"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 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.
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.
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.