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Blood Omen 2
Scheduled release date: February 2002
Publisher: Eidos
Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Genre: Action/Adventure
Number Of Players: 1

  Blood Omen 2, once scheduled for a mid-November release, is now slated for next year. Itís interesting that Eidos will delay a game before its holiday release in order to improve its content considering they're generally known for rushing their Tomb Raider games in order to make the holiday season. In Blood Omen 2, you assume the role of Kain, the powerful vampire whoís the main antagonist in the Soul Reaver titles. This game, however, takes place many years before Soul Reaver and Razielís time, a time where Kain isnít nearly as strong.

   The gameís story takes places about four hundred years after its predecessor. Your enemy, Lord Safarin, a vampire-hunter, has kicked your tail and stolen your Soul Reaver. Upon waking up hundreds of years later from the hard beating you took, youíll find that the world around you is no longer the same. All of your ex-brether (people once in your clan) have jumped to Safarinís side, and are now the obstacles in your quest to destroying Safarin, and once again obtaining the Soul Reaver.

   Unlike Soul Reaver 2ís heavy puzzle solving, this game will focus more on combat whether itís hand to hand or with weapons. Additionally, there are more enemies inhabiting the levels as oppose to the small number in Soul Reaver 2. Axes, poles, and swords are just a few of the weapons found throughout your quest--each with is own unique animation according to itís weight and power. In addition, there are different types of weapons in each class, such as two different types of maces. Similar to Dark Cloud, weapons can only take so much damage and will eventually break after hitting a certain point. The enemy AI is very intelligent and will be able to block and avoid your attacks. You can also block and counter theirs by pressing the correct button at the correct time. If you have a weapon, then that will be used as a blocking tool, but if you are unequipped, then Kain can still block by using his metal arm plates. An easy way to simplify this task is to turn to darkness -- a shadow if you will. That's just one of his abilities that allows him to camouflage according to the environments enabling the gamer to roam around without being seen. In this mode, one hit is all it takes to defeat enemies.

   As you start, Kain is accompanied by three abilities. As you progress, Kain will learn three new ones as well. Kain starts out with invisibility, a prized ability that lets him travel undetected; a silent glide, which enables Kain to leap from enormous bounds without revealing his presence to enemies; and bloodsucking, a power much like Razielís inhaling of his enemyís souls, which refills some of Kainís lost energy. Eventually, you will be aided by three other abilities. One is a super jump that first makes you aim , and then lets you jump, to normally unreachable areas. Another is the force blast ability, which clears out big objects that are blocking your path. As you proceed throughout the story and defeat some of your old pals, you will acquire their special powers called dark gifts--each one being a specific move that will help further your progression.

   Blood Omen 2 is shaping up to be an exciting action-based game and with the right gameplay mechanics, can turn out to be top notch game. Look for BO2 to hit stores this February.


12/12/2001   Joseph Comunale