Legacy of Kain: Defiance PS2 Review

May 31, 2010 by  
Filed under PS2, Retro Content, Retro Reviews

The Legacy of Kain games have always put exploration ahead of the action, but Legacy of Kain: Defiance is less about walking in circles for hours, baffled of where your next location is and far more centred on the action this time around, which is pretty evident when you witness kain’s and Raziel’s new telekinesis ability in action. After all, why waste such an amusingly fun move, eh? With this action you can impale your enemies on conveniently placed spikes and set them alight by tossing them into fire, all with the power of your mind.

This new action heavy approach threatens to disgruntle hardcore fans of the series, but as always, the game has an elaborate plot running throughout which is fabulously acted and scripted. This is sure to please fans of both Kain’s and Raziel’s exploits, (those of which who will get the most from the storyline) as the two are playable in the same game for the first time ever in an intricate but nevertheless compelling tale. Besides this there is still plenty of puzzles for you to sink your teeth into (sorry we just couldn’t resist) but just not as many as there was before and perhaps a bit less intricate then what fans are used to.

Unsurprisingly the combat system has been revamped (haha, it never gets old) to make the action a bit more stylish and varied. The aforementioned telekinesis action, which both Kain and Raziel posses is a laugh to use and also gives you plenty of options whilst in combat. This new ability allows you to throw your enemies around the environment into objects or even off of exceptionally high ledges, where your opponents can die an exciting death. It’s the least you can do for your unfortunate victim in their final seconds on earth. Hacking your way through the assorted monsters and vampire hunters will award you new moves to torture said enemies with, which again adds variety into the scraps. Sadly this was a bit of a missed opportunity to create two genuinely different experiences, as the majority of Kain and Raziel’s moves are identical to each other.

In fact, overall there isn’t a great deal of difference between the two characters. The biggest has to be Raziel’s ability to shift in and out of the spectral realm and the fact that he can swim, neither of which Kain can do. On the plus side, these do alter the style of the gameplay somewhat, keeping it fresh throughout. However we do feel, that the game could have benefited from more diverse combat moves and abilities for each of the characters as at times the two feel like the same character wearing different clothes. Nevertheless playing the role of both the antiheros in the same game is sure to appease long time fans of the series.

What might not be so satisfying for hardcore fans is the puzzle aspect of the game. Not only is it less puzzle focused then previous games, but also much more simplistic in nature. This could leave those who gain satisfaction from solving particularly tough puzzles, disgruntled at the seconds it took them and more importantly the lack of brainpower required to complete these sections. Unsurprisingly the telekinesis ability must be employed to manipulate certain parts of the environment and objects to make progress through the game. This adds a breath of fresh air to the puzzling sections, but is somewhat wasted, with it being way too obvious of where you should use your mind power thanks to the fact that areas where you must use it are marked. As mentioned, Raziel can shift realms, which often alters the shape of his environment. For example causing a ledge to descend, which was impossible to reach whilst in the Material realm.

The game is visually attractive, with pretty lighting, stunning textures and detailed character models. But unfortunately, there are a few significant graphical problems that prevent it from being a stunner. The framerate constantly drops even when you aren’t in a scrap and the camera can be a right pain sometimes, frustratingly causing you to walk into an opponent or down a hole. These problems along with the fact that the game is brief and doesn’t have any immediate replay value, just hold the game back from classic status.

So there we have it, because of a few key problems, Legacy of Kain: Defiance is good but not brilliant, as it could have easily been. If not primarily for the horrendous camera that seems happy to show you a wall, albeit a well textured one, rather then that thing with big claws, which is about to rip you to shreds. Fans who want to see the apparent conclusion of the Legacy of Kain series should pick this one up, as should fans of puzzly action games because it’s bloody good, sorry.

7/10

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