- "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. Crystal Dynamics consciously chose to examine the motivations behind Kain's supposed villany in Soul Reaver 2, making Kain a deeper and more involved character and placing him back at the heart of the franchise.
- After appearing only briefly in the finale of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Moebius the Timestreamer (Richard Doyle) returns in a bigger role in Soul Reaver 2. The guardian of the Pillar of Time appears in some capacity in all three eras, even beyond his scheduled death in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain. Unlike Kain, Raziel is aware of Moebius's "reputation for deceit" from the outset and is extremely cautious of Moebius and his actions, even when Moebius protests his innocence. Nevertheless Moebius's influence is felt throughout the game and Raziel is often forced to contend with Moebius foreknowledge and insight.
- After resurrecting Raziel and acting as a mentor of sorts in the previous game, The Elder God (Tony Jay) returns in a deeper role here, although like other characters its intentions and motivations are called into question through the game. The Elder God is always encountered in the Subterranean Pillars Chamber beneath the main Pillars clearing and is one of the few characters that can appear in all three eras and address Raziel in a continous manner in each. Raziel becomes wary of the Elder God following the revelation of its relationhp with Moebius and its increasingly bombastic claims of godhood.
- Ariel (Anna Gunn) who appears in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain and Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver as guide to Kain and Raziel returns in a lesser role. As Kain's predecessor as Balance Guardian, Ariel is a specter that is bound to the Pillars until her successor restores Balance to the land. She is once more seen in the capacity as bound spirit in an era between her previous appearances and she is much less inclined to help Raziel.
- Vorador (Paul Lukather) returns to the series after being absent - although briefly mentioned - in the future of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver following his death in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain. Vorador is an elder Vampire who advised Kain during his original quest and is seen here in a smilar role, however Vorador clearly understands more of Nosgoth's past and Raziel's fate that he is prepared to tell and seems to distrust Raziel. He appears only in the Pre-Blood Omen era before his previously seen execution.
- Janos Audron (René Auberjonois) makes his first appearance in the series, after being discussed in legends in Blood Omen. An ancient vampire who was infamous for preying upon the village of Uschtenheim until his murder by the Sarafan in Nosgoth's early history. His tale is bound with that of the Heart of Darkness, a relic said to have the ability to restore vampiric unlife. Janos is only seen in the earliest era of Nosgoth's history and had secluded himself to a mountain retreat for several centuries.
- Raziel's brethren in the future Council of Kain's empire - Melchiah, Zephon, Rahab, Dumah and Turel reappear after their appearances in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. With most being seen in Soul Reaver as bosses - with the notable exception of the cut Turel - they take similar roles here but featuring in their much earlier human incarnations as the Sarafan warrior inquisitors - the leadership of the Sarafan order. Also among the inquisitors is the human Raziel and Malek (Neil Ross) - appearing for the first time since Blood Omen and also featuring in his past before becoming the wraith seen previously.
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.
The Spectral and Material RealmsEdit
Like Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, shifting mechanics are fundamental to gameplay and puzzle-solving in Soul Reaver 2 and act in much the same way, however they are noticeably used less in Soul Reaver 2, with less Spectral-dependant effects and puzzles. The Material Realm is Nosgoth's corporeal world, where the living dwell, whereas the Spectral Realm is its afterlife, a mirror plane haunted by spirits and the souls of the dead.
Raziel begins the game with the Shift Glyph, an ability accessible at any time from his ring (inventory) menu, and can freely cast this to shift from Material to Spectral. Alternatively, if his health coil is depleted, Raziel will automatically shift back to Spectral. In the Spectral Realm, he must possess a full health coil and be standing on a planar portal before the Shift Glyph becomes active.[SR1] The major differences between both planes are described as follows:
- "The Spectral Realm is a darker, more twisted version of the Material Realm. As Raziel passes from one plane to the other, the world warps around him, distorting and reshaping itself. This terrain distortion may open a path in one plane which is otherwise impassable on the other."
- "Some of Raziel's mechanics are only effective on one plane or the other. In general, physical actions that require interaction with objects or terrain are only functional in the Material Realm."
- "Different creatures inhabit the Material and Spectral Realms. But some creatures are able to shift planes to pursue Raziel."
- "In the Spectral Realm, time is irrelevant. While Raziel is in the Spectral Plane, time stops in the Material Realm."
- "While in the Material Plane, Raziel constantly burns spirit energy in order to maintain his physical form. To sustain his existence in the Material Realm, Raziel must feed on the souls of his enemies to replenish his spirit-energy. If Raziel becomes too damaged or fails to feed, he will automatically be shunted back into the Spectral Realm."
- "In the Spectral Plane, Raziel's spirit energy gradually recovers. He can accelerate his recovery by devouring the lost souls wandering the Spectral Realm, and consuming the souls of his spectral enemies."
- "At any time, Raziel can easily abandon his physical manifestation, and voluntarily shift from the Material Realm back to the Spectral Plane."
- "In the Spectral Realm, Raziel can only shift back to the Material Plane if his energy is fully restored, and he has a planar portal at his disposal."
Blocks, doors, switches and implements can only be manipulated in the Material world; in the Spectral Realm they are nothing more than insubstantial "shadows", completely immobile and non-interactive.[SR2] Raziel's claws and the Soul Reaver are the only objects he can use in both realms; when traveling to the Spectral Realm, he will automatically drop anything else that he is carrying.[SR2]
Time Periods and Time TravelEdit
Time travel is at the heart of the story and gameplay of Soul Reaver 2. Raziel and Kain both travel backwards in time from the Soul Reaver era in the Prologue and utilise Time travel on several occasions throughout the story in scripted scenes,usually involving the usage and activation of Time-streaming chambers. Each time period visited has different environmental conditions, enemies and hazards. The same areas are visited in each time period, although new doorways and areas may open or close with the passage of time and the effects of the changing times are often the focus of the changes. Three time periods are visited over the course of Soul Reaver 2 (not including the Soul Reaver era seen in the Prologue) these periods are:
- The Pre-Blood Omen era - set approximately 30 years before the main events of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain and 20 years after Kain's murder of William that caused the First paradox. The Pre-Blood Omen era is presented a bright and lush world, filled with greenery and vegetation and many structures seem to be pristine. Raziel can move freely from the Sarafan Stronghold through the 'inner' Great Southern Lake all the way to the Swamp, but access to the mountains is blocked. Enemies include the humans of Moebius's mercenary army.
- The Post-Blood Omen era - set approximately a century after the the main events of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, a century before the initial events of Blood Omen 2 and several centuries before the beginnings of the Soul Reaver era (about 130 years after the previous time period). The Post-Blood Omen era is presented as a dark and dangerous world on the path to becoming a wasteland. Greenery and vegetation is replaced by bare rock, many structures are collapsing into ruin and a storm rages across Nosgoth. Raziel can move freely across Nosgoth from the Sarafan Stronghold but the inner lake cannot be accessed; he can progress north into the mountains to the outside of Janos Audron's Retreat to a nearby canyon housing the Air Forge, but cannot enter the retreat itself which is largely ruined. Enemies include the humans of the Demon hunters, the incredibly dangerous Demons and the unusual mutants.
- Nosgoth's early history - set during the Vampire purge of the Sarafan, roughly coinciding with the Slaughter of the Circle seen in the Prologue of Blood Omen (about 600 years before the previous time period). Nosgoth's early history presents Nosgoth as a wintry realm filled with Ice and Snow, with many structures newly constructed, in the process of being built, or yet to have the distinctive features seen in later eras. Raziel can move freely across Nosgoth from the Sarafan Stronghold but the inner lake once again cannot be accessed; he can progress north into the mountains and can now enter Janos Audron's Retreat, but the nearby canyon seen in later periods is sealed. Enemies include the warriors of the Sarafan
Raziel cannot switch between time periods at will and can only move to a new period at scripted times in the story, being unable to move back - however during development a much greater role for the time streaming chambers and time travel in general was originally envisaged with free movement between time periods, similar to using shifting realms to solve a puzzle. As Daniel Cabuco commented: "We wanted to do a lot more with time streaming but didn't have the time to do it. (like planting a tree that would eventually become a ladder years later when it grew tall enough, etc.)". Cabuco also revealed that in early stages of development as many as five different eras may have been considered, but ultimately these ideas were discarded.
Soul Reaver 2 features an expansive playable world, although the overall world is slightly smaller than its predecessor and considerably more linear. A large area of land at the heart of the playable world is something of a 'hub' area appearing as a constant throughout, with access to different areas at the edges of the world opening and closing at scripted times. The world itself is split into three time periods - the Pre-Blood Omen era, Post-Blood Omen era and Nosgoth's early history - which are encountered successively through the story, with different areas available in each time period and the general world remaining similar throughout, albeit with a number of changes due to the passage of time.
- The Sarafan Stronghold is a walled fortress bearing the hallmarks of a medieval castle and cathedral and is the starting point of Raziel's adventure. It is seen as the headquarters of the eponymous Sarafan priesthood in the early history era and acts as the headquarters of the suceeding vampire hunting order of Moebius's mercenary army in the Pre-Blood Omen era when Raziel first arrives, but is seen abandoned and partially ruined in the Post-Blood Omen era. The fortress contains many relics and murals of earlier history and several significant rooms including the Time-streaming chambers, Circle's gathering-room, Sanctuary Cathedral and the Chapter House. Raziel's journey takes him to and from the Stronghold several times and he ultimately ends his journey within. Most of the Stronghold appears in all three eras, but some rooms are ommitted in some eras.
- The Great Southern Lake is a large body of water surrounding the Sarafan Stronghold. Several ruins and relics can be seen in or around the lake including Raziel's first Checkpoints and Save altars. Passage to other area can also be used, with two entrances to the stronghold (via a dock doorway and a balcony), one path leading to the pillars area and the long-sealed doorway to the Light Forge hidden in the cliffs on the banks of the lake. The lake is seen in all three eras with appropriate historical changes, though one area of the lake is only present in the Pre-Blood Omen era. With Raziel revisiting the stronghold several times, he also passes through the lake repeatedly through his quest.
- The Pillars of Nosgoth represent the heart and spiritual center of Nosgoth and the wider area of the pillars stretches from the shores of the the southern lake to the encroaching swamp in the north. The main clearing houses the Pillars of Nosgoth themselves while surrounding areas are largely grassy valleys with a dsitinct Shrine area nearby. The area is seen in all three eras with the Pillars appropriately pristine in Nosgoth's early history, corrupted for most of the time they are seen in the Pre-Blood Omen era and collapsed and reduced to rubble in the Post-Blood Omen era. As the heart of Nosgoth, Raziel passes through several times and many defining events take place there.
- The Subterranean Ruins is a set of large caverns that emanate from a sealed door behind the pillars, reaching underground to chambers beneath the pillars and rising to break through into the swamp. The caverns contain a number of ruins obstensibly from previous ancient cultures including an open cavern containing a large unusual statue; the other main significant room is the Subterranean Pillars Chamber which is a spectacular chamber beneath the Pillars clearing which is penetrated by the Pillars and decorated with murals of a time Before Nosgoth's recorded history and also inhabited by the Elder God. The cavernous ruins area is seen in all three eras, with the water-level in the caverns changing with each historical era as well as the condition of the pillars room.
- The Swamp a darkened forest area lit by braziers and Ignis Fatuus lanterns and filled with watery marshy terrain which covers an area north of the Southern Lake and appears to have a similar appearance and to occupy a similar space to the Termogent Forest seen in Blood Omen. The Swamp contains a number of fallen buildings and ruins that have been abandoned to the advancing waters including the passages leading to a Time-streaming chamber, the Dark Forge and into the mountains. The Swamp appears in all three eras with different pathways available in each.
- Janos Audron's Retreat is the cliffside residence of the infamous ancient vampire Janos Audron and situated mostly inside a hollow mountain in Nosgoth's northern mountain ranges, surrounded by alpine, rocky terrain and a series of canyons. The retreat and preceeding mountainous area are only seen in the Post-Blood Omen and early history era where the terrain switches from harsh bare rock to ice and snow respectively - although the interior is only accessible in the earlier era. The building itself provides many examples of high balconies and galleries, with several areas reflecting ancient history. Significant areas include Janos's personal chambers, the large open 'inner sanctum' and the Fire Forge.
- The Dark Forge is a relic of the Ancient Vampires - a large temple reminiscent of real world Cambodian structures such and Ankor Wat and hidden in the ruins of the swamp. It has been sealed since the time Before Nosgoth's recorded history and was the first elemental forge discovered by Raziel. The temple contains many ancient relics and murals relating the history of the ancient vampires and ultimately allowed Raziel to imbue the Wraith Blade with elemental Darkness, creating the Dark Reaver. The forge can only be entered in the Pre-Blood Omen era, although its facade is present in all three historical periods.
- The Light Forge is the second ancient temple uncovered by Raziel, found in the banks of the Great Southern Lake. Another edifice of the Ancient vampres, this temple has an Egyptian theme and similarly contains many murals and relics of Nosgoth's ancient history. This forge ultimately allowed Raziel to imbue the Wraith Blade with elemental Light to create the Light Reaver. The forge - and its accompanying area of the Southern Lake - only appears in the Pre-Blood Omen era and cannot be seen or visited in other time periods.
- The Air Forge is the third Ancient vampire shrine discovered by Raziel, this time in the northern mountains nearby Janos Audron's retreat. The Air forge bears the hallmarks of real world aztec and mayan civilizations and similarly contains many murals and history of the period before recorded history, including the apparent sacrificial worship of an ancient diety. The forge ultimately allowed Raziel to imbue the Wraith blade with elemental Air, creating the Air Reaver. The forge - and its accompanying valley - only appears in the Post-Blood Omen era and it cannot be seen or visited in other time periods.
- The Fire Forge is the fourth and last forge to be encountered in Soul Reaver 2 and is found at the heart of Janos Audron's Retreat nearby Janos's private chambers. The forge is mainly gothic in design with some Greco-Roman influences and is much smaller than previous forges, limtied to a complex puzzle in what is effectively a large single chamber. As with the other forges, the fire forge contains apparent references to ancient vampire history as well as a depiction of a familiar, apparently messianic figure. The forge ultimately allowed Raziel to imbue the Wraith Blade with elemental Fire to create the Fire Reaver. As it is only seen within Janos Audron's retreat, the Fire Forge can only be seen and accessed in the early history era and cannot be seen or entered in other eras.
Unlike its predecessor, Soul Reaver 2 operates a checkpoint and save system, whereby Raziel's progress would be temporarily 'remembered' at each activated checkpoint - marked by a whisp of the Wraith blade's energy lighting up the ouroboros ring checkpoints. These would be restored from the last activated checkpoint if Raziel was killed in the Spectral Realm. Permanent saving of position and attributes however required the use of Save altars. When the player loads a saved game, or if Raziel is killed in the Spectral Realm, all variables in Nosgoth (such as abilities earned, enemies and bosses defeated, positions of objects) remain constant, but gameplay always from the last activated checkpoint or save altar.
Items, equipment and power-upsEdit
As in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Raziel maintains his health by consuming souls, which manifest as glowing orbs of energy. In the Material Realm, these are released whenever Raziel slays an enemy, but will quickly disappear if he fails to feed on them within a few moments. Souls abundantly roam the Spectral Realm, and it is not usually necessary to kill enemies to restore his health in that plane. While in close proximity to one or more souls, he must perform a special move to draw them into his body; while doing so, he is susceptible to attack, so the player should usually ensure he is in a safe place or has cleared the area of enemies first. Most of the other power-ups seen in Legacy of Kain:Soul Reaver were absent from Soul Reaver 2[SR2]
Soul Reaver 2 does not feature any retained weapons or armor besides Raziel's claws and the Soul Reaver itself. Instead, environmental hazards and transient weapons are used to overcome enemies. Unlike Legacy of Kain:Soul Reaver, most weapons were now found by defeating enemies rather than being placed in the environment. In addition, all weapons could now kill enemies if enough damage was inflicted Weapons could be broadly be split into one of several categories.[SR2]
- Raziel begins the game with his claws, and can attack with them in either the Material or Spectral Realms. They are the fastest but also the least damaging of the tools at Raziel's disposal.[SR1]
- Torches were a one handed weapon commonly found upon walls in darkened areas set aflame. They were slower but more powerful than claws and would uniquely ignite enemies as a finishing move. Once used torches would be doused, but unlike previous titles, they could not be re-ignited.
- Sword weapons (Falchions, Long swords, Scimitars and Short swords) were one handed bladed weapons, most often found after killing sword-bearing enemies. Sword weapons had a limited range and average damage as well as average speed - they were slower and more powerful than torches and claws however. All variants had identical attributes and had a decapitation finishing move.
- Tridents or Halberd weapons (Tridents, Halberds, Dark Forge staffs, Light Forge tridents, Light Forge halberds) were two handed staff or bladed weapon most often found after killing 'pikemen' enemies. They had a longer range and a slower speed than previous weapons but were also more powerful. All variants had identical attributes and had an impaling finishing move.
- Axe weapons (Axes and Air Forge axes) were a two handed weapon, found decoratively or in the hand of 'axemen' enemies. They were the slowest and most powerful weapon, although with a slightly lesser range than tridents and halberds. All variants had identical attributes.
- The Wraith Blade was Raziel's other innate weapon. Much like in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, the blade was always present in the Spectral Realm but was initially only available in the Material Realm when Raziel was at full health. Shortly into the story the wraith blade was enhanced by a Reaver-convergence and could thereafter be summoned at will regardless of the level of the Health coil - this however came at a price as Raziel's usage of the blade would add to a new Reaver bar, which would quickly drain Raziel's health when sufficiently filled.
- Several enhancements were also available for the Wraith blade based upon classical elements. These were gained from large ancient forges with complicated puzzles that required completion to activate each forge. The enhancements functioned much like the abilities had in Legacy of Kain:Soul Reaver, each allowing Raziel new powers to unlock new areas and progress in the story. The enhancements included:
- The Dark Reaver - which allowed Raziel to blind Sentry eyes, activate Shadow bridges and unlock specific Sealed doors.
- The Light Reaver - which lit up darkened areas, allowed Raziel to activate Light crystals and the Engraved stone and unlock specific Sealed barriers.
- The Air Reaver - which allowed Raziel to walk at normal speed through swampy terrain, activate Air plinths, 'blow open' Cracked doors and unlock specific sealed barriers.
- The Fire Reaver - which lit up darkened areas, activated the Fire Plinth and could unlock specific sealed doors.
- Another version of the blade - the physical Soul Reaver or the Reaver - was encountered several times throughout the story and used as a weapon in the final stages, serving as ostensibly the most powerful weapon in the game.
- Several enhancements were also available for the Wraith blade based upon classical elements. These were gained from large ancient forges with complicated puzzles that required completion to activate each forge. The enhancements functioned much like the abilities had in Legacy of Kain:Soul Reaver, each allowing Raziel new powers to unlock new areas and progress in the story. The enhancements included:
At a basic level, Raziel is capable of melee combat, devouring souls, jumping and gliding (but not flying) with the use of his ruined wings, crouching to perform high jumps and avoid falling in precarious areas, sneaking to avoid enemies, and using the Shift Glyph to shift between the Spectral and Material Realms.[SR2]
- Phase through gates enabled Raziel to will himself through doors, gates and barriers which consist of railings (but not fully-solid gateways). Raziel is able to perform this ability in the Spectral Realm only. Running against any wall will impel Raziel to press up against it and try this move; if he is in Spectral and it is a valid gate with railings, he will force himself through.[SR2]
- Scale walls allowed Raziel to climb certain walls with "worn" textures, but if he is attacked while climbing, he will lose his grip. In the Spectral Realm, these "insubstantial edifices" cannot be scaled.[SR2]
- Raziel maintains the power to fire telekinetic force projectiles and Reaver bolts. Projectiles can be fired from a distance in either realm, and will damage and knock back enemies (into hazards, if sufficiently accurate). They are also necessary to smash obstacles, and can move heavy blocks. Enemies can be severely damaged by projectiles. The Reaver bolts of several of the wraith blade enhancements have specific functions and can be used in puzzles. [SR2]
- Raziel also keeps the Swimming ability first gained in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, meaning his physical body is no longer destroyed upon coming into contact with water, allowing him to swim freely through it and use natural boyancy to his advantage to reach ledges and higher platforms. In the Material Realm, he can swim freely, but in the Spectral Realm the ability has no effect; water still universally retains "neither heft nor lift".[SR2]
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.
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
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- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Soul Reaver 2 manual. Crystal Dynamics. (Eidos Interactive). (October 31, 2001) Download.
- ↑ 'Hey guys what are some of your favorite lok areas and why?' at 'Legacy of Kain Fans' on Facebook (by Stark Spark), post #18/21 (by Daniel Cabuco).
- ↑ Prima Games / Demian Linn and David Hodgson. Prima's Official Soul Reaver 2 Guide. (2001)