E3 2003: Legacy of Kain: Defiance: Hands on impressions.
Weíve been following the adventures of both Raziel and Kain for years now, through their respective entries in the Legacy of Kain series, Soul Reaver and Blood Omen. In Defiance, they finally come together in one amazing project.
Defiance, although only partially completed, already looks and plays better than any other Legacy of Kain title to date. The game runs smooth and fast, with none of the frame rate or glitching issues seen in previous games in the series. Not only that, but the gameplay boasts some new features designed at streamlining the gameplay processes. For example, you no longer need to go into a sub menu to force Raziel to shift between the material and spectral realms. Simply holding down a shoulder button and tapping square accomplishes this for you.
Raziel looks pretty much the same as he did in Soul Reaver 2, albeit much more detailed. Kain, however, has had a bit of a makeover, looking nothing like his Blood Omen 2 self. Instead, he looks much more like he did in Soul Reaver 2, but with a more muscular, beefed up physique, and loads more detail in his face and clothes. The backgrounds in the game are nothing short of stunning. The ambience of the spectral realm is really amazing in Defiance, really giving off an air of the macabre.
The best part about this new title is that Raziel and Kain both come in the same package. Each one retains their devastating skills as well, I found, when I used Kainís Telekinesis ability to fling an enemy into a wall. The combat system basics is the same for both characters as well, and is pretty much nothing more than an update to the combat found in Soul Reaver 2 and Blood Omen 2. R1 allows you to target an enemy, and the square button is used to attack. You can sidestep and dash and lunge, and perform combo attacks. While that much remains the same, the attack animations for both characters have been totally redone, and they look much, much better. Instead of Kain just mechanically moving his sword about in a dull manner like he did in Blood Omen 2, he now viciously attacks with powerful lunges and piercing jabs. Raziel has gotten even faster, something I didnít think possible. However, the final attack in his combo is extremely slow.
Legacy of Kain: Defiance is currently shaping up to be an incredible title. We can only hope that the developers have learned from their previous mistakes and avoid falling prey to production issues as they have in the past. Look for more info on this game as it develops.
5/14/2003 Ryan Hartmann