People still love the immersive experience that well-crafted single-player games can offer. It baffles me that one of the most renowned narrative-driven series of all time, Legacy of Kain, has been dormant for almost 18 years now when it’s arguably the perfect time for Square Enix to bring it back.
Multiplayer gaming has lately risen in popularity as a way for individuals to keep in contact with friends and family who live far away. Single-player games, on the other hand, have retained a sizable following. The solo games Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, The Last of Us: Part II, and Ghost of Tsushima were the fifth, sixth, and seventh best-selling games in 2020, according to NPD Group.
This thought has been in my mind for a while now spurred on by the past two years of countless rumors regarding a potential remake of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, the most popular game in the franchise. Unfortunately, thus far the rumors seem to be unsubstantiated. If the concept of time-traveling vampires sounds hokey on paper, I assure you it plays out better in-game.
Two vampires are locked in an endless struggle battling moral grays and exploring themes like sacrifice and the concept of free will. It’s surprisingly poignant for a series that looks to be all blood and guts upon first glance. While the story is one of the best in video game history, the gameplay itself has aged poorly.
After playing the woefully unoriginal Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars the other day, I was reminded what made Legacy of Kain so special – its bizarre storyline, gothic setting, intriguing characters and philosophical musings were fresh and original when it started in 1996, and it still holds up today.
The combat is monotonous, and navigating the levels can feel arbitrary and needlessly convoluted. But standards have changed. Those mechanics were perfectly acceptable two decades ago. At the time, even the gameplay of the Legacy of Kain was held in fairly high regard. Who doesn’t want to slash their way through hordes of undead and human vampire hunters as a vorpal blade-wielding, magically imbued and cold-blooded renegade.
Part of the problem may be that media centered on vampires feels cliché in recent years. In many ways, the “Twilight” series was the proverbial nail in the coffin for vampire stories. Stephenie Meyer sought to emulate Anne Rice with a bombastic depiction of vampires in modern times, and while the result was popular, it was also so ridiculously overly dramatic that it arguably tainted the genre for years to come.