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Archive Nosgoth for the Thinking Man in Electronic Gaming Monthly issue 147

  • October 2001
  • By Andrew Bennett and Electronic Gaming Monthly
  • Archived by Spirit Kalika and A Gathering of Reaved Souls

Archive Tactical Bloodletting Action in Electronic Gaming Monthly issue 147

  • October 2001
  • By Mike Ellis and Electronic Gaming Monthly
  • Archived by Spirit Kalika and A Gathering of Reaved Souls

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Nosgoth for the Thinking ManEdit

People were P.O.'ed when Soul Reaver 2 on Dreamcast was cancelled. We're talking petitioning, angry letters and just all around being vocally pissed. While the ranting and raving haven't resurrected Raziel on the DC, it's certainly shown just how important this title is to gamers everywhere. Now that PlayStation 2 is the sole means of conveyance for SR2, we may find DC owners begrudgingly purchasing PS2s when the game hits in September to fill the void that Soul Reaver's craptacular ending left behind. "I think the one big feature that fans are waiting for is the story," says Andrew Bennett, executive producer of the Legacy of Kain series. "Soul Reaver 2's storyline has a couple of those 'oh wow' moments where the story elements from all the previous Legacy of Kain games will fall into place for the player." Really? Well, sign us up - Nosgoth's back story thus holds water like a sieve, and we're eager to find out what's patching the holes.

The story wasn't the only thing that left folks hanging in the original Soul Reaver, though. Halfway through the game, players grew tired of shoving blocks around to solve redundant puzzles. Sensitive to SR's gameplay shortcomings, the team promises to try a little harder this time to make Raziel more fun to work with. "The programming team has spent a great deal of time improving Raziel's object-interaction behaviors, allowing us to create unique contextual, lock-and-key-type puzzles," Bennett continues. "Any object can be flagged as a 'lock' and any other object as a 'key.' In its simplest form, the key may be an object won from an enemy which allows Raziel to open a door... or as unique as a heartstone which must be returned to the chest cavity of a sacrificial victim, thus awakening a nearby stone idol."

Bennett and the team plan to plant some of these key items on enemies along the way, thereby forcing Raziel to defeat them before he can move along to a new area. So does this mean Crystal Dynamics is revamping the combat model? Hell's yeah. Remember all those times you just didn't feel like fighting one of Nosgoth's periodic demon sentries, worried that taking one hit would make you lose your precious Soul Reaver? You just jumped over them, didn't you? Well, big man, you'll have a lot more incentive to fight during Soul Reaver 2. "We're making the combat itself more enjoyable with many more attacks, defenses, weapons and fatalities," says Bennett. "We're also adding more areas where the player has to clear all the enemies before a door or other blockage is lifted."

Earning new abilities by defeating your Sarafan brethren not only let you progress through the original Soul Reaver's world, it also gave you access to cool, non-essential areas and new ways to off baddies. The personal upgrades you receive in SR2 are inspired by the same ideas, but they're mostly channeled through elemental upgrades to your Soul Reaver sword. Certain earned elemental attributes are required for gameplay progression, but they'll also assist you in combat, so you'll have to choose which ability to use for every situation.

Just as in Blood Omen 2, the Soul Reaver weapon has become the focal point of the sequel. Crystal Dynamics plans to continue the series for as long as gamers stay interested, so maybe we will see some crossing plot lines within both of these games by way of this significant sword. Let's just hope for a proper ending this time.
Electronic Gaming Monthly[1]

CaptionsEdit

  • Let the bloody fun begin!
  • Raziel
  • EGM's Soul Reaver 2 cover
  • Our Blue Hero, Raziel
Electronic Gaming Monthly[1]

Tactical Bloodletting ActionEdit

We're no scienticians, but our best estimates reveal that 175,000 man-hours were lost waiting through Blood Omen load times on the PS1 back in the day. But if people were willing to sit through idle screens for an eternity just to find out what was around the next pillar of Nosgoth, you can bet they'll want to check out this speedier sequel on PS2, due in November. Chronicling the life of Kain some 200 years after Blood Omen (that's still a good while before the original Soul Reaver), Blood Omen 2 has Kain tracking down the stolen Soul Reaver sword over several action-adventure missions. "It's fair to say that, in terms of gameplay, Blood Omen 2 lies somewhere between Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain and Soul Reaver," says lead designer Mike Ellis, who previously worked on Psygnosis' Colony Wars series. "Blood Omen 2 is much more combat-oriented than Soul Reaver, which is more puzzle-focused." In fact, both games are being handled by entirely different teams at developer Crystal Dynamics.

It's true - we sat down to play the game in progress and were pleasantly surprised with the variety of combat moves and stealth-dependent gameplay. If you thought the blood gout in Legacy of Kain was graphic, you're sure to be floored by Kain's brand of open-heart surgery and skillful head removal. Ellis elaborates: "Blood Omen 2's combat system features a unique set of attacks per weapon, including a combo, stealth kills, grab attacks, a charge move and a ground attack. There is also location-based blocking which sees the defender actually meet the attacker at an interception point, rather than hold a static block frame regardless of the incoming attack's location."

Speaking of stealth kills, we've been hearing a lot about BO2's stealth mode, so we decided to see exactly how Crystal Dynamics implemented such an ambitious feature. The catch is you can only activate your stealth tricks when you come to a location with thick fog covering the ground. It's a tad limiting, since you can't slip in and out of this mode anywhere you please, but it's still a cool gameplay idea. While stealthy, you can sneak up on enemies and innocents, relieving them of excess blood or simply offing 'em in the style of your choosing. Stealth mode is just one of Kain's special skills. He'll also master mind control, extended super-jumps, and a handy little number that makes his target spontaneously combust. The Nosgoth sanitation department loves that one.

While much deeper than its RPG-ish father, Blood Omen 2 will still be centered on action and adventure gameplay rather than puzzles. As the player, you'll be given a lot of options as far as exercising your vampiric powers. "Just how nasty Kain is in Blood Omen 2 depends on how the player wishes to play him," muses Ellis. "It's not necessary to terrify a poor peasant woman and then stalk her as she flees. But I'm sure some players will destroy everything in Kain's path." Nah, we don't know anyone like that...

Electronic Gaming Monthly[2]

CaptionsEdit

  • Inside a Meridian Tavern
  • Kain admires his handiwork
Electronic Gaming Monthly[2]

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Archive Nosgoth for the Thinking Man in Electronic Gaming Monthly issue 147
  2. 2.0 2.1 Archive Tactical Bloodletting Action in Electronic Gaming Monthly issue 147

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