And, barring some glitches and a sometimes-unwieldy combat system, that's what Soul Reaver 2
delivers. It's not as impressive as the original game was, perhaps because of the release of other games since that have done just as much for the genre, but Soul Reaver 2
is an enthralling game that will undoubtedly have series fans and fans of the genre alike adventuring for the length of the game.
Soul Reaver 2's storyline picks up at the final scene of the original game, with Kain jumping through a swirling time portal and you giving chase. Instead of following Kain to his destination, a fellow named Moebius (whom players of the original Blood Omen will recognize) pulls Raziel out of the timestream and attempts to get our favourite soul-sucker to be his unwitting lackey. The plot only gets more interesting from there, and you'll soon find yourself embroiled in the storyline as you want to find out just what's going to happen in this time long past.
The core gameplay of Soul Reaver 2 is similar to the first game, which took many of its cues from the 3D action/platformers that came before it, like Tomb Raider and the like. Like a good sequel, Raziel starts off Soul Reaver 2 with his abilities intact, which is a nice change from the usual character knockdown of sequels. This time around, the new powerups centre on the Soul Reaver, the symbiotic sword gained in the first game which quickly becomes more of a danger in this one. There are a number of different powerups that the Reaver can take on, which are used for different things in the game. Many of the puzzles require manipulation of the Reaver's powers.
Indeed, one of the stronger points of Soul Reaver 2 is its puzzle design. It's still no ICO, but the game goes away from the box-happy madness of the original game and puts itself in a more intelligent puzzle field. It's a pleasant change for the series, and one that fans will appreciate.
There are other new features as well. You can still slip in-between the corporeal and spirit realms as before, and only come back at certain locations, but you no longer have to have full health to call the Soul Reaver. It's a dangerous weapon now, though; it will eat the souls of the enemies instead of letting you devour them, and if used too much it will actually start to damage you as well.
The game sports a now-requisite autotargeting system, which is nice for one-on-one battles. Enemies are more intelligent in their fighting styles, and you may actually find yourself getting hit regularly instead of simply waltzing through most of the beasts in the game. You still can't permanently die, however, which is a wonderful, wonderful thing.
Some people see the lack of boss battles as a bad thing; I personally am more for exploration than combat anyways, because Soul Reaver 2, pretty as it is, isn't the best fighting engine ever made. The game is a wee bit short, which is a shame, and many of the puzzle elements feel extremely arbitrary, instead of integrating into the environment like the ones in ICO do. These are fairly minor complaints, however.