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Legacy of Kain: Defiance Review

Developer: Crystal Dynamics Publisher: Eidos
Release Date: November 18, 2003 Also On: PS2 and Xbox

Once again, Kain and Raziel return for the 5th installment of the Legacy of Kain series. This time around, you control Kain and Raziel through many different ruins of the old empire, trying to find out their destiny. Although their levels take place between 500 year differences at the same places, Kain being at present time and Raziel being 500 years in the future, they both will end up confronting each other. This time, only one of them will survive.

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Out of the 5 Legacy of Kain games, Defiance is probably the most visually appealing. The game supports HDTV 480p and for good reason. With fully detailed environments, and high resolution textures, it’s easy to see why the work was put in for HDTV. Kain and Raziel never have looked better in any of the other games. They all have bump mapping as well as every other part of game. The only real problem area of LoK: Defiance here is the fact that all the enemies look basically the same. There are only about 15 different enemies that you will encounter throughout the game and none of them look any different than the other. This is especially true when the statues come to life and attack you in the game. All of them are exactly alike; who would have 50 of the same statues in their home? Other than this, there is nothing wrong here.

The sound here is also very well done. You can hear animals and actions in the environment that are far away from you as you would in real-life. Crumbling statues and pillars make noise as pieces crumble to the ground. Swords clashing sound even better in Legacy of Kain then they did in KOTOR. I thought nothing could beat KOTOR in sound, but I believe I have found one game that has. The voice-acting has been improved so that the game no longer gets very boring during the cut scenes. Everything that should make a sound does and that is the way it should be.

Probably the worst thing about Legacy of Kain: Defiance is the gameplay. Sure, the battle system is really easy to learn and master, but it gets really repetitive. There is not a huge variety of moves that you can use to attack your enemies, so basically LoK is still a hack and slash type of game, but that isn’t even half of it. This series has always been big on puzzle solving throughout the levels, but this time, Eidos went a little overboard. Some of these puzzles are extremely difficult and can take forever to find out where the pieces go to solve your problem. For example, I was trying to open a gate and I was stuck in the same place for 2 hours trying to find out how to open it. This will get really annoying for the younger players to complete. If it took me 2 hours, it would take them 3-4 hours.

Legacy of Kain still follows the same storyline as the others in the series. This interesting back story continues into the beginning of the game. Those new to the series may get confused at the beginning, since they will not understand what is going on in the world of Kain. The sword in the game known as the soul reaver is an interesting weapon seeing as the destiny of both Kain and Raziel lay in the reaver, which is hard to understand without playing previous versions.

With about 20 hours of gameplay, Legacy of Kain: Defiance is not one of the deepest games around, but it is very challenging and that 20 hours can easily double when or if you hit trouble areas. After beating the game, there really isn’t anything to do afterwards, meaning you will just throw the game aside after completion. A one-time run through is probably the most you will do if you don’t get frustrated that much and just stop playing it. Overall, I say Legacy of Kain is more rental worthy than it is for a purchase. If you are a huge fan of the series, I suggest you come out and pick this one up. If you are not or if you are new to the series, rent the game first and see what you think about it, but for you fans, Defiance is the best game in the series.

Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 9.5
Gameplay: 6
Creativity: 8
Replay Value/Game Length: 6.5
Final: 7.7
Written by Shawn Review Guide