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Playstation 2









Crystal Dynamics



M (Mature)



Q1 2002



- Continuing the Legacy of Kain series

- Nice voice acting



- Bad collision detection

- Slow down

- Stiff animation and plain


- Repetitious game play

- Too much switch pulling



Review: Blood Omen 2 (XBox)

Review: Blood Omen 2 (Gamecube)



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Blood Omen 2

Score: 4/10

In a classic case of the original following in the footsteps of itís own descendant, Blood Omen comes to the scene after itís spawn, Soul Reaver, has enjoyed two successful outings. Capitalizing off of this, Blood Omen drops the top down perspective of itís PS1 days and appears in full 3D. But unfortunately sometimes when an older game duplicates its own spin-offs the final product is a blatant but poor copy of the worst and the best of the offspring.  Such is the case with Blood Omen 2.  

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The story unfolds just like so many other games youíve played except this time youíre on the other side of the good/evil rift. Instead of going on a journey to recapture some evil that has just been unleashed after years of dormancy you play Blood Omen as the reawakened evil that was once locked away by humans returning to the Earth to seek revenge for your exile.  While the game takes place years before the events in Soul Reaver some recurring themes from the Soul Reaver games will be recognizable for fans such as the land of Nosgoth and the Sarafan Lords.

During the game Kain travels through small hamlets, castle like buildings, cathedrals and churches plus many other environments. Typically, most of them feature gothic-esque architecture but ultimately lack any real inspiration or sense of the darkness that is implied in the game. Subtracting from the overall quality of the game's graphics are the rampant slowdown and 32-bit collision detection that single-handedly destabilizes the entire environment. The levels are decidedly non-descript with plain textures unlike what youíd expect from an Xbox or PS2 title and more like first generation Dreamcast adventure games.  The animations also suffer from stiffness and an unpolished feel Ė characters mouths donít move during dialog Ė that makes the game seem rushed and neglected.





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The first Soul Reaver was badmouthed by many a gamer for repetitive and floaty game play concepts which were greatly improved for the second release. Unfortunately, Blood Omenís development team didnít learn much from the Soul Reaver fan-boy complaints as they have implemented almost exactly the game play style of Soul Reaver 1 leaving out the beautifully crafted environments, interesting enemies and intuitive combat system. The result is a trail of switches in need of pushiní or pulliní and levels filled with enemies in need of slaughteriní and not much else.


70% of the game is combat sequences.  Much like Soul Reaver, Blood Omen 2 employs a lock on targeting system that helps keep Kain focused on the issue at hand.  Using various weapons found through out the levels Kain lashes out at his victims in constant need of blood to sustain his life force.  Also, in true vampire style, Kain can only take so much abuse before his rage meter fills up and he unleashes one of various special attacks.  Sadly, soon after the novelty of slashing up an innocent victim and sipping his blood from his body like a 3000-ounce bottle of brew wears thin thereís very little substance left to the game.

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There are a few interesting game qualities to be had though. Kain collects abilities called dark gifts throughout the game and uses them creatively to pass certain parts of the game. Thereís mist, charm, fury and berserk Ė the last of that will make Kain glow before releasing a high-speed attack on any unlucky foes.  Unfortunately, these dark gifts arenít put to use imaginatively enough to reduce the monotony of hitting switches.

The sound and music are adequate but lose points given their uninspired environment Ė like putting perfectly good pastrami on moldy bread, no matter how good the pastrami is itís tainted by association.  The slashing and combat sequences are reflect well audio wise and the eerie vampire music throughout is nice along with the voice acting during cut-scenes which is actually one of the gameís stronger points. At other points, like during boss battles, the lack of music or sound effects lends the game an anti-climatic effect that deducts from the completeness of the experience.

In the end Blood Omen 2 obviously rode the wave of Soul Reaver success all the way into retail and into many gamerís homes.  A blatantly inferior title it parodies all that went wrong with Azrielís adventure banking on the simple notion that gamerís wonít know the difference or will be too fascinated by the constant bloodletting to notice the drop in quality.  Blood Omen is a perfect example of what the brainwashing qualities of advertisement can do. While itís not the worst game ever it makes no effort to be anything but mediocre and lacks the overall environment and appeal that keeps gamers happy. A definite renter if you donít believe me. Otherwise grab a copy of Soul Reaver 2 to slake your thirst for blood.

- Doug Flowe

(May 11, 2002)

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