The PlayStation Classics: Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver

Do you have a series you really miss? One where it feels like new games have been teased repeatedly, but you’ve been let down every time? Well, welcome to the life of a Legacy of Kain fan. Since 2003, people have been hoping for a new game. We eventually learned that Legacy of Kain: Dead Sun secretly entered development around 2009, but was canceled in 2012. Nosgoth was announced in 2012, then killed in 2016. It’s heartbreaking. Fortunately, we got the wonderful Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver for the PlayStation in 1999, and its existence as a PlayStation Classic means we have something to cling to.

Getting Used to “New” Tricks

Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver came around during a time when developers were experimenting with what they could do with 3D games. It provided an opportunity to experiment. There are times when it can feel like a platformer. As Raziel goes about his quest to take down his former brethren, he continually gains new abilities that give him access to new areas. His torn wings can be used to glide. He could move blocks to reach new areas. He has access to the mortal and spectral realms. It can even feel like a metroidvania, since eventually he’ll be able to get to new areas with new abilities, like the power of telekinesis.

But, it is also very clearly an action game where you need to fight loads of enemies around you. Humans, Sluaghs, and Vampires are all out to kill Raziel. That means you’ll need to just cut and tear right through him. Initially, this may seem a bit rudimentary and desperate, since he can only use his claws, but eventually new abilities and weapon options become available to him. He’s constantly growing as a warrior, coming into his own.

The Different Sorts of Revenge

What made Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver so great is the stark contrast between Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain and this installment.Both games are tales of revenge, but they  In the original game, Kain was a human who had been turned to a vampire. Initially, he wanted to get revenge for being murdered and find a cure for the vampirism that would give him a chance at revenge. He learns he can have a greater and nobler goal along the way, once he is given the task to destroy the Circle of Nine. People get a choice of how to proceed at the end, but Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver assumes that, well, Kain gives in to the dark side.

This leaves Raziel to seek out a different sort of revenge. Raziel was one of Kain’s chosen. He was his second-in-command and a vampire who helped maintain his lord’s order. Except, Raziel ended up evolving. He grew wings, making him potentially stronger than his leader. Kain threw him into the Lake of the Dead, causing the Elder God to save what was left of him and turn him into a wraith. His task, after being pulled out by The Elder God, is to kill the man who made him what he is: Kain. When put together, someone gets to examine how revenge can different and people can be used by circumstance to become agents of greater beings.

Savoring a Long-Suffering IP

The Legacy of Kain series was an incredible one. It’s a shame that attempts to resurrect the series, like Legacy of Kain: Dead Sun and Nosgoth, failed.Fortunately for people, you can easily play one of the best games in the series right now. Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver is a PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, and PlayStation Vita PSOne Classic. You can get it for $5.99/£4.99. I highly recommend that you do.

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