Though convoluted in story, BO2 is a satisfying action game.

User Rating: 7.8 | Blood Omen 2 PS2
I liked BO2, don't get me wrong, but it is a tough game to wrap your brain around. If you're unfamiliar with the LoK series, this shouldn't be the first in the series to play. Or maybe it is, since the story pretty much resolves itself. Your call.

You once again play as Kain, a vampire lord awakening from a deep sleep induced by his loss of power at the hands of a powerful enemy. When he awakes, his campaign is long over and the Sarafan Lord rules with absolute authority. Kain isn't out to save the people from this despot. Rather, he believes it is his land to rule and he will have it.

The graphics are good. Characters are smooth, polished, and the environments are large and detailed. The perpetual darkness is used to mask some pop-up issues, but it does lend a gothic feel to the game. The voice acting of central characters is augmented by proper facial movement, making Kain's dialogue even more engaging.

Sound and music are one of the more outstanding aspects of BO2. The tracks are long and non-repetitive, also adding to the sense of urgency, despondence, and gothic feel of the game's environs. The sound effects are really specific and often gut-churning. Finally, the voice acting is excellent, an expectation in LoK games.

Gameplay is heavily based on combat and less on puzzles than the other LoK games. That said, the battle system is unique because it combines positive elements from similar games. Like in Soul Reaver, Kain can arm himself with nearly every weapon he comes across. Each weapon creates new comboes, fatalities, stealth kills (those are really fun), frenzy attacks (also really cool, Matrix-style) and the need for different combat strategy. Realism is present in this unrealistic world in that weapons do in fact break as a result of the pummeling endured by Kain and his enemies. Kain can also use his own claws to devestate enemies, and it is in this "unarmed but armed" mode that Kain's defense will not break. Speaking of defense, that is crucial to survival. No turtling here; to block, you must press the defense button at just the right time to avoid damage. If you don't figure this ability out fast, you won't survive past the 1st boss. Too much blocking, on the part of Kain or his victim, and the weapon currently employed will break. Kain can also grab and lift most enemies and cruelly attack them. For example, his Predator-style spring-loaded spear is thrust into the ribs and yes, the temple of the head. Gruesome. Kain also learns magic and skills that aid in completing certain tasks. His long jump can be used for platforming but also for surprise attacks. Immolate (meaning destroy by fire) is just for combat, but is awesome. I am at a loss for why these sweet skills were removed in Defiance. Because of the varied commands and requirements, the controls are responsive and tight. Enough said.

What was not good about this game was how it messed up the continuity of the LoK storyline. Janos' appearance was explained by Defiance, but the resurgence of a now-humble Vorador has yet to be explained. Remember him? He was beheaded at the end of Blood Omen. So he's dead at the end of both Blood Omen and Defiance, but he lives again in Blood Omen 2 but is dead again by the time of Soul Reaver. WIll this apparent scew-up be resolved? Doubtful. We can all just tell ourselves that he was resurrected by Kain to be a general in his army but disposed of him after the events of BO2 to rid himself as a possible contender for Kain's empire. Also, many of the vampire characters look to feline for me.

Overall, this is the weakest in the LoK series. However, it is still good and fun for LoK fans or those who are curious. If you are looking for a stand-alone action game, however, maybe you should look elsewhere.