- "I didn’t know what impulse stayed my hand – why I had so willingly allowed Kain to escape me, when I had pursued him for so long.
I had no reason to trust Kain, after he had valued me so little.
And yet I found myself intrigued by his words.
I had been too cruelly used to so gullibly play his pawn – but if this world truly had secrets to divulge, I was determined to expose them. "
Soul Reaver 2 is a third-person action-adventure video game, developed by Crystal Dynamics and published by Eidos Interactive. Though initially released as an exclusive title for the PlayStation 2 in 2001, it was ported to Microsoft Windows later that year. It is the third entry in the Legacy of Kain series, and serves as a direct sequel to 1999's Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, picking up where the events of the previous game left off.
Soul Reaver 2 initially continues Raziel's pursuit of Kain, his former master and putative betrayer, but as the story expands, it grows to encompass Raziel's quest for knowledge and freedom as he travels through Nosgoth's eras, unraveling the truth behind his destiny and the secrets of his past. Manipulated on all sides by Kain, Moebius and the Elder God, he exposes the history of the Pillars of Nosgoth, the Soul Reaver, and the vampire-hunting order of the Sarafan which he once served.
Entering production with an accelerated schedule, Soul Reaver 2 was released to positive critical reaction and commercial success, but it did not perform as well in either regard as its predecessor. Although its graphics, involved storyline, atmosphere and voice acting were highly praised, it was criticized for simplistic gameplay and linearity. Shortly afterwards, in 2002, it was followed by Blood Omen 2, which had been developed simultaneously by a secondary Crystal Dynamics team.
The first part of the game is set approximately 30 years before the events of Blood Omen, on the day of Kain's human birth, when Ariel was assassinated by dark forces and Nupraptor caused the Corruption of the Pillars.
The second part of the game is set approximately 100 years after the events of Blood Omen, when Kain refused the sacrifice and caused the Pillars' collapse, resulting in demons infesting Nosgoth.
The third part of the game is set approximately 500 years before the events of Blood Omen in the Sarafan era, around the time that Vorador killed six of the Circle of Nine.
Soul Reaver 2's time travelling plot meant that it was able to bridge the divide between its predeccesors Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain and Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver and weave their tales into a larger more continous history of Nosgoth. As such Soul Reaver 2 was able to include a number of characters that were introduced and had featured in previous titles. Three characters (Ariel, Moebius and Kain) were featured in their third Legacy of Kain title, while a number of other characters returned from the previous two games; and the character of Janos Audron was formally introduced after references in Blood Omen.
- The protagonist of Soul Reaver 2 was once again the vampire-turned-wraith Raziel (voiced by Michael Bell). Having been cast down and sought revenge on his brothers and master Kain in the previous title, Raziel begins this game pursuing Kain as he escapes into the past. As Raziel explores Nosgoth's history he uncovers a number of long-hidden secrets and finds that his vengeance may take a back seat to the trials of history and destiny to come.
- Former protagonist-turned-antagonist Kain (Simon Templeman) returns in a more complicated role. Initially seen as Raziel's master who cast him out and his main enemy in the quest for revenge, Kain's leads Raziel back in time on a journey of discovery that may alter the course of history, with his own motivations shrouded in mystery.
The game begins by retelling the final battle with Kain in the original Soul Reaver: Raziel confronts Kain in the Chronoplast time machine, and the two enter a portal through time to emerge thirty years before the events of Blood Omen. Moebius the Time Streamer tells Raziel that Kain is at the Pillars of Nosgoth, and Raziel goes and confronts him. Kain reveals he has plans to change history to avert the consequences of his decision, when his past self refused to sacrifice himself to restore Nosgoth and doomed the land to eternal decay. Kain vanishes, and Raziel continues northward and finds the vampire Vorador, who hints at a profound secret that the deceased vampire Janos Audron once knew. Deciding to speak with Janos, Raziel returns to the Sarafan stronghold where he again meets Kain, who tells Raziel the Soul Reaver is the only way history can be changed, as he did so when battling William the Just with a future incarnation of the Reaver in Blood Omen. Kain hands Raziel the material Soul Reaver, and the spectral Soul Reaver which Raziel has coils around it. Raziel is faced with a dilemma: kill Kain and submit to fate, or establish his free will by refusing. Raziel avoids dealing the death blow, changing time again before Kain vanishes. Raziel finds Moebius in his timestreaming chamber and forces him to send him to the past, but Moebius instead sends Raziel into the future.
Raziel finds himself far into the future where Demons have overrun Nosgoth. Raziel enters the ruined mountain home of Janos Audron, where Kain warns that dark forces are mustering against both of them. Raziel continues to a Reaver forge, where he finds murals depicting a war between two ancient races, one of which possessed wings and championed the Soul Reaver as a holy relic. These beings eventually became the first vampires following a curse from their enemies. Using the empowered Reaver, Raziel finds another timestreaming device and finally arrives during the time of Janos Audron. Raziel enters Janos' restored retreat and creates a path to Janos' mountain-top inner sanctum. There, Janos reveals himself as the guardian of the Reaver, a vampire weapon that drains the blood of its victims which Raziel is inexplicably drawn to. Suddenly, Sarafan storm the retreat, and Janos teleports Raziel away to sacrifice himself to save him. Raziel returns to save Janos, only to see his human self cut out Janos' heart. The Sarafan leave as the retreat collapses, and Raziel swears vengeance as Janos dies urging him to reclaim the Reaver the Sarafan have taken. Raziel pursues the Sarafan to their stronghold and finds five of his vampire brothers, also Sarafan. Moebius appears and uses his staff to nullify Raziel's spectral Soul Reaver, forcing him to take up the material Reaver.
Raziel uses the Reaver to kill his brothers and eventually impales his Sarafan self with the Reaver. Afterwards, the spectral Soul Reaver coils around the material Reaver, and the two attack Raziel and begin to drain his energy. Raziel then realizes his destiny - to become the soul-devouring entity in the blade that transforms it into a soul-stealing weapon, and thus be stuck in a time loop. Suddenly, Kain emerges from the shadows and draws the Reaver from Raziel, separating the two blades and stopping Raziel from being drawn into them. This event changes time again, and Kain, possessing new memories created by the altered timeline (the events of Blood Omen 2) and tries to warn Raziel about the Hylden. As Raziel dematerializes and enters the spectral realm, he finds the spectral Soul Reaver still bound to him, and realizes Kain has not changed his destiny, merely postponed it. This ending leads into the events of Defiance.
Items, equipment and power-upsEdit
Raziel enemies may be grouped into one of seven families: human factions, undead thralls, demons, sluagh, other creatures and bosses. Each can be further sub-divided into individual enemy types. Many enemies only appear in certain areas, specific realms or particular eras of history.
The most numerous enemies in Soul Reaver 2 were the factions led by the Humans. These usually appeared in most common areas but varied with the time-period, with each faction specifically trained for the threats humans faced in that era. Three human factions were seen with each having sub-types of troops.
- The Vampire Hunters of Moebius's mercenary army were encountered in the Pre-Blood Omen era and consisted of Moebius's (ultimately succesful) crusade to wipe out the vampires of that age, as had been initially seen in Blood Omen. Troops included:
- The close range Vampire hunter swordsmen armed with Falchion swords
- Mid range Vampire hunter pikemen armed with Halberds
- Projectile firing ranged attacking Vampire hunter cannoneers armed with Hand cannons who would keep their distance
- The canine Vampire hunter attack dogs with enhanced senses and speed who would charge when they sensed Raziel, drawing other troops to him.
- The Demon hunters were direct succcessors to Moebius's army encountered in the Post-Blood Omen era, where the humans had adapted to counter the threat of demon incursion into the material realm. Often encountered with heavy armor and more powerful (altough arguably slower) weaponry. Troops included:
- The close range Demon hunter swordsmen armed with Falchion swords
- The mid-range and power attacking Demon hunter axemen armed with heavy Axes
- The projectile firing ranged attacking Demon hunter cannoneers who were armed with hand cannons and usually kept their distance.
- The canine Demon hunter attack dogs with enhanced senses and speed who would charge Raziel when they sensed his presence, drawing other enemies to them.
- The Sarafan were a legendary vampire hunting order in Nosgoth's early history that decimated many bloodlines of vampires and came close to exterminating the race entirely before the collapse of the order after the loss of its leaders in the same era - first appearing in Blood Omen and ultimately inspiring many of the later crusades against vampires. Troops included:
- The close range Sarafan warrior swordsmen armed with long swords
- The mid-range Sarafan warrior pikemen armed with Tridents
- The ranged attacking projectile magic wielding Sarafan warrior sorceresses who kept their distance and would run and call for aid if approached
- The leading 'bosses' of the Sarafan warrior inquisitors.
Undead thrall enemies were reanimated corpses (apparently humans) who were encountered exclusively within locations related to the Ancient Vampires, such as the Reaver forges and Janos Audron's Retreat. Much like the living humans, thralls had troops which could attack from all ranges including:
- The close range Swordsmen thralls who attacked with short swords
- The ranged attacking projectile magic wielding Sorcerer thralls who usually fled when approached
- The mid-range and power attacking Greater thralls who were armed with Scimitars and often carried Emblem keys which they used as shields.
Among Raziel's tougher enemies were the Demons, seen previously in Blood Omen and found initially in the Post-Blood Omen era before being summoned to Nosgoth's early history. The demons were a product of Nosgoth's corrupted future where the boundaires between dimensions had begun to weaken due to the Collapse of the Pillars, allowing the demons to cross over from their native Demon Realm into Nosgoth's Material Realm. Demons were formidable opponents and could follow Raziel into the Spectral Realm. Five demon sub-types were encountered, although it was unclear whether they were different species or linked in some way. These included:
- The grey Lightning demons who attacked using large pincers and electricity
- The green Acid demons who had bladed arms and attacked with purple toxic fluid
- The purple Gas demons who attacked with claws and green gaseous fumes
- The red horned Fire demons who attacked with claws and fire attacks
- The small red Groundlings spawned from fire demons who used jumping and biting attacks
- The powerful and dangerous Black demons who were similar to fire demons except with darker skin and more spikes.
As in Soul Reaver, the Spectral Realm was also a battle ground, with some enemies exclusive to that dimension - both being variants of the Sluagh creature family. As before sluagh do not possess souls themselves; when Raziel damaged them sufficiently, they faded into a transparent state, and he could devour them whole to replenish his health. If he ignored them, however, they would devour souls themselves and quickly recover. Two main classes were seen here, although in addition enemies such as demons and shades could cross realms and follow Raziel from the Material Realm into the Spectral Realm and vice versa. Spectral classes included:
- A new sluagh variant which were first seen here seen - these were commonly encountered jackal-like scavengers of the Spectral Realm that fed on the lost souls within. Often hunting in packs they would flee when outnumbered and sufficiently damaged, however they were noticeably more forthright than their Soul Reaver predecessors and seemed more animalistic in appearance
- A larger and more powerful Greater Sluagh variant were also encountered, these were more muscular and were quadrupedal, moving with great speed on all fours and striking with great power - only standing on two feet to consume souls. Though rarer than their lesser counterparts, the sheer power of the Greater sluagh could stll pose a great threat, especially when encountered along with other Sluagh enemies.
Other creatures fought by Raziel included a diverse range of enemies with less definitive groupings. These included:
- Shades who had the appearance of shadowy humanoid forms with glowing hearts and claws, and represented the first appearance of the Shades creature family. They did not have consumable souls - although the origins given for them later would suggest they were made up of coalesced soul energy. Shades could often be found in dark and secluded locations, such as around ancient shrines and caverns. Shades could be found in both the Material and Spectral Realms and could also cross over to pursue Raziel - possibly due to the weakening of dimensional boundaries. Shades could also be found frequently in places with elemetal power, where they would 'steal' the spirtitual energy and force Raziel into combat.
- Mutants were unique creatures of unclear origins encountered exclusively in the Swamp area in the Post-Blood Omen era, their appearance was vaguely humanoid with a short atrophied body and legs, often held aloft by two larger more powerful arms with tridactyl claws - one of which was particularly large and deformed - they also had long necks and heads with a snout-like appearance with a central beak-like mouth.
Soul Reaver 2 attempted to avert the traditional level-boss nature of videogames and in most cases it was forge puzzles or particular plot-heavy cutscenes which marked the division of 'chapters' (which themselves were rarely organised into particular areas or 'levels'). Nevertheless the final chapters presented Raziel with a'rush' of increasingly difficult enemies, culminating with encounters with previously unseen boss-like characters. These are represented by the highly ranked members of the Sarafan warrior inquisitors and Raziel's former brethren in both his human and vampire lives. Instead of the scripted puzzles seen in Soul Reaver, Soul Reaver 2 presented these encounters as more straightforward combat encounters - and although the inquisitors were incredibly challenging opposition compared to previous enemies, with Raziel rendered invincible byt eh Reaver blade their defeat was inevitable.
- Melchiah and Zephon confronted Raziel in the Cloister of the Sarafan Stronghold, with Melchiah armed with a pike and Zephon a long-sword. Defeating them, Raziel could pass through and onto the Sanctuary Cathedral area.
- Rahab and Dumah confronted Raziel in the nave of the Sanctuary area of the stronghold with Rahab armed with a long-sword and Dumah with a pike. Defeating them Raziel could pass up into the choir of the Sanctuary area.
- Turel confronted Raziel in the choir of the Sanctuary Cathedral armed with a pike. Defeating him allowed Raziel to progress to the Chapter House.
- The final confrontation took place in the Chapter House as Raziel was faced in combat by his former human self - the Sarafan inquisitor Raziel.
Soul Reaver 2 was met with positive reviews. IGN gave it a 9.0, praising the dark atmosphere and intriguing story, but noted that it can become tiresome and drag on. The reviewer also thought the "haughtiness" and drama of the dialogue, particularly between Raziel and Kain, was often overdone. The gameplay was noted to be near identical to the first Soul Reaver game but with less replay value, although the new puzzles involving the elemental powers of the Reaver were enjoyed for being more complex and diverse than the block puzzles of Soul Reaver 1. The improved combat system was also praised.
GameSpot gave the game a score of 8.8, finding the gameplay to be similar to the Tomb Raider series, also published by Eidos Interactive. The change from block puzzles to elemental puzzles were also praised, as was the combat system. However, the game was noted as shorter than the first game with fewer sidequests and puzzles and almost no boss fights, while the original Soul Reaver had seven. The fact that the sequel still did not give a definite resolution to its storyline was also criticized.
- Director: Amy Hennig
- Producer: Rosaura Sandoval
- Executive Producer: Andrew Bennett
- Lead Programmer: Marc David
- Programmers: Jason Bell, Scott Krotz, Hong Park
- Audio Programming: Patrick Den Bekker
- Additional Programming: Jurjen Katsman, Tim van Klooster, Mikael Kalms
- Programming Intern: Matt Smith
- Lead Design: Riley Cooper, Richard Lemarchand
- Design & Scripting: John Dumala, Samuel Villanueva
- Lead Animator: James Guilford
- Animation: Brandon Fernández, Terri Selting, Jeff Wilcox
- Lead Artist: Dan Cabuco
- Environmental Mesh Leads: Aaron Keller, Cory Stockton
- Environmental Mesh: Jesse Johansen, Mark Meier, Casto Vocal
- Senior Environmental Artist: Timothy M. Linn
- Texture & Lighting Artists: Jacob Wendler, Matthew Mocarski, Brian Morrisroe
- Concept Art: Daniel Cabuco, Kory Heinzen, James Guilford, Jacob Wendler, Matthew Mocarski, John Hood
- Creature & Character Modeling: James Guilford, Brandon Fernández, Terri Selting, Jeff Wilcox
- Creature & Character Textures: Daniel Cabuco, Kory Heinzen
- Junior Designer/Artist: Jennifer Fernández, Jeff Johnsrude
- Additional Art: Scott Baker, Don Martinez
- Special Effects Programming: Scott Krotz
- Special Effects: Alberto Forero
- Additional Special Effects: Richard Lemarchand, Aaron Keller, Cory Stockton, Daniel Cabuco, James Guilford, Brandon Fernández, Terri Selting, Jon Guilford
- Story Cinematic Scripting: Jon Guilford
- Additional Cinematic Scripting: Aaron Keller, John Dumala, Richard Lemarchand, Samuel Villanueva, Cory Stockton
- AV Manager: Greg Shaw
- Sound Design & Music Composition: Kurt Harland, Jim Hedges
- Adaptive Audio Programming: Jim Hedges
- Sound Effects: Kurt Harland, Greg Shaw
- Story: Amy Hennig
- Script: Amy Hennig, Paul Jenkins, Kurt Harland, Richard Lemarchand
- Recording Director: Gordon Hunt
- Casting Director: Kris Zimmerman
- Voice Talent:
- Michael Bell as Raziel
- Simon Templeman as Kain
- Richard Doyle as Moebius
- Tony Jay as the Elder God
- René Auberjonois as Janos Audron
- Paul Lukather as Vorador
- Anna Gunn as Ariel
- Recording Studios: SMS, Salami Studios AP
- Full Motion Animation: GlyphX, Inc.
- Test Manager: Billy Mitchell
- Lead Tester – Crystal Dynamics: Jacob Rohrer
- Testers – Crystal Dynamics: Brian Burke, Christopher Pappalardo, Christopher Butterfly, Kip Ernst, Gregg Stephens, Nick Glory, Joseph Greer, Winston Ishigo, Mathew Kutaka, Reid Manchester, Mark Medeiros, Joe Quadara, Benny Ventura
- VP Marketing – Eidos US: Paul Baldwin
- Marketing Director – Eidos US: Chip Blundell
- Product Manager – Eidos US: Matt Knoles
- Marketing Coordinator: Randy Stukes
- PR Manager: Michelle Seebach
- PR Coordinator: Kjell Vistad
- Marketing Illustrations: GlyphX, Inc.
- Manual: Hanshaw Ink & Image
- Package Design: Price Design Team
- Special Thanks: Nixxes Software, Crystal Test, John Kavanagh, Nick Earl, Rob Dyer, Mike McGarvey, Glen Schofield, Sam Player, Paul Reiche, Patrick Cowan, Sean O'Connor, Rita Fovenyessy, Steve Goebel, Malachi Boyle, April Schilling, Andre Rodriguez, David Rhea, Robert Fitzpatrick, Brian Venturi, Christian Chatterjee, Suzanne Cooper ...And especially all of our friends & family who have missed us
- Soul Reaver 2 Official Site - Story (preserved at Dark Chronicle)
- Soul Reaver 2 Official Site - Characters and Enemies (preserved at Dark Chronicle)
- Soul Reaver 2 Official Site - Concept Art (preserved at Dark Chronicle)
- Soul Reaver 2 Official Site (partially preserved at Wayback Machine Internet Archive)
- Soul Reaver 2 Preview Interview (with Andrew Bennett) at GameSpot (preserved at Wayback Machine Internet Archive)
- Soul Reaver 2 Q&A at GameSpot (with Amy Hennig)
- Soul Reaver 2 Developer Interview at IGN (with Amy Hennig)
- Soul Reaver 2 Section at Casto Vocal's Website
- Soul Reaver/Legacy of Kain Section at Daniel Cabuco's Website
- Soul Reaver 2 section at Dark Chronicle (by Marie Tryhorn).
- Soul Reaver 2 Section at Nosgothic Realm (by Tenaya).
- Soul Reaver 2 section at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln).
- Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2 at Wikipedia.