Creative vision is an important aspect of story telling. Having a unified voice and direction can raise a project to soaring heights. Once it’s achieved, the slightest change is easily noticed. Blood Omen 2 suffers from this change. With the Soul Reaver series in full development, a sequel to the original Blood Omen was created in parallel by another team, once again focusing on Kain. Keeping track of so many twisting story threads can be difficult even for an elite raconteur. Adding your own strands to a complicated web that’s still being spun is asking for failure.
Blood Omen 2 takes place 400 years after the original, with Kain awakening after defeat 200 year prior. The world has changed, shifting into an industrial age. The Sarafan defeated Kain in combat, annihilating his forces and with the Sarafan Lord taking the Soul Reaver for himself. The Sarafan rule with an iron fist, controlling the human population with what few vampires are left entering into servitude. A handful have formed a cabal, fighting the Sarafan rule.
Blood Omen 2 is a bad game. While the original Blood Omen and Soul Reaver games featured their own unique play styles, Blood Omen 2 did as well, only generically so. Blood Omen 2 featured third person controls and combat akin to the norm of the generation (Xbox, PS2, Gamecube). Less puzzles and more action, only, the action fell flat. Worse off, the story, the reason why this series is fondly remembered, is terrible. Maybe saying terrible isn’t fair, but it’s a relative comparison. A LoK game with a bad story is like a Mario game with poor controls. It will forever stand out for all the wrong reasons.
The problems stem from development. This released in 2002, a few months after Soul Reaver 2, created by a separate team. Not only did the designers play it safe, but the writing chops simply weren’t present. The Device, The Builder, The Mass, The Cabal. These are painfully generic names. Juxtaposed against names like Janos Audron, it’s hard not to notice the lack of quality.
Due to the time travel elements in the main Soul Reaver games, Blood Omen 2 features a number of continuity errors. None that outright contradict what came before and after, but enough that would stand out when playing through concurrently.
I have tremendous appreciation for this series and reverence for those who created it. Sadly, the same hands couldn’t guide this project as well. Nearly all of the games have aged poorly due to technological constraints, but the story and gameplay elements have made them worth playing today, save for this. Blood Omen 2 isn’t worth slogging through over a decade removed. Aside from the archaic design, the story offers nothing. Play the other four games, but don’t waste your time with this.
Enjoy Blood Omen 2? Thought I was being too harsh? Comment below!
At least the voice actors didn’t change.