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Reviewed: Legacy of Kain: Defiance
Author: Michael Ahlf       Date: November 15th, 2003
Page: 2
Ah, where to begin; To start with, I'm trying to write this review as spoiler-free as I can, but that is really hard. I'll probably inadvertently reveal a few things, but that's that. For the backstory of PREVIOUS LoK titles, your best stop is Dark Chronicle, a fan collection of all the backstory information.

To start with: the fighting system. Unlike previous LoK games, you don't get to use claws, or grab weapons, or duck to attack. Instead, combat is performed by both Kain and Raziel using the Soul Reaver. That doesn't mean it's bad; the limitation to a single weapon allowed Crystal Dynamics to create a much deeper set of attacks WITH that one weapon. There's a button to execute air popups, a normal attack button, and a button to use telekinesis powers (Kain has full control to throw enemies around with TK: Raziel merely slaps people back with it). Also included is a jump button that, while in combat mode, is instead a sidestep button; workable, but annoying when facing the odd boss with a ground-based area of effect attack.

The combat system's real improvement, however, is the ability to chain-combo items. A ground hit can be comboed into an air popup, into an air combo, ending with a TK attack, and so on. Kain and Raziel are FAST, but not overly fast, and they will take damage even with the seemingly infinite combo opportunities, as they are almost never on a one-on-one footing with enemies. 

Death in the game doesn't exist; that is to say, like every Soul Reaver title beforehand, there are no "lives". If Kain or Raziel run out of health, they return to their last checkpoint, and that's that. This is because the focus in the game is on storyline, and not "you have died, continue or not" game mechanics. It still works well.

In terms of storyline, I shall try not to give spoilers, but here's what to expect:

#1 -- Raziel's final destiny and purpose is revealed.

#2 -- Kain's final destiny and purpose is revealed.

#3 -- The final fate of Turel, missing from the original Soul Reaver, is revealed.

#4 -- You get to fight Kain, as Raziel. You get to fight Raziel, as Kain. I'm not telling you in which order.

#5 -- The players "behind the scenes" are finally revealed, including a tie-in to explain some of the annoying plot points from Blood Omen 2.

The bottom line: This game is gold. It pairs the awesome storyline of the previous titles with wonderful, fun gameplay missing from some. Not a button-click movie like Soul Reaver 2, it's got it all.

As an added bonus, it has some really, really great voice talents too.

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Added:  Saturday, November 15, 2003
Reviewer:  Michael Ahlf
Page: 2/3

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