- "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.
Back story and SettingEdit
Soul Reaver 2 takes place within the fictional land of Nosgoth, where the health of the world is tied to the nine Pillars of Nosgoth, and each Pillar in turn is represented by a Pillar Guardian.[BO1-C2] Before the events of the game, the Guardians became corrupted, and, after Kain killed them in the Blood Omen era to restore their Pillars, he discovered that he was the final one, representing the Pillar of Balance.[BO1-C3][BO1-C12] Refusing to sacrifice himself to restore the Pillars, he doomed Nosgoth to eternal decay and, five centuries later, proceeded to raise his vampire lieutenants, including Raziel, to besiege the land.[SR1-C1][SR1-C6][SR2] Victorious, he set his throne in the ruins of the Pillar of Balance, and established his empire.
Kain's conquest of the land was quickly successful. "Turning" the corpses of their slain enemies, his lieutenants each raised vampire clans, and - within a hundred years - humanity was considered "thoroughly domesticated", with the exception of some vampire hunters roaming the hinterlands in hopes of pursuing their holy war. Kain's empire ruled unopposed for the next thousand years, with the vampires gradually evolving and gaining new gifts. At the height of the power of the empire Kain's chief lieutenant Raziel evolved before his master gaining a set of wings. Seemingly jealous of Raziel, Kain ordered his execution into the Abyss.
Centuries later Raziel was resurrected as a wraith by the Elder God and returned to the Material Realm seeking vengeance. Traversing the wasteland and murdering the vampires, Raziel confronts Kain, who attacks him with the Soul Reaver sword, imbued with a spirit which absorbs its victims' souls. The Soul Reaver shatters when it strikes Raziel, and the blade's spirit binds itself to his arm, becoming his symbiotic weapon the Wraith Blade. [SR1-C5][SR2-C1] Raziel continued his quest for revenge, killing his brothers and devouring their souls to gain new abilities, until he discovered Kain awaiting him in the Chronoplast who offered him one last confrontation. His motives still mysterious, Kain lured Raziel through a time portal into Nosgoth's past.[SR1-10][SR2-C0]
Following Kain through, Raziel is swept into Nosgoth's past where he encounters several important time periods in Nosgoth's history. Initially Raziel appears in the Pre-Blood Omen era during the vampire purge of Moebius's mercenary army 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.[SR2-C1] Two further time periods are also explored as the story progresses, with the second part of the game set in the demon infested Post-Blood Omen era approximately 100 years after the Collapse of the Pillars and the events of Blood Omen[SR2-C5]; and the third part of the game is set in Nosgoth's early history approximately 500 years before the events of Blood Omen in the Vampire purge of the Sarafan, around the time that Vorador killed six of the Circle of Nine.[SR2-C7][SR2-C9]
Soul Reaver 2 establishes that in Nosgoth fatalism is an actuality — history is immutable, and all individuals are subject to predestination.[SR2-C5] Raziel, due to his paradoxical destiny, is the only exception to this rule — his presence enables temporal paradoxes to be triggered, altering history for better or worse.[DEF-C11] Kain relies on Raziel's free will in a bid to outsmart Moebius and resolve the dilemma he faced in Blood Omen, ultimately hoping to enable both the restored Pillars and the vampire race to co-exist in the future.
- "I know who – and what – you are. I should kill you where you stand..."
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.[BO1][SR1][SR2]
- 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.[SR1][SR2]
- 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.[BO1][SR1][SR2]
- 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.[BO1][SR1][SR2]
- 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.[SR1][SR2]
- 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.[BO1][SR1][SR2]
- 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 for Raziel, 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.[BO1][SR1][SR2]
- 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.[BO1][SR2]
- 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.[SR1][SR2] 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.[BO1][SR2]
- "Kain's very existence is a cancer upon this world. As long as he lives, all of Nosgoth is in peril.
You may never again be human, Raziel...
But you can re-embrace the essence of your humanity, and the nobility of your Sarafan heritage.
Go to him, Raziel, and end this."
The game begins with a prologue recapping the last chapter of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver and the final battle with Kain as Raziel confronts him in the Chronoplast, and Kain lures Raziel through a time portal to a darkened room where Raziel is greeted by Time Guardian Moebius.[SR2][SR2-C0][SR1][SR1-10]
Moebius reveals that Raziel has emerged in the Pre-Blood Omen era, thirty years before the events of Blood Omen and that he has "snatched" Raziel from the Time-stream and brought him to the Time-streaming chambers at the Sarafan Stronghold - at the time occupied by Moebius's mercenary army.[SR2][SR2-C1][BO1][BO1-C10][BO1-C11] Despite some misgivings on Raziel's part - due to Raziel's knowledge of Moebius and Moebius's Staff disabling Raziel's Wraith Blade - Moebius reveals their previous association when Raziel was human and encourages him to embrace his humanity, directing him to settle his vendetta with Kain and shows him that Kain awaits him at the Pillars of Nosgoth.[SR2][SR2-C1] As Raziel leaves the stronghold he discovers memorials to the events of Nosgoth's early history and his own personal history as a Sarafan warrior inquisitor in his human life, as well as memorials to the Slaughter of the Circle by Vorador and the death of the infamous Janos Audron and extraction of the Heart of Darkness.[SR2][SR2-C1][SR1][SR1-C7][BO1][BO1-C1][BO1-C6][BO1-C2][BO1-C7] In addition Raziel finds a chapel dedicated to the First paradox - Kain's ill fated assassination of King William the Just twenty years prior which provided the catalyst for the crusades of Moebius's army. In the chapel Raziel finds William's broken Soul Reaver blade laid across his tomb as a relic - the same blade used by Kain to assassinate William and the blade Raziel currently carries in its future non-corporeal form as the symbiotic Wraith Blade.[SR2][SR2-C1][BO1-C10][BO1-C11][SR1][SR1-C5] Experiencing significant distortions Raziel finds his soul being leeched by the Wraith Blade to restore its former self and realizes that wraith blade is a sentient entity that is ravenous and deranged from centuries of imprisonment. Raziel briefly threatens Moebius with the conjoined blades - forcing him to reveal his service of the Elder God - before leaving the stronghold and heading out to explore Nosgoth, finding it to be a world of "abundant life and vitality" compared to the wasteland of Kain's empire in the Soul Reaver era.[SR2][SR2-C1][SR1]
Raziel travels to the Pillars of Nosgoth, and finds Kain awaiting him at the heart of the pillars, themselves pristine and whole in this era.[SR2][SR2-C1][SR2-C2] However instead of the expected battle, Kain begins to reveal a greater quest, picking apart Raziel's vengeful motivation by revealing that he had actively encouraged Raziel's outrage to draw him into following and countering by unexpectedly agreeing that the health and restoration of the Pillars were of paramount importance.[SR2][SR2-C2][SR1] As Kain recounts the stories of his youth and the tale of his birth and the Corruption of the Pillars, Raziel watches in horror as the events unfold before him and off-screen Ariel's death and Nupraptor's madness lead to the corruption of the ancient edifices.[SR2][SR2-C2][BO1-C1][BO1-C2] Finally Kain discusses his fateful dilemma as Balance Guardian thirty years later as he was presented with a choice to sacrifice himself to restore the pillars or rule them in their damnation – analogizing the choice to a coin toss.[SR2][SR2-C2][BO1-C12] Kain recounts how by choosing to preserve the vampire race the pillars had collapsed, but either way the game was rigged.[SR2][SR2-C2][BO1-C12] Most shockingly of all, Kain hints that the Pillars actually belonged to the vampire race and when Raziel counters that for the pillars to be restored Kain must die for new guardians to be born, Kain mysteriously hints at a third choice – a way out of his dilemma, hidden in Raziel's presence – before teleporting away.[SR2][SR2-C2]
Secrets of the PastEdit
- "From the look of it, this door had been sealed for centuries. I began to realize it was no mere coincidence that I found myself standing here – beneath this winged figure, with blue skin and cloven hands so like my own... and bearing this unique key."
Continuing northward, Raziel uncovers a sealed door open only to the bearer of the Reaver which leads to Subterranean Ruins beneath the pillars and discovers murals of a period Before Nosgoth's recorded history where an ancient, winged race raised the pillars to defeat their adversaries. Unexpectedly, Raziel also finds his former benefactor - the Elder God - residing in the chamber, who denounces the murals as "lies" and chastises Raziel for letting Kain "slip through [his] grasp". With the previous revelation that Moebius serves the Elder God, Raziel was far more suspicious of the Elder and their meeting takes on a confrontational tone and ends on a sour note with the Elder encouraging Raziel to remember his rage.[SR2][SR2-C2] Raziel continues out to the Swamp and finds more ruins of the ancient race, uncovering the long-sealed Dark forge where he is able to imbue the Wraith Blade with elemental Darkness to forge the Dark Reaver. As Raziel leaves he is met by the vampire Vorador, who hints at a prophetic role for Raziel but is suspicious of him and frustrated by his ignorance. Revealing that all of the answers Raziel seeks apparently died with his maker Janos Audron, Vorador reflects that they are all "out of luck" before teleporting away. Raziel resolves to return to the Sarafan stronghold and use the Time-streaming chambers within to travel back in time to meet Janos, but first he has to gain entry.[SR2][SR2-C3] Using the Dark Reaver to open ancient sealed doors in the cliffs of the Great Southern Lake he finds his way to the Light Forge and imbues the Wraith blade with elemental Light, forging the Light Reaver and allowing him to activate the mechanism to open the gates of the Stronghold.[SR2][SR2-C4][SR2-C5]
Raziel returns to the chapel within the Sarafan stronghold where he again meets Kain. Kain explains history of the First paradox, noting that history in Nosgoth is immutable and cannot be changed, except for when one carries the Soul Reaver - and when two Reaver-convergence Soul Reavers meet the ensuing paradox can change history - as he did so when battling William the Just in Blood Omen.[SR2][SR2-C5][BO1][BO1-C10][BO1-C11] Kain hands Raziel the physical Soul Reaver from William's tomb, Raziel's wraith blade manifests and exerts its will, pulling the conjoined blades to Kain's throat. Kain reluctantly admits that his destiny is to die there by Raziel's hand, but he encourages Raziel to fight it and prove his Free will. With a monumental effort, Raziel is able to barely divert the blade, avoiding a fatal blow. In doing so he triggers a Second paradox, which creates a new timeline in which Kain survives the confrontation.[SR2][SR2-C5] Still reluctant to trust Kain, Raziel leaves the chapel, and Kain congratulates Raziel, promising there is more for him to unearth. Raziel returns to the timestreaming chambers and find Moebius, apparently shaken by the timeline change, and the two debate Raziel's role and the effect of sparing Kain. Ultimately Raziel threatens Moebius with the Light Reaver forcing him to send him to the past, but as Raziel activates the device it becomes clear that Moebius has deceived Raziel.[SR2][SR2-C5]
- "If I had any doubts about the era I now occupied, this grotesque tableau certainly eliminated them.
For here was Moebius, long since murdered by Kain, lionised and beatified as the martyred leader of his bloodthirsty crusade.
And if I required further evidence, I needed only to behold the gruesome trophy Moebius held aloft - the severed head of Vorador. The final triumphant kill of Moebius' cutthroat mob. His execution marked the annihilation of the vampires.
Far from channelling me into Nosgoth's past, Moebius had propelled me over a century into its ghastly future."
Raziel emerges from the time-streaming chamber to discover the stronghold in ruins and immediately suspects deception. A statue of Moebius holding aloft the head of Vorador as the final kill of Moebius's army confirms that Raziel has arrived in the Post-Blood Omen era a century after the Collapse of the Pillars - an era where Demons have overrun Nosgoth and the mercenaries have become Demon hunters.[SR2][SR2-C5][BO1][BO1-C11][BO1-C12] Raziel converses with the apparent ghost of Moebius, who claims that it was necessary for Raziel to see the results of Kain's decision - Raziel deeply mistrusts the "disingenuous" argument of the time-streamer and voices his doubts that Moebius even is a specter. Raziel's offer to test for sure causes Moebius to vanish.[SR2][SR2-C5] Raziel continues to the Pillars and find the spirit of the former Balance Guardian Ariel lamenting her fate to be trapped at the pillars, following Kain's refusal to sacrifice himself. Ariel too blames Kain for her situation and believes that Kain must die for the pillars to be restored. Her venom causes Raziel to find himself defending Kain, reasoning that the guardians invited the corruption and Kain's decision was calculated to ensure the destruction of the pillars either way.[SR2][SR2-C5][BO1][BO1-C12] Exhausting all lines of questioning Raziel left Ariel and pushed through the caverns, again meeting with the disapproving Elder God before continuing to the Swamp, where he notes the cracked door of an abandoned Time-streaming chamber, before heading further north into the mountains.[SR2][SR2-C5]
Eventually Raziel discovers Janos Audron's Retreat but it is long since collapsed into ruin. Here Raziel again finds Kain who is "biding [his] time". Raziel acknowledges that he doesn't believe killing Kain will make a difference to Nosgoth's future. Kain meanwhile warns Raziel of the unseen dark forces are mustering against both of them, cautioning that they may be trying to trick them into triggering a fatal paradox - where the changes cannot be accommodated by the timeline - which would expel them from history.[SR2][SR2-C5] Raziel continues on and explores a nearby canyon, discovering the facade of the Air Forge. Inside Raziel finds murals that ultimately confirm that the winged race was involved in a legendary war and raised the pillars to banish their enemies to another realm, and they were cursed with bloodthirst in retaliation - becoming Nosgoth's first Vampires. Imbuing the Wraith Blade with elemental Air to forge the Air Reaver, Raziel returns to the swamp and uses it to blow open the doors of the abandoned time-streaming chamber and activates it, hoping to arrive in the past.[SR2][SR2-C6][SR2-C7]
Janos Audron and the Age of the SarafanEdit
- "For all the butchery of Moebius's crusade, this massacre was somehow more chilling...
The killing fields of the Sarafan betrayed a kind of orderly ruthlessness – the cold-blooded righteousness of the true believer."
As he emerges Raziel finds evidence of the Vampire purge of the Sarfan brotherhood and is soon assailed by members of the order, but is wary that the time-streaming device has - without interference - sent him to exactly the era he sought. Raziel returns northward, passing through Uschtenheim and making his way to Janos Audron's Retreat, finding the structure intact in this era but still too high to reach as its construction was intended for winged beings.[SR2][SR2-C7] Raziel manages to enter the retreat and uses various wraith blade enhancements along with a set of Blood chalices to create a series of bridges and ramps, allowing him to reach the highest areas of the retreat and Janos's private chambers. Entering the room Raziel discovers Janos himself - more angelic than the demonic murals he had seen in the Sarafan Stronghold - and apparently awaiting Raziel as a prophetic figure. Janos elaborates on the stories of ancient vampire history and the Genesis of the Pillars and explains that he was called as a "tenth guardian" to guard the Reaver until the Vampire champion - Raziel - arrived to collect it.[SR2][SR2-C8] Janos presents Raziel with the blade but instead of the usual displacement Raziel feels only a nameless dread and asks Janos to take the blade away from him. Shortly afterward a group of Sarafan warriors burst through the door having followed Raziel through the retreat. Sacrificing himself to save Raziel, Janos teleports Raziel to the nearby Fire Forge and faces the Sarafan alone.[SR2][SR2-C8]
Trapped in the forge behind a door sealed with an element he did not possess, Raziel quickly completes the puzzle of the forge and imbues the wraith blade with elemental Fire, forging the Fire Reaver and allowing him to unlock the doors and return to Janos's chamber.[SR2][SR2-C8] Raziel arrives just in time to watch the unmasked leader of the Sarafan inquisitors rip out Janos's heart and Raziel recognizes the inquisitor as his former human self - and realizes the identities of the other inquisitors. The inquisitors recover the heart and take the Reaver blade before retreating as the building collapses. Raziel descends to Janos's body and with his last breaths Janos urges Raziel to retake the Reaver - claiming it was forged for him alone. With Janos's death, Raziel abandons his old beliefs and to honor Janos: pledging to recover the Reaver, take his vengeance on the Sarafan and - recognizing the ancient legends of the Heart of Darkness - return Janos's heart to his corpse in the hopes of restoring him.[SR2][SR2-C9]
Vengeance and DestinyEdit
- "And so it ends. My history comes full circle."
Raziel pursues the Sarafan to their stronghold, assailed by time-travelling Demons and addressed by the Elder God with "ominous finality" along the way.[SR2][SR2-C9] Breaching the Stronghold, Raziel soon finds the Reaver laid across his path and as before he feels a sense of trepidation in the presence of the blade. Raziel is interrupted by Sarafan warrior Malek and Moebius, who arrives bearing his staff which dissipates the wraith blade. Raziel is delayed by the pair as elsewhere in the Stronghold Vorador begins his Slaughter of the Circle.[SR2][SR2-C9][BO1][BO1-C1][BO1-C6] Ultimately left with no other choice of weapon, Raziel takes the Reaver, while Malek and Moebius retreat. Shortly after Raziel discovers he cannot put put the blade down, although it has made him virtually invincible. Raziel continues through the stronghold and he is channeled into encounters with the elite inquisitors of the order - his former brethren in his human life and vampire unlife. Although highly skilled warriors, they are no match for the Raziel's new-found invincibility and ultimately they all fall quickly before his blade.[SR2][SR2-C9]
Eventually Raziel comes face-to-face with his former human self in the Chapter House. The Sarafan Raziel taunts the wraith about the fate of Janos and they battle, with wraith Raziel coming out on top, impaling the Sarafan Raziel on the Reaver and renouncing him completely. With all foes exhausted the effects of Moebius's staff begin to wear off and the Wraith blade manifests, but as it does so it completely leaves Raziel and instead winds around the Reaver blade turning it on Raziel and impaling him. As Raziel's soul is leeched into the blade he has an epiphany and realizes that the blade was not intended to be a soul-stealing weapon - the ravenous Soul devouring entity within the sword, that became the wraith blade was, and always had been, him.[SR2][SR2-C9][SR2-C10]
Raziel despairs at his purgatorial cyclical destiny, but at that moment Kain shows himself and urges Raziel to give in. Initially Raziel is outraged but as he becomes weaker the temporal distortions grow and he realizes that there is a paradoxical moment when his soul is both inside an outside the blade when there is a Reaver-convergence and history can be changed. Kain takes full advantage of the moment - wrenching the Reaver blade from Raziel and causing a Third paradox where history is changed. At first it appears that they may have pushed history too far, but the time-stream ultimately settles down into a new timeline. As new memories bloom in Kain's mind he frantically tries to warn Raziel about the Hylden and the raising of Janos Audron, but his warning is lost as Raziel slips into the Spectral Realm and discovers the wraith blade waiting for him - proof that Kain has only succeeded in temporarily postponing his fate.[SR2][SR2-C10]
The story ends with a short postscript which repeats Raziel's final line of dialogue, commenting on the perils of changing history - ultimately the events are continued in Legacy of Kain: Defiance, although the implications of the new timeline are also explored in the next title Blood Omen 2.[SR2][SR2-C10][BO2][DEF]
- "History abhors a paradox."
- "This is a very dangerous game you're playing, Raziel..."
- ―The Elder God
Like the rest of the Legacy of Kain series, Soul Reaver 2 falls into the action-adventure genre and the gameplay is notably similar to its predecessor Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. The player controls Raziel, a disfigured ghostly "ex-vampire",[SR1][SR2] from a third-person perspective behind Raziel, but players can rotate the viewpoint around him by using the control pad. Gameplay, which is based on the original Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, prompts the player to shift between two planes of existence—the material and spectral realms—to progress. The material realm represents the physical, living world, whereas the spectral realm is a warped mirror of this environment. In the spectral realm, the player cannot manipulate objects and weapons, and water is insubstantial. Raziel's health slowly regenerates in the spectral world, whereas it gradually depletes in the material realm. If Raziel runs out of health in the material world, he is shunted into the spectral realm, and if killed in this plane, he returns to the nearest checkpoint. Save altars enable players to record their progress and continue their game.[SR2]
Raziel retains most of the powers he possessed in the previous game, such as the abilities to glide, climb walls, fire bolts of telekinetic energy, and swim. To sustain his strength and travel between the planes, he must devour souls; this is typically accomplished by defeating enemies. The game's combat consists of a hack and slash system, entailing the use of combinations of attacks before executing a finishing move. The system is subtly more complex than that of its predecessor, as it now entails moves such as ducking, dodging, blocking, low attacks, power attacks, counters and lunges. Human enemies exist only in the material world, and include mercenaries, demon hunters, and the Sarafan, a monastic order of vampire hunters; other material creatures include dogs, thralls, and Mutants. Sluagh are enemies who exclusively inhabit the spirit world, whereas cross-planar beings such as demons and shades can pursue the player between both realms. Enemies leave behind souls when killed, which replenish Raziel's health once consumed.[SR2]
The player's primary weapon is a ghostly version of the Soul Reaver sword, referred to as the wraith-blade. The wraith-blade is symbiotically bound to Raziel, and can be summoned or dismissed at any time in the material world, but, if overused, the sword can turn against Raziel, siphoning his health. Other weapons include claws, and a number of sword, spear and axe variant weapons. As the game progresses, the player encounters magical forges which imbue the wraith-blade with elemental powers associated with darkness, light, air, and fire. These enhancements have various uses, but are only available in the material realm. If Raziel shifts, he loses his active elemental imbuement, and must re-forge the blade at font locations scattered throughout the game world.[SR2]
Objectives are usually outright stated in cutscenes and navigation through Nosgoth's game world is aided by the addition of the World map on the Ring menu and a new Compass on the HUD. These changes, along with a more linear and repetitive world seen in multiple time periods mean that locations are easier to navigate and are generally more memorable, with few opportunities to become lost. Much of the side objectives and open world elements that featured in Soul Reaver are absent from the title with no optional collectibles or side quests present - collectively this means that Soul Reaver 2 does not suffer from the mapping problems that bogged down its predecessor, but also that the game is easily worked through, with less replay value.[SR2][SR1] Puzzles are notably improved over Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, which alongside Shifting puzzles featured predominantly block puzzles. Soul Reaver 2 notably tones down and better incorporates these puzzles and expands the variety of other puzzles, with many now utilizing the environmental effects (such as light beams or air drafts) or the elemental associations of the Wraith blade - and with each Reaver enhancement capable of several different effects dependent on the situation, shifting and imbuing the correct enhancement in the appropriate situation became paramount to solving many puzzles.[SR2][SR1]
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][SR2] 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
- "'Where am I?' is the usual question.
In your case, 'when?' might be more apt."
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 utilize 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.[SR2] 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.[SR2][SR2-C1][SR2-C2][SR2-C3][SR2-C4][SR2-C5][BO1][BO1-C10][BO1-C11]
- 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.[SR2][SR2-C5][SR2-C6][SR2-C7][BO1][SR1][BO2]
- 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.[SR2][SR2-C7][SR2-C8][SR2-C9][SR2-C10][BO1][BO1-C1][BO1-C6]
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[SR2] - 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.
- "Nosgoth in its former glory. The land overflowed with abundant life and vitality."
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.[SR2]
- 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 succeeding 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 omitted in some eras.[SR2]
- 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.[SR2]
- 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 distinct 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.[SR2]
- 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 ostensibly 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.[SR2]
- 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.[SR2]
- Janos Audron's Retreat is the cliff-side 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 preceding 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.[SR2][SR2-C5][SR2-C8]
- 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.[SR2][SR2-C3]
- 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 vampires, 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.[SR2][SR2-C4]
- 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 deity. 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.[SR2][SR2-C6]
- 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, limited 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.[SR2][SR2-C8]
One other returning location - the Chronoplast is seen briefly in the opening Prologue which recaps the final events of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. The Chronoplast does not exist within the Soul Reaver 2 engine and is only featured as part of an FMV cutscene.[SR2][SR2-C0][SR1-10]
Items, equipment and power-upsEdit
- "These ancient obelisks were mysteriously attuned to my spiritual essence.
By simply touching the symbol, I could safely preserve an imprint of my soul – and thus create a milestone to which I could return when weary, and from which I could resume my journey."
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][SR1]
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 wisp 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.[SR2]
Soul Reaver 2 reintroduces the concept of puzzle-related quest items after their absence from Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, however unlike Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain no inventory is used to access them. When gained, Raziel grips the items in both hands and they are held until needed. With both hands occupied Raziel is unable to use abilities such as Swimming, Scaling walls and Gliding, and cannot enter combat. Quest items may be put down but will immediately return to their original position upon doing so. Other significant items and weapons can be seen but are unusable in the regular course of the game.[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.[SR2]
- 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.[SR2]
- Trident 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.[SR2]
- 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.[SR2]
- 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.[SR2][SR2-C1]
- 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.[SR2] The enhancements included:
- The Dark Reaver - which allowed Raziel to blind Sentry eyes, activate Shadow bridges and unlock specific Sealed doors.[SR2][SR2-C3]
- The Light Reaver - which lit up darkened areas, allowed Raziel to activate Light crystals and the Engraved stone and unlock specific Sealed barriers.[SR2][SR2-C4]
- 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.[SR2][SR2-C6]
- The Fire Reaver - which lit up darkened areas, activated the Fire Plinth and could unlock specific sealed doors.[SR2][SR2-C8]
- Other versions of the blade - the physical Soul Reaver and the Reaver - were encountered several times throughout the story and were used as a weapon in the final stages, serving as ostensibly the most powerful weapon in the game.[SR2][SR2-C1][SR2-C5][SR2-C8][SR2-C9][SR2-C10]
- 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.[SR2] The enhancements included:
Raziel abilities were largely identical to those he gained in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver - all abilities were maintained with the exception of the Constricting ability, which was removed.[SR2][SR1]
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). Unlike in the previous installment, Raziel now uses just one hand instead of two to fire force projectiles. They are also necessary to smash obstacles, and can move heavy blocks. Enemies can be slightly damaged by the projectiles and now fatally wounded if necessary. The Reaver bolts of several of the wraith blade enhancements have specific functions that 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 buoyancy 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]
- "My soldiers will not understand your appearance here; they will try to kill you.
You needn't fear them, of course. They're no match for you.
Try to keep the casualties to a minimum, but do what you have to do.
All great movements require a few martyrs..."
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.[SR2]
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.[SR2]
- The Vampire Hunters of Moebius's mercenary army were encountered in the Pre-Blood Omen era and consisted of Moebius's (ultimately successful) crusade to wipe out the vampires of that age, as had been initially seen in Blood Omen.[SR2][SR2-C1][SR2-C2][SR2-C3][SR2-C5] Troops included:
- The close range Vampire hunter swordsmen armed with Falchion swords.[SR2]
- Mid range Vampire hunter pikemen armed with Halberds.[SR2]
- Projectile firing Vampire hunter cannoneers armed with Hand cannons who tended to keep their distance and attack from range.[SR2]
- The canine Vampire hunter attack dogs with enhanced senses and speed who would charge when they sensed Raziel, drawing other troops to him.[SR2]
- 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 (although arguably slower) weaponry.[SR2][SR2-C5][SR2-C7] 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.[SR2]
- The projectile firing ranged attacking Demon hunter cannoneers who were armed with hand cannons and usually kept their distance.[SR2]
- 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.[SR2]
- 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.[SR2][SR2-C7][SR2-C9][SR2-C10][BO1][SR1] Troops included:
- The close range Sarafan warrior swordsmen armed with long swords.[SR2]
- The mid-range Sarafan warrior pikemen armed with Tridents.[SR2]
- The ranged attacking projectile magic wielding Sarafan warrior sorceresses who kept their distance and would run and call for aid if approached.[SR2]
- The leading 'bosses' of the Sarafan warrior inquisitors.[SR2]
Undead Thrall enemies were reanimated corpses (of apparently human origin) who were encountered exclusively within locations related to the Ancient Vampires, such as the Reaver forges and Janos Audron's Retreat.[SR2][SR2-C3][SR2-C4][SR2-C6][SR2-C8] 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 boundaries 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.[SR2][SR2-C5][SR2-C7][SR2-C9][BO1][BO1-C7] These included:
- The grey Lightning demons who attacked using large pincers and electricity.[SR2]
- The green Acid demons who had bladed arms and attacked with purple toxic fluid.[SR2]
- The purple Gas demons who attacked with claws and green gaseous fumes.[SR2]
- The red horned Fire demons who attacked with claws and fire attacks.[SR2]
- The small red Groundlings spawned from fire demons who used jumping and biting attacks.[SR2]
- The powerful and dangerous Black demons who were similar to fire demons except with darker skin and a more spiked appearance.[SR2]
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. sluagh were cannibalistic creatures with a behavior similar to the hyenas, only attacking Raziel when in packs. The aura previously indicating their current health was removed. 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 or even other sluagh 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.[SR2][SR1] Spectral classes included:
- A refined bipedal sluagh variant - 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.[SR2]
- 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 still pose a great threat, especially when encountered along with other sluagh enemies.[SR2]
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 elemental power, where they would 'steal' the spiritual energy and force Raziel into combat.[SR2]
- 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.[SR2][SR2-C5]
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 by the Reaver blade their defeat was inevitable.[SR2][SR2-C9][SR2-C10]
- 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.[SR2][SR2-C9]
- 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.[SR2][SR2-C9]
- Turel confronted Raziel in the choir of the Sanctuary Cathedral armed with a pike. Defeating him allowed Raziel to progress to the Chapter House.[SR2][SR2-C9]
- The final confrontation took place in the Chapter House as Raziel was faced in combat by his former human self - the Sarafan inquisitor Raziel.[SR2][SR2-C10]
With the Legacy of Kain intellectual property awarded to Crystal Dynamics, Crystal swiftly adapted the Shifter concept to become Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver - a Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain sequel set in the far future, however they still planned to return to the character of Kain for a more immediate sequel. While Soul Reaver was still being developed a separate team had been arranged to commence work on Blood Omen 2. Even before the release of Soul Reaver, Crystal Dynamics were aware that they would create a follow-up, but had no "master plan". and when the release of Soul Reaver in 1999 was highly praised and greeted as a critical and commercial success and with the cliffhanger ending - due to many cut and deleted concepts - a sequel was assured. Thus it was conceived that the franchise would be split into two distinct but related series: The Blood Omen arc would focus upon Kain and his development, while the Soul Reaver arc would focus upon the future of the wraith Raziel. The success of Soul Reaver mean that while Blood Omen 2 had begun development first, it would be placed on the back burner with a 2001 release date, while the development of Soul Reaver 2 was given an accelerated development cycle of 18 months and a 2000 release.
Prior to the beginning of development, director Amy Hennig emphasized that the role-playing game elements of Blood Omen, stronger dialogue and character interaction, a greater variety of acquirable mechanics, and wider use of the spectral realm should figure into the sequel. Pre-production began in late 1999, and the project briefly entered development for the Playstation and Dreamcast with a targeted release date in fall of 2000. The team was given approval to switch to the PlayStation 2 after creating a proof-of-concept demo for E3 2000, and the game was announced as an exclusive title for the newer console. Executive producer Andrew Bennett analogized the developers' design sensibilities to the non-linear nature of Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda and Mario franchises, but said it was decided that Soul Reaver 2 would not be a "traditional 'complete a level, fight a boss' type of game". Level designers constructed a generalized puzzle and object-interaction system, helping to prevent an undesired re-emergence of Soul Reaver's abundant block puzzles. Instead of creating more inherent and optional abilities for Raziel, they focused on including new, mandatory enhancements for the Soul Reaver weapon.
On the decision to downplay Raziel's quest for vengeance against Kain in this sequel, Hennig explained, "he's being pretty simple-minded, he's sort of being very black-and-white in his interpretation of things, and being kind of petulant [...] he's not really as heroic as Kain is, and he has a lot of stuff to figure out, basically, about what's going on". Soul Reaver 2 was crafted to feature a more cinematic, story-focused experience than its predecessor, which the developers felt had been "patchy" in this regard. It entered production after Blood Omen 2, but shipped almost six months before the latter game. A separate team within Crystal Dynamics, with creative autonomy, developed Blood Omen 2, and contradictions created by its scenario hindered work on Soul Reaver 2. After researching time travel fiction, Hennig devised a subplot concerning temporal paradoxes to resolve the continuity problems between both titles, and established that Blood Omen 2's story is a product of the final paradox created when Kain saves Raziel at the end of Soul Reaver 2.
British comic book writer Paul Jenkins was drafted by Crystal Dynamics to help refine the game's script. Though Soul Reaver features a variety of boss encounters, Soul Reaver 2 does not; this was a conscious decision on the part of the staff, to ensure the game's pacing more closely emulated that of a novel or a film. In an interview, she stated that "the game will have a proper ending this time", and said "it has a conclusion. It's the end of a chapter. There won't be a cliffhanger". However, the story needed to be restructured several times before its completion, and, like the original Soul Reaver, many planned areas and abilities were excised, including three elemental forges (earth, water and spirit), more Reaver enhancements, and nine "spell-type things". She explained that the project's small programming crew, its switch to the PlayStation 2, and its limited 17 month production schedule had forced the team to "pick their battles", leading numerous features to be simplified or eliminated. Commenting on the final product, lead designer Richard Lemarchand said that Soul Reaver 2 "fell short of what the team had wanted to accomplish. In particular, some puzzles were too opaque, the combat was rather one-dimensional, [and the story] ended without a decent resolution".
Knowing that the continuation for Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver would involve Raziel travelling to the past and relating more to the events of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, Director Amy Hennig extensively studied time travel fiction in her preparation for Soul Reaver 2 and formulated a particular vision for the mechanics of time travel in Nosgoth - that history is immutable, but features a particular loophole - that allowed for historical changes and for the events of Blood Omen 2 to occur. The original Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain was extensively revisited throughout, with many details that were in the background of Blood Omen brought to the fore and fleshed out in Soul Reaver 2 while being expanded. While expanding the series' fiction, Hennig sought to take people back to the characters and mythology of the original Blood Omen, and built on its latent themes, including issues of fatalism, ethical dilemma and morality.[BO1]
Other themes were inspired by the works of Joseph Campbell, and theology surrounding Gnosticism. Concepts which formulated the crux of the story included the idea "that the only way a hero can ever succeed is by following his own path", and the question, "can you change history or not? And if so, what does it mean to change history - in terms of being responsible for the repercussions?"
Soul Reaver 2 was composed by Kurt Harland, of American band Information Society, and Jim Hedges. Harland and Hedges had already collaborated on Soul Reaver, but Hedges had not previously contributed compositions. The adaptive audio framework from the previous game returned; depending on signals from the game in certain situations—such as combat, puzzles, danger or suspense—the game's soundtrack actively changes. Music from both Soul Reaver and Soul Reaver 2 was released on a promotional soundtrack in 2001.
Gordon Hunt returned as the game's recording director, with Kris Zimmerman as casting director. Voice actors from both Blood Omen and Soul Reaver reprised their roles, with Michael Bell playing Raziel and Simon Templeman portraying Kain. The Elder God was again voiced by Tony Jay, Richard Doyle voiced Moebius, and Anna Gunn played Ariel. Paul Lukather, absent from Soul Reaver, rejoined the cast as Vorador. René Auberjonois, the only newcomer to the Legacy of Kain series, provided the voice of Janos Audron.
Like its predecessor, Soul Reaver 2 had a number of features which were planned but did not make the final release, however these were much fewer than the previous title and most were cut at the planning stages usually before being properly integrated into the title. Consequently less of the cut content can be found within the files of the game and it effects the overall product less - especially in comparison to the cliffhanger ending of Soul Reaver.[SR2][SR1]
Perhaps the most notable and complete cut content from Soul Reaver 2 are the missing elemental Wraith Blade enhancements. As with Soul Reaver, Soul Reaver 2 had planned a full set of elemental Reaver enhancements - this time based on classical elements, such as Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Light, Darkness and Spirit. In the final release only four of these were evident in the title, with those of the Dark Reaver, Light Reaver, Air Reaver and Fire Reaver able to be imbued in large puzzle based forges. The remaining three elemental enhancements - the Water Reaver, the Earth Reaver and the Spirit Reaver were removed from the title, but could still be partially activated through Debug menus - the symbols for the missing elements could also be identified along with the others on the dais of the Subterranean Pillars Chamber. The special abilities of these Reaver enhancements were largely unknown and none could be activated in Soul Reaver 2 - with the exception of the ability of the Earth Reaver to allow Raziel to walk along the bottom of flooded areas, however at least one other ability was detailed - the ability of the Spirit Reaver to act like a 'hookshot' in the Spectral Realm, teleporting Raziel to distant tiles. The full list of the Reaver enhancements and their abilities would finally be available in Legacy of Kain: Defiance without the hookshot ability.[SR2][SR1]
Given the trend of the other enhancements it was likely they were intended to be gained in large dedicated forges. Two of these have some details known, with images available of the Earth Forge and the Spirit Forge depicted in concept art and known to have been located beneath the inner lake area - where a large spirit symbol dominates the floor of the lake in the final game. Little is currently known about the Water Forge. It is unknown precisely where these forges and enhancements would have fit into the final game, but some appear to suggest other time periods - developer comments suggest that the storyline would not have been affected by these and would still have concluded the same way. Other areas also had pieces removed or changed, with the Swamp originally intended to have a number of higher areas - including a vampire village - that remain only as solid ruins in the game.[SR2] Uschtenheim also has missing areas, with the rooftops and a number of cliffs appearing solid enough to stand on. Uschtenheim also was also confirmed to be the subject of the initial proof-of-concept - and few of the areas featured made it into the final game.[SR2] Other areas also have a number of minor changes, as features were improved, refined or changed over the course of development; areas with notable changes include the Air forge, Dark forge and Light forge.[SR2]
Another related set of removed were the Reaver augmentations, with each elemental Reaver blade - including the cut blades - also planned to have an extra "augmentation" that could be discovered for an added environmental effect. The final release featured no such side quests or enhancements, however an augmentation effect for the Dark Reaver augmentation was possible to trigger, which turned Raziel almost invisible for a brief period. Ultimately Legacy of Kain: Defiance would finally complete the set of Reaver enhancements, providing the seven enhancements for the wraith blade found in seven different puzzle forges (albeit much smaller than their Soul Reaver 2 counterparts). The augmentation effects would be integrated as the default Reaver spells of each elemental enhancement and did not have to be gained separately.[DEF]
Another side quest line which was similarly removed were the Glyphs that could be found frequently in Soul Reaver. These were planned to return in Soul Reaver 2 - this time based around the individual Pillars of Nosgoth and would be accessed as before from the Ring menu. These can be found in the Debug menus but cannot be used - although development went as far as to include places for them (or placeholder symbols for them in some demo versions) on the ring menu. The exact effects of each glyph are unknown and were not clarififed, only that they were "new ways to interact with the environment that you couldn't do before". These abilities may ultimately have been reintegrated as part of the Balance Emblem seen in Legacy of Kain: Defiance, which were similarly based upon the Pillars.[DEF]
A number of characters, factions and enemy groups were also removed from Soul Reaver 2 - although few appeared to make it passed the concept stage - perhaps most noticeable among these was the absence of vampires after their regular appearances in Soul Reaver. It is known that a cutscene with a female vampire was removed from just before the Shrine in the Pre-Blood Omen era - with dialogue still present and the character model still in the game, albeit pushed beyond the boundaries of the playable area. After this cutscene was deemed less than ideal, another cutscene was planned with Raziel meeting the vampires in a village above the swamp - with the only remains of this being a number of high solid ruins in the swamp area. Concept art reveals that at least four different vampire models were designed and included.[SR2][SR1] Other groups and enemies that were planned but eventually discarded include Vampire worshippers, Demon worshippers, other Wraiths and a number of Unidentified cut enemies. At least one source attributed that a younger Kain would make an appearance, but it is unclear if they misunderstood the separate development of Blood Omen 2.
In addition, some abilities and powers could be found in Debug menus and early versions that appeared perhaps not to have been planned for Soul Reaver 2, but were simply hangovers from the development of Soul Reaver. Abilities which appear to some degree (albeit hidden) but are not involved in Soul Reaver 2 include Constricting, Possession and a number of Soul Reaver combat techniques, such as finishing throws and charged wraith blade finishers.
Whilst development of Soul Reaver 2 was on the original Playstation and Dreamcast, a short proof of concept/tech-demo was put together for E3 2000 with three weeks development time - although the demo was not available to the general public and was considered a "little cobbled-together, behind-the-scenes demo". Other videos were also present apparently depicting an early rendition of the Dark Forge in the Dreamcast version. Seeing the other titles at the show prompted the developers and publishers to start from scratch on the Playstation 2 and drop the other versions. The following year both Soul Reaver 2 and Blood Omen 2 were present and playable at the show, with vidoes also shown.
Also in 2001, playable demos were released, with several versions of the Air Forge demo released from mid 2001 until 2002 in a number of magazines including Playstation Underground, the Official U.S. Playstation Magazine and the Official Playstation 2 Magazine (UK). At least two versions of the demo existed - with slightly different versions presented to the U.S. and European markets. These featured early versions of the Air Forge area, although the different versions both had slightly different elements and features - with the European release being notably further in the development process than its U.S. counterpart.
The game was ultimately released as a Playstation 2 exclusive (as had been announced at E3 2001) on Halloween 2001 on October 31 in North America and was released in Europe almost a month later on November 23. A Japanese release published by Titus Software followed in February 14, 2002. Given its timed console exclusivity, a PC port of the game for Microsoft Windows developed by Nixxes Software did go ahead quickly, with releases on November 20, 2001 in the U.S. and November 30th 2001 in Europe. Despite a few minor alterations there were no appreciable graphical improvements or differences between the PS2 and PC releases.[SR2] The following year, a special edition PC release was made available in the German market which bundled Soul Reaver 2 with Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver and included a number of additional bonus materials and a soundtrack - a later German special edition of Legacy of Kain: Defiance also bundled Soul Reaver 2 and Blood Omen 2 with Defiance.
In contrast to the vast advertising campaigns for Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Soul Reaver 2 did not have a large marketing budget and much of its hype was generated from it industry news, magazine previews and the association with its predecessor. After the game's release, Eidos and BBI partnered to release action figures of Raziel and Kain. Prototype figurines of the vampire Dumah were also created, but they never made it to a mass-production stage.
|Electronic Gaming Monthly||6/5.5/6|
|PC Gamer US||79 out of 100|
|Official PlayStation Magazine||6/10|
|The Adrenaline Vault||4.5/5|
|Compilations of multiple reviews|
On the PlayStation 2, Soul Reaver 2 respectively received an aggregate score of 80.71% and 80/100 from rating websites GameRankings and Metacritic. Various reviewers held its storytelling, visuals and sound in high regard, but described its gameplay as dull and unsatisfying. Doug Perry of IGN praised the game's dark atmosphere and intriguing story, but said that it can become tiresome and drag on. He thought the "haughtiness" and drama of the dialogue, particularly between Raziel and Kain, was often overdone, and noted that its gameplay was near identical to that of its predecessor but with less replay value. Perry enjoyed the new puzzles involving the elemental powers of the Reaver for being more complex and diverse than the block puzzles of Soul Reaver, and praised the combat system. He gave the game a score of 9.0, but in his later review for Defiance, he revised his opinion, saying this rating was "way too high" and "that game told a great story, but just didn't deserve that score".
Joe Fielder of GameSpot gave Soul Reaver 2 a score of 8.8 and called it an excellent sequel, again praising the change to elemental puzzles and the combat system, but criticizing the dearth of sidequests and boss fights, and the lack of definite resolution to the storyline. Electronic Gaming Monthly's reviewer said that it triumphed as an aesthetic showcase, but deemed its gameplay mediocre and unappealing. The reviewer for Game Informer regarded Soul Reaver 2 as "quite engrossing". Star Dingo of GamePro similarly praised its graphics, sound design and voice acting, but condemned missed creative opportunities concerning the potential of the spectral realm and time travel, saying that the game "takes as many steps back as it does forward, and ends up teetering precariously over the brink of being a disappointment". The review concurred with IGN that the plot and dialogue, though entertaining, sometimes bordered on pretentiousness, and Game Revolution's Duke Ferris repeatedly compared the story to a soap opera.
Other critics, such as Gamezone's Michael Lafferty, were less reserved in their praise of the narrative—The Electric Playground referred to it as "a textbook example to other console developers on how to write videogame prose"—but agreed that its complex and involved backstory could alienate some players. The Adrenaline Vault's Mike Laidlaw stated that "the folks at Crystal Dynamics obviously have no kindness in their heart for game reviewers trying desperately to describe the plot". Journalists also commonly cited Soul Reaver 2's poor lifespan and replayability as an issue; the reviewer for Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine opined that "the problem is that there just isn't much gameplay there" and Fielder warned that play "burns bright, but not as long as you'd like".
Publisher Eidos Interactive was "broadly satisfied" with the commercial performance of Soul Reaver 2, which sold more than 500,000 copies by June 2002. Later, Sony re-released it under the "Greatest Hits" label. Shortly after the initial PlayStation 2 release in October 2001, the Microsoft Windows port shipped, developed by Nixxes Software BV. The PlayStation 2 release featured bonus material, including voice casting outtakes, artworks, a soundtrack, trailers, the game's dialogue script, and a compilation of Nosgoth's history.[SR2] In 2002, the game was released in Japan by publisher Titus Software.
- "I could never escape my terrible destiny...
I had merely postponed it."
Prior to the release of Soul Reaver 2, plans for the fourth installment in the franchise Blood Omen 2 were already well known and publicized - with the title even beginning development before Soul Reaver 2. With the release of Soul Reaver 2, the focus shifted to Blood Omen 2 which was slated to be released the next year.
Blood Omen 2 shifted the narrative of the series to a younger Kain, with its events commencing approximately a century after the time of the Post-Blood Omen era witnessed in Soul Reaver 2. The game dealt with Kain's initial attempts to conquer Nosgoth and the forces which stood against him and came to rule the land until his return - throughout the title it was slowly revealed that these were agents of the mysterious "Hylden" mentioned by Kain at the end of Soul Reaver 2. It was initially unclear how Blood Omen 2 had dealt with the Paradoxes introduced in Soul Reaver 2 and thus if its events were the product of an altered timeline. Developer interviews ultimately revealed that Blood Omen 2 was set in the Fourth timeline and dealt with the consequences of the Third paradox seen in the Epilogue chapter of Soul Reaver 2 - few of the direct implications of the timeline change would be seen however. Blood Omen 2 was the least well received of the Legacy of Kain series, achieving mostly average reviews. Many criticized character portrayals and mannerisms, frequent glitches and bugs and poor lip-syncing. Blood Omen 2 also seemed to suffer from the developer intent to separate from the rest of the series, with many feeling that it was a 'spin-off' of the Legacy of Kain series rather than a true addition.[BO2] Despite this, Blood Omen 2 sold relatively well and managed to earn a re-release as part of Sony's Greatest Hits program.
Following on from the poor reception of the Blood Omen 2, a more direct sequel to Soul Reaver 2 was planned which did away with the separation of the Soul Reaver and Blood Omen series designations, reuniting them under the Legacy of Kain banner as Legacy of Kain: Defiance - with both Raziel and Kain starring in alternating chapters. Defiance continued the narrative from the conclusion of Soul Reaver 2, setting its opening chapter "a few years" after the Epilogue of Soul Reaver 2 in the Fourth timeline, implying Kain had used the Chronoplast to search for Raziel after he slipped into the Spectral Realm. Defiance ultimately filled in the gaps between Soul Reaver 2 and Blood Omen 2, revealing the actions and events that had led to the altered Post-Blood Omen era and the Hylden plot, and linking them back to the events of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain.[DEF] Defiance garnered generally positive reviews, with critics highlighting the characters and plotline, and praising the resolution to many long-standing unanswered questions, but criticism was leveled against a poor camera system and a repetitive combat system. Although it sold between 500,000 and 1 million copies, Legacy of Kain: Defiance failed to live up to publisher Eidos Interactive's sales targets. and the series was put on hold some time after.
- 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
- Like Blood Omen 2, the official naming of Soul Reaver 2 is a matter of some dispute. Official sites and production materials list many variants of the title including "Soul Reaver 2: Legacy of Kain", "Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2", "The Legacy of Kain series: Soul Reaver 2", "Soul Reaver 2: The Legacy of Kain series" and simply "Soul Reaver 2". Promotional images and materials perhaps make the distinction clearer, giving the "The Legacy of Kain series" title as a separate component of the logo for each game which can be moved around in relation to the game title and does not have a colon. These suggest that the "Legacy of Kain" or "The Legacy of Kain series" component is being used as an umbrella term to build a brand identity for the separate series, while "Soul Reaver 2" is the official title - this is also how the titles are stylised on the spines of the games themselves. In comparison Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver and Legacy of Kain: Defiance are nearly always referred to with the titles in a specific order with a colon and these specific titles are also present on the spines of each game.
- The release of Soul Reaver 2 was accompanied by an official game guide published by the 'Prima Games' division of Random Houe publishing, which contained tips, guides and a number of other extraneous materials related to Soul Reaver 2.
- Legacy of Kain
- Soul Reaver 2 chapters, transcripts and walkthrough
- Soul Reaver 2 characters
- Soul Reaver 2 locations
- Soul Reaver 2 items
- Soul Reaver 2 equipment
- Soul Reaver 2 abilities
- Soul Reaver 2 enemies
- Soul Reaver 2 terms
- Soul Reaver 2 cast
- Soul Reaver 2 crew
- Soul Reaver 2 cut content
- Soul Reaver 2 gallery
- Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2 at Wikipedia.
- 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 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 GOG.com.
- Soul Reaver 2 Section at Casto Vocal's Website
- Soul Reaver 2 section at GameSpot
- Soul Reaver 2 section: News and Articles at IGN
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Soul Reaver: Background Story at Dark Chronicle (by Marie Tryhorn)
- ↑ Soul Reaver 2: Background Story at Dark Chronicle (by Marie Tryhorn)
- ↑ GLoK Interviews with Amy Hennig at Nosgothic Realm (by Raziel Fan), post #5 (by RazielFan)
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 IGNDC Interviews Crystal Dynamic's Andrew Bennett at IGN (by 'IGN Staff'/Andrew Bennett)
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 5.9 Soul Reaver 2 Director's Interview at IGN (by Douglass C. Perry/Amy Hennig)
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 Soul Reaver 2 manual. Crystal Dynamics. (Eidos Interactive). (October 31, 2001) Download.
- ↑ Prima Games / Demian Linn and David Hodgson. Prima's Official Soul Reaver 2 Guide. (2001)
- ↑ 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver manual (US version). Crystal Dynamics. (Eidos Interactive). (August 16, 1999) Download.
- ↑ Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver manual (UK version). Crystal Dynamics. (Eidos Interactive). (August 16, 1999) Download.
- ↑ Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain manual. Silicon Knights. (Crystal Dynamics). PC. (November 1, 1996) Download.
- ↑ Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain manual. Silicon Knights. (Crystal Dynamics). Playstation. (November 1, 1996) Download.
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 Features: Interview: Soul Reaver's Amy Hennig at SegaWeb (by Craig Hansen)
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 13.6 Soul Reaver 2 Review at Gamespot (by Joe Fielder)
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 14.6 14.7 14.8 Soul Reaver 2 - PlayStation 2 Review at IGN (by Doug Perry)
- ↑ '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 / Mel Odom. Prima's Official Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver Guide. (1999)
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 17.5 17.6 17.7 Official U.S. Playstation Magazine (september 2000), 'Funk Soul Brother' (by John Davison and Joe Rybicki/Amy Hennig) archived at Square Enix Forums
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 18.5 Legacy of Kain: Defiance Designer Diary #1 at Gamespot (by Richard Lemarchand)
- ↑ Blood Omen 2 Designer Diary #1(Page 3) at GameSpot (by Bret Robbins and Mike Ellis)
- ↑ Previews: Legacy of Kain 2: Soul Reaver at SegaWeb (by Craig Hansen)
- ↑ 21.0 21.1 Soul Reaver 2 Q&A at Gamespot (by 'Gamespot Staff'/Amy Hennig)
- ↑ Soul Reaver 2 exclusive to the Sony PlayStation 2 at (by JKDMedia)
- ↑ Blood Omen 2 Interview: Alex Ness at TeamXbox.com (by Steve Barton/Alex Ness)
- ↑ 'Blood Omen 2' at DCabDesign (by Divine Shadow/Daniel Cabuco)
- ↑ Initial Soul Reaver plot at DCabDesign (by Boltar/Daniel Cabuco)
- ↑ Question and Answer with Amy Hennig at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- ↑ Paul Jenkins Sheds Light on The Darkness at IGN (by Rob Burman)
- ↑ 28.0 28.1 The Influence of Literature and Myth in Videogames - PC Feature at IGN (by Douglass C. Perry)
- ↑ 29.0 29.1 Soul Reaver 2 credits at Allgame (Archived at WaybackMachine)
- ↑ Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver credits at Allgame (Archived at WaybackMachine)
- ↑ The Eidos Interview at Interactive Audio Special Interest Group archives (by Brandon Alexander/Jim Hedges, Kurt Harland, Amy Hennig)
- ↑ 32.0 32.1 Eidos packs in the extras with Soul Reaver 2 at Gamespot (by Shahed Ahmed)
- ↑ Soul Reaver 2 at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- ↑ 34.0 34.1 34.2 34.3 Electronic Gaming Monthly (August 2000), 'To Be Kaintinued' (Page 134) (by Crispin Boyer/Amy Hennig) Archived at Square Enix Forums
- ↑ Deleted Elemental Reavers at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- ↑ Deleted Reaver Forges at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- ↑ 37.0 37.1 37.2 Soul Reaver 2 questions at DCabDesign (by Raina Audron), post #2 (by Daniel Cabuco)
- ↑ 38.0 38.1 38.2 My Visit to Crystal Dynamics at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- ↑ The Ruins in the Swamp at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- ↑ 40.0 40.1 40.2 Vampires (Soul Reaver 2) at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- ↑ The Roofs of Uschtenheim at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- ↑ Behind the Scenes - The Aerie at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- ↑ 43.0 43.1 Soul Reaver 2 - screenshots from cancelled PS1 release, internal Air Forge Design documents unearthed at Nosgothic Realm Forums (by Divine Shadow)/ Soul Reaver 2 - screenshots from cancelled PS1 release, Air Forge Design documents at the Eidos Forums (by Divine Shadow)
- ↑ The Soul Reaver 2 Proof of Concept at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- ↑ Early Versions of Soul Reaver 2 at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- ↑ Soul Reaver 2 for the Sega Dreamcast at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- ↑ Soul Reaver 2 at Casto Vocal's portfolio
- ↑ 48.0 48.1 48.2 The Air Forge Demo at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- ↑ 49.0 49.1 49.2 Soul Reaver 2 Air Forge demo (US version)
- ↑ 50.0 50.1 50.2 Soul Reaver 2 Air Forge demo (European version)
- ↑ 51.0 51.1 Soul Reaver 2: Director's Interview - PlayStation 2 Feature at IGN (by Douglass Perry), page 6
- ↑ Reaver Upgrades at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- ↑ 53.0 53.1 The Debug Menu at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- ↑ The Pillar Glyphs at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- ↑ The Full Ring Menu at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- ↑ Raziel Witnesses a Vampire Slaying at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- ↑ Chris@Crystal's Greatest Hits at the Eidos Forums (by Divine Shadow)
- ↑ Weaponry and other questions at DCabDesign (by BazL), post #2 (by Daniel Cabuco)
- ↑ Locate the Female Vampire in Soul Reaver 2 at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- ↑ Soul Reaver 2 deleted dialogue. Crystal Dynamics. Soul Reaver 2. (Eidos Interactive). PlayStation 2. (October 31, 2001)
- ↑ German Special Editions at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- ↑ Soul Reaver 2 Bonus materials
- ↑ The Younger Kain at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- ↑ Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver II Preview at Gamespot (by Frank Povo)
- ↑ Soul Reaver-Style Combat at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- ↑ Possession at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- ↑ 67.0 67.1 Eidos Reveals E3 Showcase at Gamezone (by 'JKD Media')
- ↑ 68.0 68.1 Eidos reveals E3 line-up at Eurogamer (by 'Gestalt')
- ↑ 69.0 69.1 69.2 Soul Reaver 2 release data at GameFAQs
- ↑ 70.0 70.1 Legacy of Kain at Wikipedia.
- ↑ German Special Editions at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln).
- ↑ Retail Action Figures at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- ↑ Prototype Action Figures at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- ↑ 74.0 74.1 Electronic Gaming Monthly, January 2002 (Page 218)
- ↑ 75.0 75.1 Game Informer (Issue 104), December 2001 (Page 91)
- ↑ 76.0 76.1 76.2 Soul Reaver 2 Review for PS2 at GamePro (by Star Dingo) (Archived at Wayback Machine)
- ↑ 77.0 77.1 Soul Reaver 2 - PS2 Review at Game Revolution (by Duke Ferris) (Archived at Wayback Machine)
- ↑ Soul Reaver 2 Review (PC) at Gamespot (by Greg Kasavin)
- ↑ 79.0 79.1 Soul Reaver 2 review at Gamezone (by Michael Lafferty)
- ↑ Soul Reaver 2 - PC Review at IGN (by Ivan Sulic)
- ↑ PC Gamer US, March 2002 (Page 61)
- ↑ Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine, January 2002 (Page 138)
- ↑ 83.0 83.1 Soul Reaver 2 at The Adreneline Vault (by Mike Laidlaw)
- ↑ 84.0 84.1 84.2 Soul Reaver 2 for Playstation 2 at Metacritic
- ↑ Soul Reaver 2 for PC at Metacritic
- ↑ 86.0 86.1 Soul Reaver 2 for Playstation 2 at GameRankings
- ↑ Soul Reaver 2 for PC at GameRankings
- ↑ Legacy of Kain: Defiance Review at IGN
- ↑ Eidos plc Announces Financial Results for the Fifteen Months Ended June 30, 2002 at TheFreeLibrary
- ↑ Andrew Bennett at LinkedIn (by Andrew Bennett)
- ↑ Latest PS2 Games: Greatest Hits (2008)at U.S. PlayStation.com
- ↑ Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2 at Nixxes Projects
- ↑ News - Release: Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2 at GOG.com
- ↑ Now Available - Legacy of Kain: Defiance, Soul Reaver & Soul Reaver 2 at Steam Store
- ↑ The Legacy of Kain Series: Blood Omen 2 at Dark Chronicle (by Marie Tryhorn)
- ↑ Blood Omen 2 release data at GameFAQs
- ↑ Eidos plc: Preliminary Results for the Year to 30 June 2004 at TheFreeLibrary
- ↑ Message from Chris at the Eidos Forums (by Vampmaster)
- ↑ Blood Omen 2 - offficial name at the Eidos Forums (by Paradoks).