Soul Reaver may have been the most overly ambitious game ever. (research thread)

Breaking the horizontal scroll makes it hard to read such a huge and informative post.

I played a good bit of Soul Reaver, but it didn't grab me like it grabbed (apparently) everybody else. I could only slide so many boxes around.
 

~Kinggi~

Banned
Breaking the horizontal scroll makes it hard to read such a huge and informative post.

I played a good bit of Soul Reaver, but it didn't grab me like it grabbed (apparently) everybody else. I could only slide so many boxes around.

Gamers werent used to such large, interesting dynamically streaming worlds back in the psone days. Shifting between realities was fun all by itself.
 
Damn it Mama Robotnik! Sometimes I think that you are/were somehow part of Crystal Dynamics's Soul Reaver team! You get so much info out about a game that's 12 years old!

...

BUT THAT'S AWESOME!

Man, I loved so much Soul Reaver, and I remembered watching those other Soul Reavers that I wasn't able to use, and seeing paths or hints of the world map being even bigger... and thought that maybe they'll all be seen in the sequel but wasn't like that!

It's great to see how ambitious this game was, and the grand scale it had in mind, and all the different mechanics that they were thinking (like the possession one).

But still, Soul Reaver was a fairly long game (for what I remember), would it have benefit of being a longer game? Would've bactracking ruin the game? Or maybe the excessive abilities would've been lost opportunities or barely used or even bad implemented?

Everything I read was awesome though, and the plans they had were amazing! This game would've been the Baldurs Gate 2 of the Third Persons (time and story wise).

Right now, I'm playing Darksiders II and many times makes me wish for a new Soul Reaver game, with up to date graphics, awesome art style and unmatched voice acting and story!

Why man... why do I have to suffer every time I read your threads! ='(

THANKS A MILLION DUDE!
 

Yo Gotti

Banned
I remember putting so much time into this as a kid and not getting anywhere. I think it was too overwhelming at the time. I did love it though.

The only way I could get back into this game today is if they made a remake with modern graphics and less block pushing.
 

lifa-cobex

Member
Look through all of that material makes me feel so nostalgic.

I think its another FF7 feeling.
Would LOVE a remake and i'm sure it would fly of the shelves.
However something just wouldn't be right about it.

But hell if I remember correctly, I think they could even continue the series. In one way or another
 

AkIRA_22

Member
Great work mate, seriously good read. SR is my favourite game on PSX. I have always wanted a sequel to complete the story. As you say it just ends, with the extra stuff you have found it would have been an even better game, which makes me kind of sad. Just everything about this game was great. Puzzles, combat, graphics the complete package.

SR was already quite a long game for the time. Adding the cut Content would have made it epic, though it may have become too long. I mean a 40 hour 3rd person action/adventure game is kind of overwhelming. And there was way too much block pushing. But the world transition puzzles were nothing short of genius, perfect use of a game mechanic, perfect.

You are spot on, it would have taken a miracle to make this happen on PSX. It blew me away they did what they did, the streaming tech was revolutionary on console at the time... I will be buying this on GoG as soon as I'm finished typing this.

Great thread.
 

Dugstar

Neo Member
Amazing Game at an amazing time in Gaming ... back then of course.

I remember this being my first true Adventure game that I played back then and loved every minute of the game.. more or less.

Be good to see someone do a thread like this but on Shenmue .....
 

Dresden

Member
I was real disappointed as a kid when I'd search all the later areas looking for more, assuming they'd be there, seeing places I could possibly go, but finding out that ultimately, that was it.

Lovely game, though. One of the all-time greats.
 

ezekial45

Banned
There was a time where I confused this game with Akuji the Heartless, another game from CD.

Anyway, I've always been meaning to play this game and reading your OP has inspired me to do so. How's the PC version? I noticed on GOG for a decent price, and I may just bite.
 

tsab

Member
Another great thread about SR. Thanks Mama Robotnik.
i enjoy this kind of threads but simultenously makes me sad because it reminds me that we may wait a long time for another game in the series.
 

scitek

Member
Anyone picking the game up from GOG after reading this. Get the widescreen/60fps mod for it here, assuming you don't mind a stretched HUD and don't want to play in 4:3.

To use a controller, you'll need to download Xpadder or Pinnacle Game Profiler and make or find a profile. There's in-game pad support, but it's borked and I just walk endlessly in circles. So I set the in-game option to keyboard controls, and used Xpadder to make a profile. Works fine.
 
A few further thoughts - I'll respond to comments properly in a bit (many many thanks for the nice responses though! - I've fixed the horizontal stretch in the OP):


SPOILERS FOR LATER GAMES

Much of the cut content ended up being re-interpreted in subsequent Legacy of Kain games. In particular, the team found ways to integrate the Chronoplast Visions of Possible Futures (effectively FMV recordings of the cut content inserted as a plot point) as actual events in Soul Reaver 2 and Defiance:






















































 

lifa-cobex

Member
Epic thread dude.

As much as the cut ending intrigue's me. I am glad the squeals were made while keeping in mind what was originally cut.

That ending does sounds fantastic but a bit too final.
 
You make some of my favorite threads, MamaRobotnik. Gotta play through this series once I clean up my backlog. I'll start with Blood Omen once the Vita is patched to play ps1 classics :) Or do y'all recommend the GOG route?
 

KAL2006

Banned
Never played any of these games. but I got Soul Reaver for £2 from PSN, hopefully it will be playable on Vita when PS1 support comes.
 

Bit-Bit

Member
I saw a magazine cover that claim it was playstations answer to the Legend of Zelda so of course I had to play it.

The intro blew my mind. It felt so mature and advance for the time. I think I'll replay it sometime later this week.
 

Robot Pants

Member
Well then. Now is the time to make all those things happen. Remake, sequel, whatever. I'm in.
edit: oh it was in the sequels. I didn't play those :(
 
The most ambitious game had to have been Shenmue. Spanned multiple hardware, enormous budget, tons of features/locations cut, etc. It remains an immensely detailed game and it's kind of ridiculous to think that a lot of things were cut out.


Shenmue is definitely up there.
Beyond Good & Evil also had like 6 planets planned, before just settling on one planet & a moon.

Fable 1, enough said. They promised back then what still isn't implemented in any current or future planned games.
 

teiresias

Member
I've never played Legacy of Kain - I own it on PSN but the way the camera moves, the close zoom level, and the small play area give me horrid motion sickness when playing the game so I've never really played it much.

However, I played the first Soul Reaver on Dreamcast (still have it actually) and really enjoyed it, but never got around to the second game. I might pick up the PC versions to replay the first and play the second. Will they work with a 360 controller on the PC?
 

BHK3

Banned
I was able to find a complete uncompressed OGG rip of the game a while back. Its like 700 megs or something and has a ton of tracks. Actually i think a website has it hosted for free. Like a website dedicated to hosting Soul Reaver stuff.

Unfortunatly most of the songs are copies of one another but with slightly different effects to them. Like 5 different versions of the 'citidal' theme, one sounding normal, one sounding more etheral and the other 3 just have slight modifications.
 

ss_lemonade

Member
Weren't there ways (cheats?) to unlock the different reavers in the game? I remember using the yellow one on the dreamcast, but I also remember it only being a cosmetic change.
 

Satchel

Banned
I remember really enjoying the game on Dreamcast.

Would love a sequel launching on the next gen consoles.

Great effort on the OP.
 

DocSeuss

Member
Well, my first reaction is to say that I think STALKER is the most overly-ambitious game ever, because I've played a lot of its cut content, and holy fuck it is ambitious.

That doesn't stop this thread from being absolutely incredible, though. Will be poring over it in more detail later.
 

Xero

Member
yea. starting to remember bits a pieces now you mention it. Just getting one power to the next and cut scenes of story.
I know the ending was good though. Even if it was too way easy lol.



If you wanna go all out story wise. Get Blood omen 1 and 2 first. Then start on the Soul Reaver series

Blood omen 2 takes place after defiance technically. If I remember correctly. I will throw in that Blood omen needs more love in this thread. Its a great top down gothic rpg. You become so godlike by the end too. A lot of the stuff in the later games is far more awesome if you played blood omen too, since the events and characters have huge parts in soul reaver 2 and defiance. Blood omen IMO is really necessary to experience the whole story. Although their was a ton of great ideas for soul reaver I'm glad a lot got cut for multiple reasons. One the length of the game was already quite long, and if all that remained it easily would have out stayed its welcome, particularly if there was a lot of block puzzles in that content. The second of which I much prefer how the story progresses, it gets much better with the sequels. The expansive world with tons of history throughout was amazing when it came out. Actually I remember I rented the game made it part way through and didn't beat it. Then I bought blood omen beat that and then replayed and beat soul reaver.

I was really disappointed with how blood omen 2 turned out. Not just talking about how it was by far the weakest game in the series, but because of what the early game was shaping up to be. I remember reading an early EGM article talking about how blood omen 2 was going to be kain stuck in this giant city in a free roam game, where you had to stick to the shadows and lure people to alley ways to feed on them. An open world vampire game set in the legacy of kain universe? Sign me up!
 

Doomshine

Member
Well this thread convinced me to finally start Blood Omen, I bought it from the PSN sale. I also bought Soul Reaver. Is SR2 available on PSN in any region?
 

Touch

Member
beautiful game. beautiful thread. This takes me back to the days where I and my best friend would play and discuss the game for hours, days, weeks at a time. To this day when I see him Soul Reaver gets brought up at least once or twice.
 
I love these threads and hate them at the same time. On one hand they're extremely interesting, on the other hand it reminds me one of my favorite franchises will never see another game in the series.
 

diamount

Banned
It pains me to see the lack of detail this gen that Soul Reaver had. Everything was perfectly laid together - the setting, the story, the characters. Even then they ahd so much cut content, just have to say kudos to CD for all that hard work.

Eagerly awaiting your next thread, op.
 

Xero

Member
somehow looks like this got cut (like tons of soul reaver content) from my last post

A large portion of these discoveries were made years ago by Ben Lincoln at The Lost Worlds, and I'd like to thank that site.

I must have read through that site 3 times over the years. Amazing site. Amazing work on the topic as well.
 
That is a truly fascinating write up Mama. What is the story with the sequel? I never played the second game. Did they just put all the story arcs they had planned on the cutting room floor as well?
 

Cassius

Member
I don't know if I'll ever get the time to dive into this series, but man that intro music is incredible. Been sitting here listening to it while I read this thread. Sounds like it had a really well developed cast, I'd like to see it get some love next console generation.
 

ferr

Member
It would be cool if Crystal Dymamics decided to remake Soul Reaver, keeping all of the cut material in this time.
 
I've never played this game, seems like I missed out on something fairly grand. Is there a PC version as well?

http://www.gog.com/gamecard/legacy_of_kain_soul_reaver

This is really making me want to play it. Does it hold up?

Well, given that the game is thirteen years old and was designed for a console with 2MB RAM, its obviously not going to look as good as modern games. But (and understand that I am horribly biased), I think it looks pretty impressive given its age:













(From the vanilla PC release)

The music is very impressive, and voice acting and writing are the best in the industry. The exploration is original and uses powers not often seen in the Metroidvania genre - phasing through gates, constricting objects, setting things on fire, etc. There are a lot of unique locations (like a church filled with insect vampires, or a flooded abbey filled with mermen from Hell), and the game has a tremendous imagination to it.

The concerns are if (1) you think the graphics above are good enough, and (2) if you have patience for a couple of block puzzles - there's about a dozen in the game, spaced out in a few locations, that do get a bit repetitive.

The game definitely holds up. The PC version however, from what I've heard, was not as optimised as the PS1 version. Best version is the Dreamcast Version because of sharper textures.

The PC version is optimised very well, and looks and plays better than the PSX release at all times. The Dreamcast version is a stunning port by Nixxes Software, with the best texturework of all three versions. The ultimate way to play the game, I imagine, would be to use a Dreamcast to rip a copy of Soul Reaver to the PC, then play it in High Definition using a Dreamcast emulator. A lot of hassle going through all that, I imagine.

I'm favourite game of that generation.

possible reboot on the way. Do you think this is for real?
http://www.vg247.com/2012/03/20/rumour-crystal-dynamics-working-on-soul-reaver-reboot/

That so many sites reported on such a rumour nearly simultaneously, combined with a recent incident on a Crystal Dynamics podcast, makes me optimistic.

The host of the podcast was unexpectedly asked a question regarding the Legacy of Kain, and responded (paraphrased) "I'm not allowed to talk about that!". Seems like a strange response if the franchise was stone cold dead.

Have to say I'm VERY glad the ending was changed. For me, the games have always been about Kain, and using that ending would have pretty much ruined the series, nevermind prevented further games.

It's been a while since I played it, but didn't some of those cut forges make it into SR2?


Agreed, the cut story direction gave us the incredible Soul Reaver 2 story, which was far truer to Kain's history and intent. Nonetheless, Kain had to die at some point, and going out (as per the intended ending) by being murdered by his own son in a predestination suicide bid before a massive church nukes the planet of all undead life, is a hell of a bombastic way to bow out.

Yeah, the Light Forge (and a second Fire Forge) appear in Soul Reaver 2. The Water Forge and Spirit Forges eventually appear in Defiance (with a third Fire Forge!).

I have very mixed feelings about Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. The introduction of Raziel, and the dynamic of Raziel and Kain was anything but epic. But once you actually begin the game you realize that you are stuck in that drab, empty, and decrepit version of Nosgoth. Exploring through that empty gray world and moving block puzzles was not so exhilarating. The plot itself begins and ends, but there isn't much substance in outside of the major Kain confrontations.

Hennig really overhauled Soul Reaver 2 into the real classic of the Soul Reaver series. Though mostly it is the dialogue and cinematics that blow me away.

I disagree quite a lot, as I'm sure you can imagine, but your opinion is as valid as mine. Given the originality in Nosgoth - a Citadel cradling the last humans, a church of undead insects, a flooded abbey, a lighthouse filled with blind vampires, etc, I couldn't ever describe the world as drab. The screenshots above also confirm that the world is hardly "empty and grey" all the time. Block puzzles I'll give you though.

This obsession with Soul Reaver is getting unhealthy OP.


You love it.

I played both the PS1 and DC version and it's been a long time but I'm sure that in one of the versions there was a glitch that gives you access to the light reaver.

In the game you can access the Spectral, Material and Fire reavers. The Ariel (yellow) and Kain (black and red) Reavers are accessible via cheat codes - but are only superficial colour changes with none of the enhanced powers.

Great thread. But this makes me wonder: exactly what was the original scope of this game? Soul Reaver was a very long and very large game, ambitious in both scale and technology. This looks like the game was originally double (or longer) in length. How could they have hoped to finish this all and would it even make the game better to be so large?

We'll never know of course - but I blitzed through the original Soul Reaver in a weekend, and felt utterly unfilfilled by the ending (well, until Soul Reaver 2 came out). I would have liked to have explored more - especially the Undercity and Turel's territory - but for the story of the series its best things worked out as they did.

GI've never played SR2. Is it a) good and b) does it vary up the gameplay? I really want to play something like a puzzle dungeoner..

(1) I'm biased, but Soul Reaver 2 is good. Its got the best story in the series, there are more diverse enemies and environments, the puzzles are varied, and it might have my favourite art of the whole series.











(2) The combat is very similar, though Raziel is armed with further melee moves and fatalities. The puzzles are a massive improvement and are imaginative - examples are
restoring hearts to corpses to satisfy statue gods, blinding lazer eye golems, making bridges of darkness and staircases out of dried blood, etc
. The Forges - Soul Reaver 2's dungeons - are some of the best puzzles of the series. There are no block puzzles in this game.

I must mention though that the payoff in Soul Reaver 2 is that it is more linear and provides less opportunities for exploration. I was so involved with the world and story that I didn't notice, but your opinion may or may not be similar.

Right I'll answer more tomorrow, its getting way too late here.
 
I was obsessed with Soul Reaver during its first announcement up to its release. Really special game for me. I had known that they over-designed the game and had to cut lots of stuff out. Luckily, most of it was used in the sequels.

Also, SR2 has the best ending ever written. ''I renounce you!'' and ''....we fell right into their trap!'' Brilliantly written and acted!
 
Once again, thanks for all the information Mama Robotnik. Pretty much lost count of how many threads of yours I've read about this game. Even without all this, what an amazing game it was back then.

(R.I.P. Tony Jay)
 

Ranger X

Member
Well, I noticed that in the game when I was playing it back then but still I didn't know there was THAT much cut content.

I mean, they really wielded their axe professionally because I thought the end product was still an amazing game!
 

curttard

Banned
Soul Reaver's Nosgoth was the best world in gaming. Empty and decrepit or not, no other world felt as real to me, with that sense of history behind everything you saw.
 
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