Blood Omen 2
by Eidos Interactive
Blood Omen 2 is the sequel to the prequel of the two Soul Reaver games. In the first Blood Omen game Kain was defeated by the Sarafan Lord. Four hundred years have passed since the events of the first game. Since the supposed death of Kain, much has changed and now Nosgoth is ruled by the Sarafan and the once dominant Kain and his fellow vampires, are all but gone save for a small collection of resistors called the Cabal.
You control Kain and the game begins with you in a very weakened state. Revived by Umah, a fellow vampire, you are disorientated and unaware of the events since your supposed demise at the hand of the Sarafan Lord. The first level of the game sees Umah revealing events that have happened since your defeat and showing you how to perform all the gameplay functions. Umah has revived you to work for the Cabal who want you to defeat the Sarafan. The Cabal feel that you are the ideal agent to kill the Sarafan Lord as he is unaware that you are still alive and will not be expecting you to attack him.
At the beginning of the game Kain needs to build up his strength. He accomplishes this by sucking blood from his victims. Kain can attack victims with either his claws or a weapon that he has picked up from an earlier battle. Once the victim has been defeated Kain can suck the blood from the victim to revitalise himself. Kain also has Dark Gifts that can be used. As Kain progresses through the game he earns extra Dark Gifts which become invaluable to him particularly as he comes across more difficult enemies. One of these Dark Gifts is called Mist. Activating Mist whilst walking in a misty location enables Kain to become invisible to the nearby enemies and allows him to sneak upon these enemies and perform a surprise attack.
The game is full of puzzles that Kain must solve in order to progress. The Sarafan have placed many force fields around the city that block the path of vampires. Whenever Kain comes close to these, they will turn green to indicate their presence. When Kain comes across these force fields he must search out the power supply, known as glyphs and deactivate them. He will then be able to pass through the previously blocked passage. Throughout the game Kain will encounter many levers, switches and blocks etc. that will require moving. Whenever a device or object can be activated in such a way it will glow.
Blood Omen 2 looks good and the dark nature of the game has been excellently conveyed in the style of the visuals. The dimly lit, almost medieval, streets have been realised very well indeed. The animation has been done well too. What is a touch disappointing is that the framerate can drop a little when encountering numerous enemies.
The game can be saved at any point you wish to, but it will only record your progress to the last checkpoint. These checkpoints are frequently scattered around. They are placed on the floor and Kain must pass over them to activate them.
The control method has been implemented well. The game is played from a third person view and the left analogue stick is used for movement whilst the right analogue stick is used to move the camera. The L1 button is used to block and can either be set to just holding the button continuously to blanket block the attacks or needing to press the button for each individual attack which requires more skill. The R1 button allows you to lock on to a target whilst attacking. This makes combat far less complicated and easy to get into. The square button is used for attack, use, pull and a multitude of other functions whilst the circle is used to activate the Dark Gifts and the triangle is used to suck the blood out of defeated victims.
So then overall the game looks as though it's a good one, that is until we get to the appropriateness for deaf gamers. The only text feedback in the game is where you are having the controls and gameplay commands being described to you by Umah in the first level. There are no subtitles. The cutscenes cannot be skipped and there are no mission briefings in text at all. This is a devastating note to finish on but Blood Omen 2 is going to be a poor experience for a deaf gamer which is a shame because had access, via subtitles etc., been provided then we would be looking at a score of at least 8/10 instead of the one we are forced to give it.
Overall Game Rating: 4.0/10 Annoyingly this is an enjoyable game rendered almost useless by the lack of support for a deaf gamer. Of course the game could be enjoyed if you had a detailed walkthrough to hand but that really isn't on is it?
Deaf Gamers comment: Virtually no accessibility for deaf gamers. If you are interested in the game then I suggest you rent it first.