Blood Omen 2

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Blood Omen 2
LoK-BloodOmen2-Cover-PC.jpg
Developer(s) Crystal Dynamics
Nixxes Software BV (PC, GC, Xbox)
Publisher(s) Eidos Interactive
Director(s) Glen Schofield[1]
Producer(s) Sam Newman[1]
Designer(s) Mike Ellis[1]
Programmer(s) Tom Desmarais[1]
Artist(s) Steve Ross[1]
Writer(s) Bret Robbins
Steve Ross
Carol Wolf[1]
Composer(s) Jim Hedges[1]
Series Legacy of Kain
Platform(s) PlayStation 2, Xbox, Microsoft Windows, GameCube
Release PlayStation 2 & Xbox
  • NA: March 21, 2002
  • EU: March 28, 2002
Microsoft Windows
  • NA: March 29, 2002
  • EU: April 5, 2002
GameCube
  • NA: December 9, 2002
  • EU: January 24, 2003
Genre(s) Action-adventure
Mode(s) Single-player

Blood Omen 2 is an action-adventure game developed by Crystal Dynamics and published by Eidos Interactive, and the fourth title in the Legacy of Kain series. It was released for the PlayStation 2, alongside Xbox, Microsoft Windows and GameCube ports developed by Nixxes Software BV, in 2002. It is the sequel to the first game in the series, Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, with Blood Omen's protagonist, the vampire Kain, returning as the central character.

Blood Omen 2 chronologically bridges the stories of the original Blood Omen and Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, but it takes place in an alternate timeline created by the events of Soul Reaver 2. Centuries after Blood Omen, Kain is opposed by traitorous vampires and the minions of The Sarafan Lord, and sets out to continue his ascent to power.

While Crystal Dynamics' Soul Reaver team began to produce Soul Reaver 2, a secondary crew started work on Blood Omen 2 in 1999. They sought to create a more action-focused entry in contrast to the Soul Reaver games' emphasis on puzzle-solving. The final product was a commercial success, becoming a Sony's "Greatest Hits" title, but received average reception, with critics citing its lower production values and lack of innovation relative to the Soul Reaver games as flaws.

Gameplay[edit]

Gameplay is presented in 3D and is a combination of combat and puzzle solving. Health is represented by two vials - a red vial symbolizing total hit points, and a blue vial which is an indicator as to how long it will take to increase overall health. Lost health can be regained by draining the blood of a downed enemy or civilian. As progression is made throughout the game, several weapons can be attained, such as a broadsword or staff. Weapons have limited durability and will eventually break if used for excessive blocking. If no weapons are selected, claws can be used to attack, as well as abilities, which are gained by killing bosses. These skills help in advancing through sections of the game, as well as puzzles. Most of the abilities - named Dark Gifts in the game - can only be used once the "Rage Meter" has been filled by defeating opponents.

Plot[edit]

Setting[edit]

The vampire, Kain, refused to sacrifice himself to restore the Pillars of Nosgoth at the end of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, thus damning the Pillars and the world of Nosgoth to an eternity of depravity and decay. Following his refusal, Kain built a vampire army with Vorador's help and attempted to conquer the world.

Four hundred years after the events of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, Kain awakes in Meridian, Nosgoth's industrial capital city. He remembers very little, and is lacking much of his former power. He is greeted by a vampire called Umah, who informs Kain that he has been asleep for two hundred years.

Two hundred years before, Kain's conquest of Nosgoth had been opposed by an army of vampire hunters called the Sarafan Order. The Sarafan Order destroyed Kain's army, and Kain himself was defeated in combat by their leader, the Sarafan Lord who then claimed the Soul Reaver from Kain. In the years since, the Sarafan have imposed harsh martial law on Nosgoth's human population, and started an industrial revolution. Employing 'Glyph magic'—a new kind of magic, deadly to vampires—they have hunted the remaining vampires to near extinction: as a result, several vampires have agreed to serve the Sarafan out of self-preservation. Umah is a member of the Cabal; an underground resistance movement formed of vampires and working to undermine the Sarafan at every turn. The Cabal hopes that Kain will destroy the Sarafan Lord, and the traitorous vampires that protect him.

Kain sets out to get his revenge, reclaim the Soul Reaver sword from the Sarafan Lord, and continue his ascent to power.

Story[edit]

The story is a paradox in Nosgoth`s history. Because Raziel`s soul was not absorbed into the physical Soul Reaver, an alternate history was introduced into Blood Omen 2.This history places Kain at the threshold of gaining his empire,however because of the weakened state of the Pillars, the Hylden race was able to re-enter Nosgoth. With their arrival they created an Industrial Age, hunted the Vampire race to near extinction, and domesticated humanity through harsh martial laws,and overbearing taxation. The Hylden use the status of the defunct Sarafan army as a masquerade to freely exploit Nosgoth to their advantage. Their Glyph magic is a technology created by the Hylden and is deadly to Vampires. The Glyph magic is used to power Nosgoths industrial revolution, and to feed their secret weapon called The Device. The Device is a Doomsday weapon that will destroy all life in Nosgoth that is not Hylden.

The remaining vampires serve the Hylden with their vampiric powers through espionage and reconnaissance on those who work to destroy the Hylden`s objective. The only group ever mentioned as opposing the Sarafan Lord is the Cabal. The Cabal is an underground resistance working to topple the Sarafan`s plans of world domination. Vorador was resurrected in this alternate timeline as the Leader of the Cabal. They plan to use Kain as the unseen hand that will destroy the Sarafan`s operation from the inside. However Kain plans to use this position to reclaim his place as Nosgoth's true ruler. Kain was defeated by the Sarafan Lord through the betrayal of his lieutenants. He finds and kills them in addition to absorbing their dark arts for their betrayal and opposition to his plans of defeating the Sarafan Lord.

After doing a reconnaissance of the Sarafan`s position in Nosgoth Umah, one of Vorador lieutenants discovers the location of an amulet called the Nexus Stone before being captured, and sentenced to death. After being rescued by Kain, Umah informs Kain that the Nexus Stone is what the Sarafan Lord used to defeat him in their battle. Afterward Vorador tells Kain of a secret weapon that will wipe away all life in Nosgoth that is not Hylden. Kain is then told to seek out the Seer, a witch that lives on the outskirts of Meridian. After setting out to find the Seer, she informs him of a weapon created eons ago by an ancient race long banished from their realm of existence. Hylden were banished before completing the weapon known as The Device. The Seer explains to Kain that the glyph magic that is supplying Meridian with power is also being used to power The Device. She also told him to drink her blood to receive the dark gift of telekinesis. As they talked the Sarafan Lord had secretly tracked Kain to the Seer`s location and set fire to her house. Sacrificing her safety, the Seer then teleports Kain to the Eternal Prison. It is not known what happened to the Seer after her conversation with Kain.

Kain was able to find the Builder, and just as Vorador had told him, he wanted to destroy The Device also. The Builder confessed he built The Device out of arrogance, and wanted to make amends by helping Kain destroy his creation. He told Kain the Device is actually powered by a massive life-form called the Mass. The Mass has powerful psychic abilities but is harmless if there is no way to channel the creature`s power. The Builder tells Kain the Hylden are planning to channel The Mass`s power through the Device to wipe out all life on Nosgoth. Kain is told the Mass is weak against the blood of an Ancient. Afterward he asked Kain to drain him of his blood, and to feed it to the Mass ensuring its destruction. Kain does so, and faces his last lieutenant Magnus before leaving the Eternal Prison.

He finds out that Magnus never betrayed him, and only wanted to be his champion. He snuck from the camp and tried to confront the Sarafan Lord himself, but was struck down by him. He was then cast into the Eternal Prison, where he lost his mind. After returning to the location of The Mass, he destroyed the creature. Upon leaving the Hylden`s lair, he meets Janos Audron who has regained his true form. Kain does not know Janos yet, but learns he is the last true ancient vampire.

After Janos explains to Kain part of the history concerning the Hylden, their lord/general and Kain's own involvement in them (unwittingly allowing the Hylden Lord to slip into Nosgoth from the Demon Realm as the pillars were ruined and dimensional barriers weakened), Janos transports Kain and Himself to sanctuary where Vorador and Umah are waiting for news on Kain. Janos explains to the gathered vampires the nature of the Hylden and their plan to invade Nosgoth via a Hylden Gate, located in the ancient Hylden city across the Great Southern Sea from Meridian. However, Janos cannot transport the vampires there immediately as the city is protected by a magical barrier. It is agreed that Kain and Umah are to infiltrate a ship heading to the city from the Wharves and neutralize the barrier when on site.

Shortly thereafter Kain and Umah make their way to the wharves, but Umah starts to question Kain's plans for Nosgoth, wondering how his stern rule would be better than that of the Sarafan. She steals the Nexus Stone from enraged Kain and sets off to defeat the Hylden Lord herself. Not long after that, Kain finds Umah mortally wounded, though he has a chance to save her, he refuses, unable to trust her due to the earlier treachery, Kain kills Umah but regrets it, noting that ″now you have left me alone″. Kain then proceeds to board a vessel heading out to sea.

Having finally made his way to the Hylden City, Kain encounters the Hylden Lord waiting at the docks, the two exchange words and the Hylden Lord attempts to strike Kain down with the Soul Reaver, but in ironic twist is stopped by the Nexus Stone that protected him from Kain's similar attack 200 years ago. The Hylden Lord teleports away and Kain proceeds to explore the Hylden city. After destroying the generator powering the magical barrier, Vorador and Janos warp in. Vorador enquires kain about Umah, being unable to sense her, Kain tells him that she is dead and openly declares that he killed her for treason, even though he could have saved her. Vorador is horrified at Kain's ruthlessness and the two seem to be on the verge of fight, but Janos urges them to put aside their conflict. Just as Kain agrees to settle affairs with Vorador later, the Sarafan Lord ambushes the trio and wounds Vorado and Janos, depriving kain of their help, Janos teleports Kain nearer to the gate and stays behind to tend to Vorador.

Having finally reached the Hylden Gate Kain finds the Hylden Lord above the swirling vortex of the gate. Kain and the Hylden Lord speak, Kain offers the Hylden Lord a choice of exile or annihilation as he destroys the Hylden Gate, while the Hylden Lord berates Kain for his petty lust for power and dominion over Nosgoth akin to a petty noble who gained too much power and can never be sated. Kain denounces the Hylden Lord, boasting how all of his spies and traitors have fallen before him, even Umah. Surprised, the Hylden Lord claims that he has no spy named Umah, at which Kain angrily attacks him.

After a brief struggle Kain knocks the Hylden Lord off the platform, but he reappears, gloating how Kain cannot slay him while the Hylden Gate is active, Kain then casts the Nexus Stone into the gate, which begins to slowly implode. Janos arrives at that moment and exchanges hateful words with the Hylden Lord, both accusing each other for injustice. The Hylden Lord grabs Janos as he attacked him and throws him into the imploding vortex and turns to Kain, who is now in possession of the Soul Reaver. The Hylden Lord and Kain battle one final time, but armed with the Soul Reaver and with the Nexus Stone gone, Kain easily defeats the Hylden Lord. The Hylden Lord, in his dying breath, assures Kain that the war between Vampires and Hylden will never be over, as the Demon Realm ensures the immortality of the Hylden race. Kain states that should the Hylden ever return, he will be waiting and kills the Hylden Lord.

As the Hylden City is slowly destroyed by the collapsing gate, Kain is seen slowly walking away, pondering his plans for Nosgoth.

Development[edit]

Blood Omen 2 was not produced with the involvement of the Soul Reaver crew, instead being created by a new team at Crystal Dynamics under the direction of Glen Schofield.[2] A key point of focus for the developers was the main character, Kain; Crystal Dynamics had "a huge investment in Kain as a character".

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate score
Aggregator Score
Metacritic (Xbox) 76/100[3]
(GC) 71/100[4]
(PS2) 67/100[5]
(PC) 66/100[6]
Review scores
Publication Score
GameSpot (PC) 7.6/10[11]
(Xbox) 7.6/10[12]
(PS2) 7.4/10[13]
(GC) 7.1/10[14]
IGN (Xbox) 7.7/10[7]
(PS2) 7.4/10[8]
(PC) 7.1/10[9]
(GC) 7/10[10]

The game received average reviews. The most criticized aspect of the game was the setting, which with its steampunk and sci-fi themes was said to be in clash with the general aesthetic and ″feel″ of the series. The dialogue and plot also drew criticism as they were perceived to be shallow and uninspiring, in contrast to the well executed and shakespearean dialogue and engaging plotline of previous games. Lastly, it did not sit well with many fans that Kain was presented as a shallow tyrant with little hint of his past depth and personality.

However the game had some positive sides as well. The combat was somewhat repetitive but ultimately fun experience and the boss battles combined combat and puzzles well. A few levels, most notably The Canyons, Sarafan Stronghold and The Eternal Prison were said to be fun and interesting locations.

Overall the game could be considered subpar to the rest of the series, but playable nonetheless.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Blood Omen 2 - Credits". Allgame. Retrieved 2008-10-29. 
  2. ^ Lemarchand, Richard. "Legacy of Kain: Defiance Designer Diary #1". www.gamespot.com. GameSpot. Retrieved October 23, 2003. 
  3. ^ "Blood Omen 2 for Xbox". Metacritic. Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  4. ^ "Blood Omen 2 for GameCube". Metacritic. Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  5. ^ "Blood Omen 2 for PlayStation 2". Metacritic. Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  6. ^ "Blood Omen 2 for PC". Metacritic. Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  7. ^ Boulding, Aaron (March 21, 2002). "Blood Omen 2 - Xbox Review at IGN". IGN. Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  8. ^ Perry, Douglass C. (March 21, 2002). "Blood Omen 2 - PlayStation 2 Review at IGN". IGN. Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  9. ^ Sulic, Ivan (April 3, 2002). "Blood Omen 2 - PC Review at IGN". IGN. Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  10. ^ Casamassina, Matt (January 14, 2002). "Blood Omen 2 - GameCube Review at IGN". IGN. Retrieved 2012-07-28. 
  11. ^ Kasavin, Greg (April 2, 2002). "Blood Omen 2 Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 2013-03-25. 
  12. ^ Kasavin, Greg (March 27, 2002). "Blood Omen 2 Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 2013-03-25. 
  13. ^ Kasavin, Greg (March 27, 2002). "Blood Omen 2 Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 2013-03-25. 
  14. ^ Kasavin, Greg (December 10, 2002). "Blood Omen 2 Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 2013-03-25.