see how the game ties in with the larger plot, you'll nod in realisation. Kain has a variety of Dark Gifts, or vampiric powers. He starts out with two: one which allows him to power up by blocking and do extra-powered attacks, and one which lets him absorb himself into the mist and do overly-nasty stealth kills on his enemies...extremely useful for ridding yourself of the hordes of knights accompanying that guy with the stupid magic armour, to be sure. As he defeats the various bosses in the game he will gain new powers, which allow him to do things like jump long distances (needed to passs some areas but also great for long-range pounces) and take over the minds of mortals to do his will. Finally the voice acting was great, as in the other games. The actors do great impressions...especially the villagers putting emotion into it, whether its fear (usually fear) or anger in their little conversations. The

The Bad
Now, despite it being a good game, anyone would have quite a few complaints, some more than others. The worst one I have is the puzzles. They are all just throwing switches and pulling crates. That's pretty much it. Gone are the intricate mazes and ancient ruins of Soul Reaver 2. Whoever designed the puzzles fro that game should have been brought in for this one...it had some of the most ingenious puzzles I've ever seen..although that isn't saying much...but still. I found myself aggravated often by those puzzles but now I long to do something more in my puzzles than push boxes and turn wheels. The control failures can cause combat to be unnecessarily annoying, for sure. Too many times I have stood facign away from my enemies while they delivered beatdowns to my helpless back, because the autoface button wasn't working and I couldn't turn around while being walloped. Something has to be done about this, possibly in a patch, and the next game, which I presume there will be one of. Now, although the dark gifts are cool, they are very limited in their use. While Fury, Berserk etc can be used in any combat situation and are great against those stronger enemies and bosses, the rest of them cannot be used widely. Mist is very useful and fun, but you have to have a layer of mist already on the ground to use it, which does not always show up when you want it, and if you step out of the mist your cover is blown. The Jump is good for long distances and pouncing kills, but you can't reach great heights with it (like the boss that you killed to get it). And Charm and Telekinesis are mainly used to flip switches...people under your control cannot fight, or move too far from you and are only good for opening doors. One of my serious quirks is that the game basically encourages you to butcher everyone you meet and drink their blood. Because when your blood/health bar is full, any blood you drink goes toward you Lore Bar, which is essentially experience, once you get enough your max health goes up. So you can make it go up faster by killing off every civilian that crosses your path. It's not the desensitising violence that I'm complaining about here, although I must say that's pretty bad too. THe problem is that it takes away from the depth of the game: Here's some people, kill them. If there were a reason NOT to do this, I would much appreciate it, but the game provides no real incentive not to mercilessly slaughter everyone you see. ANd because of this, the little blood-sucking cinema (which is wierd because rather than biting anyone, Kain sucks the blood out of the body from up to 5 feet away..you have to wonder what the fangs are even for) gets old real fast. THe game would be more interesting if it helped you to be discreet rather than leavign a trail of destruction. My last complaint would have to be Umah. I had thought the LoK games had a good enough plot and gameplay appeal to get all the fans they needed, without having to resort to the ridiculously voluptous, Barbie doll figure lady to haul in horny teenagers. However, it appears they've joined the club. Not only does this badly-disguised hooker alternate between staggering drunkenly around and swaying her hips like she's a doing a striptease, she also dresses in stuff that even the most open minded will be shocked by. There's more cotton in the top of an aspirin bottle than in that outfit. This is just a sorry attempt to attract more interest and should have been toned down...I thought all the feminine attractiveness this game needed was the half of Ariel's face that wasn't torn and mutilated...these games don't need to resort to such ploys. Well, I think I've badmouthed the game enough. Here goes.

The Bottom Line
Overall...this game will appeal to those who like action with a good plot, even one with not so much attention paid to it, to give motivation for the gore. If you are offended by people being whacked bloodily around and streams of blood flying into a guy's mouth, don't play it at all. It's not SR2 graphically with Raziel's complex motions of every limb and karate moves, and the puzzles are disappointing. As an introduction to the LoK series, it's not so great...but it is an overall satisfying game, even if you want to try it out with someone else who has it before you buy.

Windows · by munchner (10) · 2002

Great atmosphere, hit-and-miss gameplay

The Good
The good:

The background graphics are absolutely stunning: beautiful and detailed cityscapes and countrysides. During some levels I posed Kain at the edge of a rooftop or catwalk, looked down at the city, and wished I could have taken a screenshot and printed it out. The game does a great job of bringing you the habitat of the vampire: back alleys, rooftops, catwalks, sewers, tunnels, and other places that mortals are rightly afraid of. The cutscenes are all rendered using the same engine used for gameplay, no faking here.

The timeline is roughly set in the year 1900 or so, in an alternate world: steampunk! The technology is steam, which is used extensively in the game to add a spooky atmosphere (factories, vents, etc.), and an eerie magic power source that glows and sparkles bright green. Combat takes place with hand-to-hand weapons (swords, clubs, etc.), no guns. The world is very well thought out and extensively detailed.

The choreography of the characters is great and very detailed, especially when blocking enemy attacks during a fight. Unfortunately the actual character graphics themselves are poor. Most people look like blurry stick figures. It is very strange to see such poorly drawn characters against a beautiful background. Kain is well drawn, though, which is important since he is the main object you will be looking at throughout the game. Kain wears several different costumes based on what level you are on. I especially like the way Kain's hair flows back and forth depending on what direction he's moving. Watch from a different angle when climbing a ladder during the early levels!

Unlike the helpless automatons of Blood Omen 1, the enemies here have a rudimentary intelligence. When guards hear a noise, they will run to investigate. Civilians will go about their lives, but when things start happening around them, they will become scared. When they see something horrifying (such as Kain feeding), they will scream and run away. These characters having multiple states really add a good feel to the game, making the world seem much more realistic and believable.

Sound effects are great. The game is full of memorable sound effects, such as the clinking sound when climbing a ladder. This game features very good surround sound! If you have a Dolby Pro Logic hookup, and 4 or more speakers, you will be able to hear everything coming from around you and the sounds will be intense. Unfortunately the music is mediocre. There is basically some fast music that plays during fighting, and some slow music that plays when exploring the level, but nothing really stands out. No rocking Castlevania music here!

As a nice minimalist touch, boss fights have no music at all. This is very useful, because sound effects play an important role in fighting a boss: often, you know what action to take based on the sound effects you hear (a taunt from your opponent, machinery being turned on and off, and so on).

Your food in this game, the helpless civilians, are also used to add background plot to the game. It is great to sneak up and overhear two or more civilians standing together and speaking to each other. They talk about things that would be important in their lives: guard duty, coldness of the night weather, dead bodies showing up mysteriously drained of blood.... The dialog is great and really draws you into the world of the game. Unfortunately, if you show yourself in any way, they will be startled and stop the dialog, and there is no way to get them to restart if this happens. So you get the feeling you are missing out on a good part of the game's storyline.

Like Blood Omen 1, the fighting is very easy (most of the time), and they feel compelled to add puzzles to give the game some variety and challenge. Most of the game is well paced, alternating between fight scenes and puzzle-solving scenes. The puzzles are usually based around switches: you must pull various switches to open doors and activate machinery, to get access to the next area of the game. The puzzles will make you stop and think, but are not hard enough to be frustrating. This is a good thing, since this is a vampire game, not a puzzle game.

The levels are very well designed, full of detail, and 3D settings. You climb ladders, leap from rooftop to rooftop, explore sewers, sneak across catwalks, and so on. The vampire's agility is very well used, to travel up and down the cityscape as well as walk around flat areas.

The game is good about telling you how to play. At situations early on in the game where you use an ability or spell for the first time, onscreen prompts will tell you what buttons to press and what to do. You are left to figure out the combat system on your own, though: unfortunately no help is given during the times when you would need it most!

The Bad
The bad:

The game encourages you to kill everything that moves, even when your blood pool is completely full. Scorched earth. It would have been more fun to have to manage the predator/prey relationship with more thought: if a vampire kills too many people, there won't be enough people around to feed on next time when more blood is needed. Since this game is linear, you never return to the same area twice, so this doesn't apply. A shame, since it would have added a nice challenge to the game, and drawn the player more into the world of vampires.

Strangely, there's no traditional vampire kill: the bite at the neck. Kain uses weapons or claws, never fangs. When drinking blood, Kain slurps it through the air, from a distance of several feet away, in a stream of blood flowing directly from the victim's heart into Kain's mouth. This is bizarre, but probably done to be similar to Blood Omen 1. When victims are posed in weird places, it looks silly: you see blood flowing through their limbs, nearby walls, and so on. The victims do twitch as blood is drawn from them, though, a nice touch.

In Blood Omen 1, there was a unique challenge: in order to feed from a victim, you had to damage them almost to the point of death, but not quite. You had to feed from a still-living body. This provided fun variety to the game: you couldn't just attack everything in a frenzied hack and slash, otherwise things would die, and you wouldn't be able to feed and recover your blood pool. You had to deliberately watch your attacks, bringing victims to the point of death, but not killing them. Unfortunately this is not the case in Blood Omen 2. Now, it is reversed: you can only feed from dead bodies, not the living! You have to kill them completely. Even when the enemy is injured and crawling on the ground, near death, you must still do a finishing move (or wait for them to die). This is a disappointment, as Blood Omen 1 was much more elegant in how it handled feeding. You really notice this with the prisoners!

The speech made during cutscenes, and the conversations between civilians, are an important part of the game's storyline. Unfortunately there are no subtitles. Some of the dialog is hard to catch, especially background conversations (often drowned out by nearby sound effects such as machinery). Subtitles would have been nice.

Unlike Blood Omen 1, the game is linear. No true exploration is allowed. This is good in some ways, because the levels are large and detailed, and it would be easy to get bogged down and lost. It would have been wonderful to freely explore the game's world, though. There are a few places where multiple paths can be taken, but these lead only to places to get powerups or find more victims, and inevitably a dead end. The game uses locks, puzzles, barriers, one-way jumps straight down, and other devices to ensure that you can only advance in one direction and can't deviate from the path they want you to take through the level.

The controls aren't as responsive as they should be. There is no way to sidestep to the left or right, except in a limited way during combat. You have to rotate in place or turn during walking. Jumping is great, though, as you can press the jump button again and float slowly down to the ground. Vampires should move swiftfully and gracefully, and this game only partially gets it right.

The camera in this game is very good. The camera seems to do the right thing, almost always showing what the player is interested in. The game even provides a way to manually override the camera's positioning.

Unfortunately the camera can only be rotated 90 degrees around the character, not 180. It would be nice to have a full range of movement. There are also many details on the game that are small and not visible from a distance. The game is good at putting sparkles on game objects that are important to the plot, but it would be nice to be able to zoom in and magnify what the camera's looking at. Vampires have superior senses, and this feature would have helped simulate this, and provided a good visual counterpart to the game's great surround sound. Unfortunately they did not think of this when designing the game.

The hit detection seems off. Many times, a sword or other attack has just narrowly missed Kain, but the game registers a hit anyway. This is very frustrating during a close combat! It seems that character shapes have no interaction with walls, either. Oftentimes, an enemy will be killed, and their body will fall to the floor with half of the body sticking through a nearby wall! Graphics glitches like this tend to ruin the suspension of disbelief, making the game less fun for the player.

The game is a cakewalk until you reach the only thing that scares a vampire: another vampire! The big fight at the end of level 2 is a rude introduction to the game. In my opinion, this is the hardest fight in the entire game! The game's pacing should have been better here, with more challenge in the middle of the levels, so you can gradually learn to play instead of getting steamrollered by the boss.

The controls seem sluggish when fighting. You must learn the enemy's action and anticipate what they will do, in order to move your character properly. Enemies make minor attacks and major attacks. Minor attacks can be automatically blocked, and in fact it is good to block as many attacks as possible, as blocking will increase your "rage gauge" (magic power meter) which allows Kain to cast combat spells. Major attacks can't be blocked, but the enemies make a point of telegraphing their attacks to the point where it is easy to see them coming and prepare to dodge.

Some say that it is boring to have to drink blood from every enemy killed, and slows down the pacing of the game. I disagree. You are a vampire, after all. It also adds an element of danger: you are very vulnerable to attacks while you are feeding. Be careful of your surroundings when feeding. Are you sure you killed every guard, or is there still one hiding?

The ugly:

There is NO WAY to skip the cutscenes. None. If you die in a hard area and have to replay from your last savepoint, you must sit through the cutscenes again. This gets very old the 10th time you are killed by a frustrating boss! Hitting Start pauses the game. You'd think they could have put in an option to let you skip past the cutscenes if you have seen them already! This would also make it possible to "time attack" the game once you have beaten it and became good at it. It is amazing that they forgot to put in a way to skip the cutscenes.

The Bottom Line
This game has a great atmosphere for those of us who like dark gothic games, and especially vampires. If you are a fan of Castlevania you will love this game!

Pro: Vampire atmosphere, background graphics, surround sound

Con: Not long enough, can't explore freely, some gameplay flaws

Best moment: Standing on a perch overlooking a quiet city street at night, looking down, and soaking up the gothic atmosphere.

Recommended for: Fans of steampunk, fans of vampire games, all you Goths out there....

PlayStation 2 · by Krellan (7) · 2003

You're a blood-sucking vampire, what more could you want? Well, better frame rates.

The Good
Blood Omen 2, like its previous edition, has you in control of the vampire Kain. Two hundred years after his defeat on the walls of Meridian, Kain once again, rises to take his place as the ruler of Nosgoth. The characters in this game, from Kain to the Serafan Lord, were all expertly drawn and rendered. Environments, on the other hand, just didn’t seem to have the right mood set to them. Buildings and walls did not look as textured as they should have for a game of this caliber.

The Bad
After all is said and done, there just doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of good to say about this game. For instance, the fighting involves about 30% timing, 10% skill, and 60% luck. I can’t count the number of times that I got handled like a cheap tool, died, restart and not do anything to vary my tactics, and come out on top. In addition to the repetitive fighting, some of the puzzles in the game just seem overly pointless. There is almost no sense of accomplishment after figuring out a puzzle, in fact, you could almost want a swift, sharp kick to the head, for not figuring it out sooner. Another bad mark for this game, has got to be the frame rate. At times, the game can slow down to a pathetic 10 fps or less, and every once in a while, I noticed the word “loading” appear on screen. Even worse, I even had the game completely freeze on me. While these marks don’t do much good for the overall rating of the game, at least the voiceover sucks. No, I take that back, the voice acting was done quite well. Fans of the series will notice that the actors for as Kain and Vorador have returned for this latest installment, but the mixing seems as though it was rushed along without much quality control. As the game progresses, players will note that the dialogue gets more and more ‘off’ with the scenes on the screen, until it seems as though you are watching a bad Godzilla movie.

The Bottom Line
Overall, I would describe this game as Soul Reaver on pot. It just dosn’t live up to the hype that the Soul Reaver games has set up for it. If you’re curious about the beginnings of Kain, and possibly a peek into the origins of Raziel, then by all means, play this game. If, however, you are just looking for a good game to play, may I suggest that you look elsewhere. There just won’t be much interest for you here.

PlayStation 2 · by Jon_Talbain (20) · 2002

Who cares if it's not the classic Legacy of Kain stuff?

The Good
Honestly, when I started playing Blood Omen 2, I thought "OMG, who the hell made the key map for this game?". It was impossible to play on the keyboard, and I was lazy about reallocating the keys. So I decided to use a joypad... what a difference!

Blood Omen 2 made my day with its combats! It is the only game in the whole series in which blocking attacks is an important thing! There are those who say that the attacks are repetitive. For Christ sake, in Soul Reaver 1 and 2 all you had to do is punch, punch, punch, all the time, to get the enemies killed! At least in Defiance you have other options, like playing "badminton" with your enemies, what makes its combats slightly better than in Blood Omen 2. But in trade, Defiance has that annoying camera that forces you to take giant turns only because the direction of this or that platform changed during your jump!

There's something cool introduced in Blood Omen 2 that became worse in Defiance: Kain's leap. In Blood Omen 2 you can choose the distance and direction of your leap, and that was a feature underexploited in game, although excellent. In Defiance, they had fixed those absolutely arbitrary red circles! I think that it was a challenge to the possible realism of the game. I imagine Kain think to himself "man, if I only had one of those red circles around here, I could be in the other side in no time! I really miss the time when I was self-sufficient, like in Blood Omen 2"!

More about the combats: the dark gifts Fury, Berserk and Immolate gave me part of the most stress-relief moments ever granted by a game (much like the head-shots in Counter Strike). You're there, taking all the pain you can get from your enemy, and suddenly, a la Rocky Balboa, you just finish him with a bunch of really hard blasts! Immolate made it less funny, once the enemy get to suffer less, >:) .

Of course it was a two-edged sword, once you could just keep blocking until your bar was full, and then kill the guy with just one strike. But it depends on the player...

The thing of having many ways of killing is something really fun. You can punch them to death, burn them away once and for all, get silently close to them and kill them in several ways, etc. Defiance is also good in this aspect, no doubt about it.

The Bad
As mentioned before, whoever made key map for this game must be fired! The game is quite unplayable with the keyboard. Everyone knows that console ports usually suck, but hey, what about a little effort of making it easier for us keyboard users, eh? Good thing I had a joypad around...

The story is kind of apocrypha, but it fits in the whole series plot. And don't even start with the "WTF is Vorador doing there?" crap, there are reasonable explanations. It is the same that happens to Phantasy Star III: the story is apocrypha and the graphics are different from the rest of the series, so hardcore fans hate it. In both cases, blame it on the development team (which is not the same from the rest of the series), but I still respect their work.

The puzzles are too weak (actually, none of the series' games is better than Soul Reaver in this aspect), and some Kain's dark gifts are underexploited (like the domination thing: what's the point of dominating one's mind if all you can do is to make him pull levers?). In fact, the puzzles doesn't even qualify for it, once you don't need to think to solve them.

The Bottom Line
In the end, what saves Blood Omen 2 is the fun I had with it. It doesn't matter if the story is torn, if Kain looks like he'd just left a beauty contest, if the game is easier than dying by a head shot. The game is as fun as hell (at least for me), and even if it had not the "Legacy of Kain" trademark, I would like it (some would say that if it wasn't a LoK game, it would be good, but not me).

Windows · by chirinea (47508) · 2007

Blood Omen 1 and Soul Reaver - Difficulty: Nightmare. Blood Omen 2 - Difficulty: Mother Goose. Get the picture?

The Good
Well, if you like adventure games that don't require maximizing the use of your creative and intuitive side of the brain, this should be perfect for you. This also is a must for Legacy of Kain fans (like myself) just for historical sake purposes only.

Not much different than Soul Reaver, strangely much less complicated than Soul Reaver. Strange because usually the later the game, the more difficult is gets because there usually are more players familiar with its game style. This game is much more easier. MUCH more easier.

Nice to know that these type of games (vampire) still have the utmost disrespect for humanity. Though I must complain, I was expecting much more blood....

The Bad
Well, not liking this game would be an overstatement. It's still a good and fun game, with a lot killing, fighting, killing, bloodsucking, did I mention killing?

Basically my concerns are that it is disappointing in comparison to Blood Omen 1 and Soul Reaver. Blood Omen and Soul Reaver to my opinion are excellent puzzle solving games that give you migraines, but worth it when you solve the puzzle. In Blood Omen 2, a baby with half a brain could solve the puzzles, sorry for the sarcasm but its true.

It saddens me that there is little education offered in this game, in comparison to Blood Omen 1. In Blood Omen 1, you've got spells, and you can read description about them, different weapons with different uses. Blood Omen 2 doesn't offer many options. The story line is too linear, no secret rooms or such. Even bonuses are usually within sight and not to hard to find. Controls are irritating since you can't side step for some stupid reason. You can't cancel animations which is irritating if you've just loaded your game and have to watch it all over again. Sigh.

Boy, I really hate these 3-D games. Too much graphics, not enough brain.

I was wondering do people actually like these type of games which to my opinion is degrading one's intelligence. Seriously, gamer's like myself would like a challenge. This game is easier than a walk in the park....

The Bottom Line
If it weren't for Kain, I wouldn't go near this game.

Windows · by Indra was here (20752) · 2004

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by nyccrg, Alsy, Patrick Bregger, Cantillon, mikewwm8, DreinIX, Wizo, Scaryfun, Jeanne, Alaedrain, chirinea, Renat Shagaliev, Jacob Gens, Tim Janssen, Emmanuel de Chezelles, Xoleras, beetle120, Cavalary.