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Alexeythegreat
Apr 18, 2015

I shall devour your soul.


Grimey Drawer

Now that the Blood Omen LP has been completed, the time has come to get into Soul Reaver.



What is Soul Reaver?

The second installment in the Legacy of Kain series, released in 1999 by Crystal Dynamics as a continuation of the story of Blood Omen. Initially a different IP called Shifter, it was merged with the Legacy of Kain story during development, Shifter became the wraith under the symbolic (as in Byblical symbolism) name of Raziel, and the Soul Reaver games ended up contributing no less, if not more, to the overall Legacy of Kain story than the Blood Omen games. They are also superior to BO games in terms of gameplay (barring, in my opinion, early BO2 combat). While Blood Omen is an isometric top-down game, Soul Reaver is an [allegedly Tomb Raider-esque] 3D platformer with a few neat mechanics.

Shifting between planes of existence didn't go away.

It also managed to not age as badly as the other PSOne games.

Is it still meh gameplay with amazing voice acting and atmosphere, like Blood Omen?

Yes. This game is where Michael Bell joins the cast.

Where can I get it?

Unlike Blood Omen, which you have to scrounge for on eBay or Amazon, Soul Reaver is easy to obtain (at least on PC) due to being available on both Steam and GOG. I will personally be playing the GOG version because that is the one I managed to record. Whether it is any different from the Steam version I do not know, but I highly doubt that it's even possible to make them any different. Note that I can't give you any idea on whether and how these versions support controllers, as Alexey is incapable of using a controller to play anything more fast-paced than Pokemon due to never having touched a controller in 21 years of his life, so keyboard is the way to go for me.

I highly recommend you purchase the game if you haven't yet. In fact, I highly recommend that you purchase and play both Soul Reaver games and Defiance if you haven't already (if you're reading this thread, you probably have, it's just Blood Omen that was never widely played, but the keyword is "probably").

Is this a 100% run?

I am going to collect all health and Eldritch energy powerups and obtain all the Glyphs (spells). So, yes. Thankfully (for me), unlike Blood Omen, Soul Reaver doesn't have a hundred secrets, of which 90 are identical item pickups that require extensive backtracking. Soul Reaver has only about 20 secrets that require extensive backtracking.
Post-LP edit: I realized that I forgot one Eldritch energy power-up in Rahab's territory. Everything else was collected.

How heavily is this going to be edited?

Editing of the gameplay footage itself will be minimal. If you followed my BO LP, you noticed that I prefer to make use of annotations on Youtube, and only resort to cutting when I show too much of my own ineptitude (the way I understand it, when the game intentionally makes the player suffer, some people do want to see me suffer and some like that out of their LP, so I prefer to give the viewer the choice), and tedious block puzzles as well as sequences of backtracking, getting lost, and platforming failures will be left in as an integral part of the OG Soul Reaver experience, but you will usually be able to skip them. Besides, platforming failures will rarely be my fault anyways, as the controls and camera in Soul Reaver are, sadly, quite wonky.
I will, however, make some bonus content akin to the Oracle's museum video. The focus of these extras will be the cut content, which is plenty.

Spoilers?

At the moment of writing the Blood Omen thread OP it seemed like a good idea to forbid spoilers. Over some time it became clear that it's almost impossible to talk about the game and not talk about the overall story. At the same time, I know for a fact that there are people who are unfamiliar with the LoK lore and would prefer to see the story unravel before them through the games (given that they are honestly more fun to watch than to play), so what I ask for is that spoilers are avoided whenever possible, and tagged otherwise. I personally will not be spoiling anything during the videos: while I will cover things about the development and the connections between Soul Reaver and Blood Omen, a lot of the LoK storyline is concentrated in SR2 and Defiance, plus SR doesn't have an incoherent clusterf*** of confusing cutscenes for an introduction (and then for the endgame reveals) like Blood Omen does, so SR requires a lot less explaining.

I stopped following the BO LP mid-way because I couldn't stand you talking in a very loud voice as if you were talking to a large hall full of people, did you get any better at that?

Yes, yes I did.

Also:
1) Shoutout to The Orchard/IODA for being nice and removing copyright claims for Ozar Midrashim in literally one day after I asked them. Ozar Midrashim can be bought on iTunes, which I think is cool and good.
2) A special mention to Tristitia and Believe Digital Records for being loving piece of poo poo frauds and Content ID trolls.
3) The thread is up because, as it turned out, the "copyright" monetization is off when a claim is disputed, so I figured "whatever, most of the goons who watch it won't see ads anyway"
4) The Soul Reaver font can be found here
5) I am terribly sorry for the "skip" button being half-covered by the timing bar all the time, the annotations editing screen was misleading in making me think that only about 1/6 of the button is covered. It didn't come to my attention until after the LP was completed. It will be rectiifed in the future LPs, LoK and otherwise.

Table of contents (the left column is LP proper, the right column is extra content):

















Alexeythegreat fucked around with this message at 17:12 on Dec 26, 2015

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Alexeythegreat
Apr 18, 2015

I shall devour your soul.


Grimey Drawer

Reserved for the copyright battle updates

30/11

Alexeythegreat fucked around with this message at 11:08 on Nov 30, 2015

McKilligan
May 13, 2007

Acey Deezy

Yessssss, I've always had a soft spot for games where dying repeatedly is actually an important plot point, so I'm fully on board. This games absolutely oozes atmosphere.

Zanzibar Ham
Mar 17, 2009

You giving me the cold shoulder? How cruel.




Grimey Drawer

I really enjoyed this game, but I think early on or midway I got to a point where I just had no idea how to progress, and eventually I gave up. Could be fault of the game or me being stupid, maybe a bit of both. Will be cool seeing what happens.

Iretep
Nov 10, 2009


I think the elder god says where you need to go next but I think it wasnt really that clear always.

Zanzibar Ham
Mar 17, 2009

You giving me the cold shoulder? How cruel.




Grimey Drawer

I think I knew where to go, just not how. Like there was some kind of swamp-ish area and you had to do something there, and I didn't know what. My recollection is very vague because this was more than a decade ago.

George
Nov 27, 2004

No love for your made-up things.


I got most of the way through without beating it, then didn't want to replay it because of the block puzzles. I love how the world feels kind of open, even right now before you get any abilities. I wish the later games had been this Metroidy, but their plots make up for it.

Pesky Splinter
Feb 16, 2011

A worried pug.


Quite possibly one of my favourite openings to any game ever; it immediately sets up what's changed from Blood Omen (more importantly, makes sense if you haven't played it), presents a clear antagonist, and goal. And yeah, and that music

Michael Bell (Raziel's VA) apparently tried to play the game, after seeing how heavy the script was, and was interested in seeing the visual component to his voices. Not really being into videogames, he got stuck in the abyss I think his daughter had to help him out.

Pesky Splinter fucked around with this message at 14:44 on Nov 7, 2015

Alexeythegreat
Apr 18, 2015

I shall devour your soul.


Grimey Drawer

The Soul Reaver games and Defiance all have spectacular intros
Blood Omens... not so much

RickVoid
Oct 21, 2010


One of the things I really like to mention about this series for Soul Reaver and onward, is how they recorded the voice acting. In general, voice acting for video games has the actors record their lines in a vacuum, with very limited explanation of why the character is saying what they are saying, what the characters motivation is, and things are often recorded out of order.

Not so with these games. Not only were the actors aware of who the character were and their motivation, but they actually recorded the lines together, in the same room, conversational style. As we'll see later in this and particularly in SR2, this results in some of the best examples in voice work in video games.

Big Scary Owl
Oct 1, 2014

Too scary



You said that there is no reason to throw the spears at all, but could you elaborate? I always found it faster to just throw it at enemies if they are far away enough. It's also an insta-kill.

Alexeythegreat
Apr 18, 2015

I shall devour your soul.


Grimey Drawer

Big Scary Owl posted:

You said that there is no reason to throw the spears at all, but could you elaborate? I always found it faster to just throw it at enemies if they are far away enough. It's also an insta-kill.

The spear throw is only an instakill on already stunned enemies or if the enemy doesn't know that Raziel's there (i.e. sneaking from behind), making it redundant
As for throwing the spears from far away but not from behind, I have never in my life managed to even hit anyone from afar, and I have just tried to do that specfically to check whether I made a mistake. The spear just lands before it hits anything

Big Scary Owl
Oct 1, 2014

Too scary



Alexeythegreat posted:

The spear throw is only an instakill on already stunned enemies or if the enemy doesn't know that Raziel's there (i.e. sneaking from behind), making it redundant
As for throwing the spears from far away but not from behind, I have never in my life managed to even hit anyone from afar, and I have just tried to do that specfically to check whether I made a mistake. The spear just lands before it hits anything

You don't have to sneak from behind, if you are already far away enough (but not too far). For example, those dumahim near the Sanctuary of the Clans can be killed by just throwing the torch (there's a bonfire with a torch there if I recall correctly) or the spear. I recall when I first played the game on the Dreamcast I never did the sneaking thing the prompt asks the player to do, I would just throw it when I was at the beginning of that tunnel.

You can aim where you are going to throw if you hold the button down (or something like that).

MiddleOne
Feb 17, 2011



RickVoid posted:

One of the things I really like to mention about this series for Soul Reaver and onward, is how they recorded the voice acting. In general, voice acting for video games has the actors record their lines in a vacuum, with very limited explanation of why the character is saying what they are saying, what the characters motivation is, and things are often recorded out of order.

Not so with these games. Not only were the actors aware of who the character were and their motivation, but they actually recorded the lines together, in the same room, conversational style. As we'll see later in this and particularly in SR2, this results in some of the best examples in voice work in video games.

And yet, somehow the gaming industry never caught on. I know that its likely to scheduling being perceived as too much of an issue but it's still disappointing.

Alexeythegreat
Apr 18, 2015

I shall devour your soul.


Grimey Drawer

Big Scary Owl posted:

You don't have to sneak from behind, if you are already far away enough (but not too far). For example, those dumahim near the Sanctuary of the Clans can be killed by just throwing the torch (there's a bonfire with a torch there if I recall correctly) or the spear. I recall when I first played the game on the Dreamcast I never did the sneaking thing the prompt asks the player to do, I would just throw it when I was at the beginning of that tunnel.

You can aim where you are going to throw if you hold the button down (or something like that).

Yeah, that's exactly what I just tried. Didn't work, but I am and always was playing it on keyboard, which makes it exceptionally difficult to aim (and yes, it does make that boss that requires a lot of aiming a very large pain in the rear end), so maybe that's the reason

RickVoid
Oct 21, 2010


I'd just like to remind everyone, watching the intro cutscene, that this was a PS1 title.

A lot of love went into this game.

Iretep
Nov 10, 2009


This game is usually on peoples top 20 PS1 games. It's really good for its time. Of course the combat mechanics hasnt aged well...

MiddleOne
Feb 17, 2011



RickVoid posted:

I'd just like to remind everyone, watching the intro cutscene, that this was a PS1 title.

A lot of love went into this game.

I would shame the game for re-using that CGI in both SR2 and Defiance but it just looks so drat good

Alexeythegreat
Apr 18, 2015

I shall devour your soul.


Grimey Drawer

Xoidanor posted:

I would shame the game for re-using that CGI in both SR2 and Defiance but it just looks so drat good

To be fair, it's not like they reused a lot of it, especially Defiance
But yeah, these cutscenes look good even now, after 16 years, they have aged even better than SR2 and Defiance in-game graphics, and those aged exceptionally well

Nissin Cup Nudist
Sep 3, 2011

Sleep with one eye open

We're off to Gritty Gritty land






the years have not been kind to Kain

Alexeythegreat
Apr 18, 2015

I shall devour your soul.


Grimey Drawer

Update

Vicissitude
Jan 26, 2004

You ever do the chicken dance at a wake? That really bothers people.

DOOP posted:

the years have not been kind to Kain

At least he fared better than Raziel

Iretep
Nov 10, 2009


Come to think of it, I cant remember if this game actually has loading screens. I remember Jax games bragging about it but I cant remember many PS1 managing to do it.

Alexeythegreat
Apr 18, 2015

I shall devour your soul.


Grimey Drawer

Vicissitude posted:

At least he fared better than Raziel

Still better than being Melchiah

Iretep posted:

Come to think of it, I cant remember if this game actually has loading screens. I remember Jax games bragging about it but I cant remember many PS1 managing to do it.

It does. But the only one that I have encountered so far (between the cinematic intro and the in-game engine intro) lasted for a literal split second, so I didn't have enough time to react and hit the record button in time (yes, I did have to record the cutscene and the game separately, and yes, it will be a spectacular pain in the endgame)

Pesky Splinter
Feb 16, 2011

A worried pug.


About the potential CA of a Soul Reaver Razielim, I've heard it argued this giant bat looking thing may have been intended to be an early design:

Although I'd argue that's rather vague-as-hell reasoning.

The Nosgoth Razielim is kinda neat, I guess

Iretep
Nov 10, 2009


The top one looks more like what Raziel would have turned out by now if he hadnt been thrown to lake Tony Jay.

DropsySufferer
Nov 9, 2008

Impractical practicality


Iretep posted:

The top one looks more like what Raziel would have turned out by now if he hadnt been thrown to lake Tony Jay.

Kain is Simon Templeman not Tony Jay.

Alexey you should really get a $20 xbox pc controller. These games were originally for playstation only and not designed for PC. The controls are bad enough I'd hate to imagine what they would be like using a keyboard.

KeiraWalker
Sep 5, 2011

Me? Don't worry about me...

Grimey Drawer

DropsySufferer posted:

Kain is Simon Templeman not Tony Jay.

He means into Lake Tony Jay by Simon Templeman.

Oblivion4568238
Oct 10, 2012

The Inquisition.
What a show.
The Inquisition.
Here. We. Go.

College Slice

Man, those fast shifts are really throwing me off. I played this on the Dreamcast originally, and I remember shifting being wonderfully slow, watching the world warp around you. It also feels like your water deaths are moving too fast? Like, Raziel has this several second long stagger animation but you're only going through half a second of it before carrying on? But, that's stuff beyond your control I'm sure, and it's been years since I played it on the Dreamcast, so I could be remembering wrong anyways.

I'm enjoying the LP, though. Soul Reaver was always one of my favorites.

Alexeythegreat
Apr 18, 2015

I shall devour your soul.


Grimey Drawer

1) I am thiking about getting a controller. However, I have memories from ca 7 years ago when I tried to play L4D on an Xbox360, and after an hour of struggling with mixing up my buttons and always using the wrong stick I finally gave up and never touched a controller again (EDIT: I just realized that I wrote in the OP that I have never touched a controller )
2) Google tells me that the Dreamcast version had exclusive models (which the googled screenshots confirm) and effects, so that is probably a difference between the DC version and the non-DC versions. We're going to see slow shifts when we get to Defiance... we're going to grow to hate them, too

Alexeythegreat fucked around with this message at 23:19 on Nov 8, 2015

George
Nov 27, 2004

No love for your made-up things.


Using a controller in first person is incorrect 100% of the time, but correct in third person almost as often. Join the party.

Kangra
May 7, 2012



On the other hand, I have the GoG version of this and I only got it to work properly with my controller once. Though it's a Logitech controller that has kind of iffy support under modern Windows anyway.

George
Nov 27, 2004

No love for your made-up things.


Kangra posted:

On the other hand, I have the GoG version of this and I only got it to work properly with my controller once. Though it's a Logitech controller that has kind of iffy support under modern Windows anyway.

Time to dust off the ol' Gravis.

dont skimp on the shrimp
Apr 23, 2008



I've always been interested in these games, but I only managed to play (and give up on) soul reaver 2.

Good work, but could you turn up the dialogue volume a bit? It's really quiet, especially compared to the commentary.

Alexeythegreat
Apr 18, 2015

I shall devour your soul.


Grimey Drawer

Zom Aur posted:

I've always been interested in these games, but I only managed to play (and give up on) soul reaver 2.

Good work, but could you turn up the dialogue volume a bit? It's really quiet, especially compared to the commentary.

The long answer: the dialogue volume is maxed out, so I'll just make everything else a bit quieter
The short answer: sure

dont skimp on the shrimp
Apr 23, 2008



Alexeythegreat posted:

The long answer: the dialogue volume is maxed out, so I'll just make everything else a bit quieter
The short answer: sure
Cool!

Yeah, I noticed you said so during the second video. I should've watched all of it before commenting.

Alexeythegreat
Apr 18, 2015

I shall devour your soul.


Grimey Drawer

Ah, so it's just that part where there's a waterfall that is louder than Raziel
...

why didn't I figure out then that I can just decrease the volume of everything except the speech

dont skimp on the shrimp
Apr 23, 2008



Alexeythegreat posted:

Ah, so it's just that part where there's a waterfall that is louder than Raziel
...

why didn't I figure out then that I can just decrease the volume of everything except the speech
No, it's pretty much every part there's in-game speech. The intro FMV was okay, but everything since that is very hard to hear.

Sometimes it's okay, but times like these it's very hard to make out what raziel says. It could be because of the background music though.

Alexeythegreat
Apr 18, 2015

I shall devour your soul.


Grimey Drawer

Zom Aur posted:

No, it's pretty much every part there's in-game speech. The intro FMV was okay, but everything since that is very hard to hear.

Sometimes it's okay, but times like these it's very hard to make out what raziel says. It could be because of the background music though.

Okay, got it. The next update (which I'm currently editing and which should be up in about an hour) will be with the footage that I already had without the audio adjustments, but beginning with 4 I will fix that issue

Fortunately, the next one has minimal speech

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DukeofCA
Aug 17, 2011

I am shocked and appalled.

This game was my introduction to the Legacy of Kain series, and even as a young'un who generally didn't care about such things, I was struck by the tone and atmosphere the game created. Not to mention the fantastic voice acting, even if some of the more flowery language went over my head at the time. The clever use of the shifting mechanic in later puzzles is neat and fairly well implemented, and helps alleviate Eidos' over-reliance on pushing blocks.

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