This game is weird. I'm still not sure if it's a great game or if the recurring glitches just ruin the experience. My major fear about it being a 40-hours long corridors has proven to be unfounded. There is still room for exploration and you have a bit of backtracking to do when you gain access to a weapon or a power in order to find hidden places and secrets.
The human disguise has proven itself useful and I'm now able to cross villages unharmed and talk to people instead of murdering them. Granted, they seldom have something interesting to say, but it's a relief not to have to fight my way through every screen numerous times (a lot of slain enemies just respawn when you leave the screen, which is always a great thing for immersion...)
|The huge game world is slowly revealing itself.|
|I consider the "Bring out your dead!" dude a serious Monty Python reference.|
So what's the problem then? Well the game is crippled with little glitches that stain the whole experience. First of all, the graphics are not really clear and more than once I just ended up running in circles because I hadn't seen a door or switch hidden is the complex wall textures. The voice acting is great but there is no subtitles and it happens to sometimes be a challenge, considering I'm not a natural-english speaker. The writing is verbose enough and I sometimes simply don't get what it's told, even if my english understanding is usually pretty good. Another example of these times where game developers were so proud of their full-voiced games they didn't thought of putting subtitles (Trick, I understand what you felt through Mortville Manor even if Blood Omen voice synthesis is far better...) The loading screens can be overwhelming, making you wait a few seconds for every screen change, or when you want to access the menu, or when you change shape, or when you switch weapon, or when you pick your nose.
|Ow come on!!! I had this screen half a second ago!|
But the worse glitch concerns the battles and overall action sequences. The hit-recognition has proven itself a real pain. You can easily be trapped between two enemies and a spiked floor and just bouncing stupidly between their hits, incapable of doing anything and going from a full health bar to near-death in a matter of seconds. Granted, it works both ways and you often can easily kill a stupid enemy who just stands there and wave his sword at the air, incapable of hitting you... The first boss battle was a good example of that : the pattern is interesting, you have to make your way through a lot of magical bullets before being able to get close enough to the dude to hit him, and you're supposed to be able to hit the bullets. It's a good idea and nice change of the hack and slash pattern, but it's ruined by hit-recognition making the bullets near impossible to hit and making it harder than it should be...
As I've mentioned before, you can switch shape to a wolf and be faster and more powerful for a period of time. However, the wolf sprite is much larger than your usual form and some narrow paths are just impossible to negotiate without getting hit a few times by traps or spiked floors... I'll stop rambling about it but you got the point that this game is kind of ruined by little things that could have been avoided with a bit more testing before releasing it...
|The bar on the left shows the number of pillars I have to repair : I think I'm not done with this game yet.|
But I want to keep playing it. The setting and writing more than makes up for these problems and I want to know how the story goes. I want to know what powers I'll gain afterwards and what's hidden is the depths of the world map. Kain is a great character and I want to know the next steps in his rise to power. I just wished the gameplay itself would be less of a mess.