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What is up TAY, ya boi is back like the Terminator to host this hot mess. As usual, I hope you are all having a great week. So, recently there were some complications with my ISP and so I had no internet for the majority of the day. Horrible I know, but bear with me. With nothing better to do, I decided to do the Steam roulette and I ended up landing on Soul Reaver, the second game in the Legacy of Kain series. And since there’s nothing particularly interesting going on in my life right now, I figured this is the perfect excuse to talk about a series I have so many fond memories of.

When SR 1 came around I was still young and my domain of the English language wasn’t nearly as good as it is today. Back then I barely played games for their story, but thankfully this one was amongst the games that got a full localization for the Brazilian market and a damn good one at it. That was the first time a video game managed to get my full attention with its writing alone. Other installments would not get the same localization work, so my old man had to translate what was going on to the best of his ability. Not an easy feat, considering the Shakespearian nature of the dialog and the crazy number of plot twists and lies stacked upon lies that almost every character tells one moment or another. It’s a convoluted story about the nature of free will, determinism, vengeance and time travel of all things, and the fact that it manages to tell a compelling and intriguing story while keeping the rules of its time travel nature consistent and well defined it’s a testament to the skill of the woman responsible for the story, Amy Hennig (That you probably know from the Uncharted series)

I also noticed how similar this series is to Yoko Taro’s Draken/NieR franchise, in the sense that both are incredibly lackluster in the gameplay department but more than make up for it in the music and more specifically, in its writing (obvious exception being Automata, that has the best of both worlds). That was likely due to the ambition of the developers, with a vision simply too grand, so the series ended up with a lot of cut content and last minute changes caused either by lack of resources or time (possibly both).

The last 30 minutes of Soul Reaver 2 is where that is more apparent. I can’t and I won’t dare to go into story spoilers for a seventeen-year-old game (again, amazing writing guys) and it isn’t convenient to do so in an OF but all you need to know is that those last minutes are a gauntlet of boss fights that literally can’t kill you, and since the combat system is serviceable at best, it makes for a really boring finale. It’s a spectacular drop in quality and you can tell it was rushed but you know what? I’d gladly replay it over and over again, thanks to a cliffhanger so incredible it legitimately left me speechless for a few moments the first time around.

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And so, with this giant wall of text outta the way, I finally ask the question of today’s OF:

Can a great finale save a bad story? Or a terrible one ruin an otherwise great work?

Soul Reaver’s Intro. Just marvel at the quality of that dialog and the amazing work of the VAs. RIP Tony Jay, we miss you...

Other questions include:

  • What are your favorite CGI in videogames?
  • Share your favorite podcasts with me.
  • What is love?

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