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4.6 out of 5 stars35
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VINE VOICEon 13 February 2004
The Legacy of Kain must stand as the greatest fantasy epic in the popular media that is the least known. The Saga of the Pillars of Nosgoth deepens and reveals more and more fascinating backstory with every passing episode.
Legacy of Kain: Defiance is the game in which the two strands - of Kain, the blood drinker and Raziel, the Soul Reaver - are united, with both characters playable for the first time. Soul Reaver (1) was the first 3D game in the series, and introduced some really original gameplay, most notably the shifting between the Material Realm, the day to day world of the living, and the Spectral Realm - where walls, floors and pillars would distort and shift, sometimes revealing new paths to inaccessible areas. In his pursuit of Kain, Raziel had to find and defeat each of his brothers in brilliantly designed boss battles. In addition there was the Citadel of the Humans, which was not directly related to the plot, but where your behaviour to the humans would determine whether they worshipped you or fled you in terror. Nothing did the ego more good than to watch NPCs fall to their knees at your appearance! However, the depth and beauty of the storyline and the visciousness of the battles was sometimes at odds with the oddly prosaic puzzles that had to be solved for Raziel to progress. Sometimes it seemed that Raziel's saga was advanced not by his ability to switch between realms or his prowess with the Reaver blade, but by his talent for solving jigsaw puzzles! Soul Reaver 2, heavily anticipated (and even more so after it was cancelled for the Dreamcast) was expected to be bigger and better than Soul Reaver 1, but transpired in fact to be little more than a transitional game designed to deepen the backstory of Nosgoth, but very little else. Gone were the side quests and vast explorable environments of Soul Reaver 1; gone were the boss fights. No sooner was a puzzle solved and the Reaver enhanced with a new ability than the player was forced to sit through a seemingly endless cutscene in which either Kain or Moebius would explain to Raziel that everything he had just accomplished in his determination not to act the pawn to either of them, had in fact been entirely what they had expected and wanted him to do; or to fill in the increasingly complex history of Nosgoth and the discovery of Raziel's true nature.
Legacy of Kain: Defiance absolutely overcomes all the problems of the previous two games, with the best balance yet between action, puzzle solving and storytelling. Soul Reaver set the standard for environment design, whereas Soul Reaver 2's largest improvement over its predecessor was in character design, particularly of the enemies you have to fight. Defiance improves even further on both of these elements, with better lighting and shadow effects in addition.
Defiance, it has to be said, is every bit as linear as Soul Reaver 2 - but the saving grace is the compelling urgency of the plot. Raziel and Kain have no time or desire to explore Nosgoth anew, and their singlemindedness is very effectively transmitted to the player. As you progress through the story, even though the complexity grows so that it will be sometimes incomprehensible to any player new to the Legacy of Kain, nobody can fail to be impressed by the increase in excitement and dramatic tension to an absolutely fever pitch, which will by the end of the game leave the player absolutely breathless.
Gameplay is a lot of fun. Both protagonists gain new moves as they increase their fighting experience, and the character animation during fights is of a very high quality, with very satisfying gouts of blood issuing from one's adversaries! Bosses make a very welcome return, at least 10 major ones by my count, plus half a dozen more "minor bosses" in the form of walking statues. Having got approximately half way through the game, I was left with the impression that the serious puzzle element of the previous games had been toned down to please the action fans. Then Raziel arried at Vorador's mansion, a veritable labyrinth of mind-bending complexity sufficient to satisfy the most hardcore of puzzle fiends, which took me two days to solve.
The glory of the entire Legacy of Kain series is the quality of the writing and voice acting. All the former cast members have returned yet again to give us the benefit of their magnificent voice talent: Simon Templeman as Kain and Michael Bell as Raziel are as excellent as ever, and they are perfectly complemented by Tony Jay as the Elder God, Richard Doyle as Moebius and Paul Lukather as Vorador, as well as others I don't want to reveal in case of spoilage.
Gripes and niggles: Whenever a major change in the format of a game occurs you'll see it promoted as "solving the problems of the previous versions", when sometimes there wasn't any problem, and the new system makes it worse. Here this is sadly the case with the camera system. I was entirely unaware of any serious camera issues with the two Soul Reaver games, and certainly the switch to a cinematic, Devil May Cry-style third person camera position creates far more problems than it solves. Furthermore there are more than a few glitches which have crept into the new version, presumably due to insufficient time for testing and a more rigorous insistence on a release deadline. However, as the game progresses the problems become less irritating and are submerged beneath the overall excellence of the game.
An absolutely worthy addition to the Legacy of Kain series, and in fact the best game so far.
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on 16 August 2006
The LOK series has to be one of the most well thought out and in-depth story lines for the PS2. I would deffinatley recommend plaything through all of the games (starting with blood omen 1). My favourite has to be Blood Omen 2 however, Defiance comes second. The combat system is simple and easy to master and also looks really cool. As well as this there are puzzles as well which means the game isn't entirely fighting. All I can say is I truly hope that they make another and if you play through the games you will too. A must have game!
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on 28 November 2004
I love legacy of kain and soul reaver series, this is the best part in it. The story is full of surprises beyond your imagination. I do hope that they will do a new part. This is a must have game indeed
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on 7 September 2004
I must admit I wasn't a fan of Soul Reaver or Soul Reaver 2, i found them both hugely frustrating. I bought defiance on impulse and I'm very glad I did! I think this game is amazing, with just the right level of difficulty to be challenging but not frustrating. The telekinesis powers (especially Kain's) are a welcome addition to the game as they make disposing of the run-of-the-mill enemies so much more fun! If you're a fan of the LOK series (and even if you're not), give this game a go, you won't be disappointed! If you are, come and see me and I'll kill you.
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on 28 December 2006
Perhaps foolishly, I bought Legacy of Kain: Defiance without any prior knowledge of the series other then being promised by a friend that it pandered to my needs as both a Goth and a gamer. He was not wrong, and within two weeks I had bought copies of the entire series, except for the first Soul Reaver (but let's give it time...).

So, my first impression upon sticking the game in the Playstation 2 was that the cinematic sequences and voice acting were superb and, although apparently the last in the series, the game quickly recaps events in past games up until the point we find ourselves in at the start of Defiance, meaning new LoKers don't have to worry. I was a little surprised to find myself playing Kain, as I'd always assumed Raziel to be the main character (as I said, no prior knowledge), but I quickly found Kain shooting to the top of my list of favourite video game characters, as his character is far from one-dimensional and he's much more villainous then he is heroic, after all, this is essentially a vampire game, and Kain is not surprisingly, a vampire. Meaning he drinks the blood of humans. Meaning you play a character that drinks the blood of humans. I'm sure you can understand how fun that is without me needing to explain it to you?

As the game persists it's revealed that you play both Kain and Raziel (who are apparent enemies), both of whom are easy to control, through elaborately detailed Gothic environments, consisting of mainly temples, the spiritual realm (this is a major part of Raziel's game play, but if you are a fan you probably know this already) and the occasional cathedral. The storyline is incredibly involving, with lengthy cut-scenes, all of which, as I mentioned earlier, are superbly acted. By the end of the game I felt so involved with the characters and their intertwined "fates" that I almost cried as they belted out some truly memorable lines.

As the last in the series, this game has, understandably, superior graphics compared to any of the others.

But with every great game comes some bad news too. Firstly, the camera angles can get frustrating... but I won't dwell on that fact, nor will I deduct a star (because really, if this effects your performance enough to worry about it, you aren't performing very well now are you?) and then there is the fact that... nothing compares to Defiance! I was quick to buy Soul Reaver 2 as I'd heard it was more superior then Defiance and I must say, I disagree completely. Firstly, nothing compares to playing a vampire, or the sheer feeling of power you get when the screen shakes as you climb a wall, so having to play as Raziel (and no one else) was a major loss in my opinion. And then there is SR2s combat and controls, which having played Defiance just made me impatient. And gliding is so much more useful in Defiance... And of course there's Blood Omen, a delightful retro romp through dungeons and such, but younger Kain pales in comparison to his future self. And I have yet to play Blood Omen 2... Put simply, anything I attempt to play having completely Defiance seems almost dull in comparison and I quickly find myself resorting back to Defiance, if only for a flick through the cut scenes, or a quick suck on some blood.

Oh yes, and let's not forget that it is far too short for something so addictive. Which is why you might feel compelled to buy the rest of the series if you don't own it already.

So, to cut a long story short, this is an adventure game in which you play a couple of well thought out anti-heroes who are trying to defy fate, and it is, in my opinion, unforgettable and one of my favourite ever games.
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VINE VOICEon 29 April 2004
This is the fourth of the Soul Reaver/Kain games on the playststion 1 and2.The labyrinthian plot of the world Nosgoth moves on with just as many twists,turns and surprises.
If you have played the previous games of Blood Omen (PS1 - and quite rare!),Soul Reaver(PS1),Soul Reaver 2 and Legacy of Kain : Blood Omen 2 then you will be up to date with all the plot lines.If you haven't played any of them then you should really try and pick these up and play them in sequence or you will get so lost with the plot that you will not want to play this newest game through because it will all seem pretty meaningless.
This is by the far the best of the whole series.Why?The graphics for a start are a vast improvement on those that have gone before.They are really polished this time and impress you at all times.Eidos seem to have got to grips with what the PS2 can do.Kain's movement as bats,Raziel's reaver movements and combat styles aresuperb.
How many games do you get to play as 2 of the main leading protaganists?This does it and does it well.The two have different powers and abilities, and because you move forward through the game as each you are drawn to finish one characters' tasks to find out what happened to the plot line of the other.Excellently executed - long enough to be a challenge for each, but not too long for you to get back to the other.
The puzzles are good too - again, they are perfectly weighted.Some are very simple to get you into the game but they get more difficult, but they are logical and consistent so you don't feel you are being held deliberately back.
I personally preferred Raziel's paththrough the game.He acquires more reaver skills and this opens up the path for him.The special moves that come with these are excellent and well worth playing around with once acquired.
That is to take nothing away from Kain though.His telepathic abilities are superb fun.Getting weak?Taking a beating?Just telepathically throw someone onto a spike,off a cliff etc...
So for the two there is scope for tactics and you don't feel that you just need to hack and slash through the game - though you can if you want.
The length of the game is probably the best of the 4 games too.It certainly seems longer than the previous titles, but doesn't feel like it has been stretched out for the sake of it either.
The cut scenes are spot on too - long enough to be interesting and punctuate the action, but NOT huge enough to bore you to tears like in Metal Gear Solid 2.
I would highly recommend this game to anyone who likes the previous reaver/kain games, or likes the Tomb Raider games (the good earlyones!).It is a fine balance of action and puzzle solving.You will love it!!I did - but will we see any more in this series?I hope so!
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on 30 October 2004
As a lok fanatic i absolutely loved this game. Raziel and Kain each persue their own complicated stories untill they meet at a climactic conclusion.
The graphics are brilliant and so are the cutscens (which by the way you can skip).
The only problem is the fact that crystal dynamics has tried too hard to improve this game doing so has caused difficulties such as you cannot move the camera so that you can see clearly which disrupts game play also there are faults lik jumping through walls by mistake and ending up somewher your not ment to be, other than that it is a brilliant game
p.s. if anyone has any news of a new lok game please email me at lokluver@hotmail.com
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on 4 November 2005
Legacy of kain spans over five chapters from Blood omen1,2,Soul reaver 1,2 and Defiance. ps2 fans can be happy to know that you can get all of the Legacy of Kain series on ps2 and I recomend you do because if you know northing about the story then Defiance is abit of a leap forward. By going throught the story you see how Kain and Raziel came to be and why they fight each other. Because Kain is much older than Raziel the Blood omen series is set before Raziels time. In the Blood omen series you see Kains change into a vampire and Kains rise to power in Blood omen 2. In Soul reaver you see why Raziel hates Kain and why he wants revenge. I my self have only completed Blood omen 2 and Defiance Because the voice acting and story are so fantastic by playing thought the Legacy of Kain series the story begins to build by the time you have got to Defiance you will have to know how the story ends. Unfortunatly I know how the story ends but because in Defiance you play as both Raziel and Kain I wanted to know more about Raziel so i have bought soul reaver 1 and plan to by Soul reaver 2 and Blood omen 1. So my advice to you is buy the game if you have played thought the series or at least half the series but not if you havent played any of them. (please note that Blood omen and Soul reaver are on ps1 not ps2)If you have played thought the story you probaly have a favirate character mine is Kain.
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on 12 February 2004
Another fine instalment from Eidos. Any fan of the LOK series will find this game just as good as the last instalments. Also, I see no reason why a newbie to the LoK series will dislike it too!!
The story follows on from the end of the last game, Soul Reaver 2. It follows both of the two main characters of the series, Kain the vampire and Raziel the Wraith. Both battling to find their destiny in the land of Nosgoth.
There are a few differences in this game form the previous ones. One of the best parts of this game is the fact that it follows both Kain and Raziel, both being playable characters and they both follow their own story and both have their own unique characteristics. There is a new combat system too, that introduces a cool new combo system along with some new and old favourite moves. Kain has his vastly improved telekinesis abilities where you can have fun telekinetically throwing your prey around the screen, and Raziel can shift between the materiel realm of the living and the spiritual realm of the dead.
So who will win the battle of the Soul Reavers? The blood thirsty Kain, with his material Soul Reaver blade, or the soul harvester Raziel, with his spiritual Soul Reaver blade.
Buy it, play it and fulfil Kain and Raziel's destiny!!
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on 18 March 2013
if you are a fan of the Legacy of Kain series you will not be dissapointed of this game, the story is the strongest part and also the voice overs which are on the best ones i have seen in a video game. The puzzles are unique. Just if you love hack & slash you will love this game, but be warned --- this is a quite deep game, if you want to know the story play the other titles - Soul Reaver 1 & 2, Legacy of kain : Blood Omen 1 & 2
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