When I look back to my childhood, several games stand out as games that I particularly spent a considerable amount of time with; Final Fantasy VII, Resident Evil 2 and so forth. With those currently in the process of receiving remakes (man, I feel old) I look to another game that I hope gets the same treatment; Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. I played the hell out of this on both the PlayStation and the Dreamcast back in 1999 and 2000, and know that I’m not alone as I sit here pondering the possibilities of what a remake could bring to the franchise overall.
To this day, there’s nothing quite like Legacy of Kain. Originally developed by Crystal Dynamics and published by Eidos – two outlets that have worked hand in glove over the years to bring back Tomb Raider – I think now is a very relevant time for Square to put Raziel back in the spotlight. Those of you that never got around to playing this game, you take on the role of the aforementioned Raziel, a vampire-turned-wraith that has the unique ability to phase between the material and spectral planes of existence. Something that’s used to great effect.
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver’s gameplay largely consisted of puzzle elements using the aforementioned mechanic, hack-and-slash combat, and general environmental traversal. This collectively made for a pretty engaging and well paced experience, and I daresay this formula would work just as well now with a modern touch and some added refinements. Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver was generally well received, but legal issues at that time caused a small number of delays – ultimately leading to content that was cut and used for the sequel.
The sequel, Soul Reaver 2, enjoyed a much better critical reception – however since then, consecutive releases just didn’t have as heavy an impact, and before too long, the series because a second thought. The latest release in the series (disregarding multiplayer game Nosgoth) was Legacy of Kain: Defiance back in 2003. Unfortunately, sales expectations were not reached and outside of Nosgoth, the series is all but dead and buried. Given that 2019 will mark Soul Reaver’s twentieth anniversary, what better time for Square to bring back the franchise?
The possibilities are endless given the capabilities of current gen hardware, and I’ve always firmly believed that Soul Reaver was ahead of its time. The realm-shifting mechanic would go down a treat by today’s standards, group that with environmental puzzles and an improved foundation, and there’s already a compelling recipe to lean on. When we take the lack of single-player games into account, or at least the discussion that surrounds the lack of single-player games, it would certainly make an excellent fit in time for the anniversary.
It would help, of course, that there isn’t anything remotely like Soul Reaver on the market. The game is based in the land of Nosgoth, in which antagonist Kain kills the lands corrupted guardians in an attempt to save his realm. After finding out that he is a guardian himself, he refuses to sacrifice himself and allows Nosgoth to fall to ruin. Following protagonist Raziel’s murder at the hands of Kain, Raziel is resurrected by the elder god to become his soul reaver and exact revenge on those that have done him wrong. Thus starting his dark and twisted journey.
Does that not sound massively exciting? With a modern face-lift and a lick of proverbial paint, Soul Reaver could come back with a bang. Hell, I would take a remaster if that’s what I had to settle with. Or a compilation remaster, at least. What about you? Do you think it’s time to see the Soul Reaver series coming back for another spin in time for the twentieth anniversary? Did you play the original? Perhaps you’ve never even heard of it (shame on you) and want to learn more? Hit the comment section below to get in on the action.