LoK retrospective pt1: Bosses Picture

Over this summer I played over the Four main games of the Legacy of Kain Series. When I first played through these games at their release I was confused over many plot elements in it and a little disappointed with the ending to the final game, But with a distance of 5 years from my initial reactions, and a better understanding of mythology and storytelling, I replayed these games and have gotten a much better idea of it.

This Retrospective will look over a lot aspects of the Legacy of Kain Series including what I felt they did right, where they went wrong, and what makes those Yaoi fangirls so misguided.

The Bosses of the LoK series are a good place to start, because of the sharp contrast between how each game handles them and it give you a great idea of how this gameplay element contributes to a games story. The first parts to the series had many bosses structured around them, but the latter one had very few and only as the story obligated them to have. By Soul Reaver 2, the Developers had come to the decision to make the game story driven over using bosses to define different levels. This decision was not met well with players and it begs the question whether the game would have done better if it did have bosses in it, and more importantly "why?"

A boss Battle and the structure of fighting a boss after every-so levels comes across as something than helps the gameplay more than the story; a throwback to the days of supermario. And they do Limit the games story in many ways, most notably how in nearly every boss you are expected to defeat them. In Soul Reaver one the first battle with Kain requires you to hit Kain 3 times and then Kain will defeat you in a cinematic, which did make the battle detriment the story in some ways. The other bosses are crucial to the story in being the fathers of the different vampire broods, and they battles each embodied extreme examples of the different techniques in combating vampires that exist through nosgoth: Impaling wounds, Inflicting burns, Exposing the Sun, and how a vampire can become a wraith if unimpaled (Sound was also used, but cut out of the game for lack of time). A story needs structure, and in games, bosses provide that.

That isn't to say Soul Reaver 2 did not have those things, it has climactic moments, but it only has them outside of gameplay (save for the fight with Raziel). As the story in SR2 tenses and calms while the gameplay stays at a gentle raising of difficulty and so the player feels seperated from the story and the story loses the impact that the gameplay should be giving it.

To finish on a lesser Extreme is Legacy of Kain, Defiance. This game did have more bosses, but they were not in sync with the story or provide the challenge needed until the end half of the game.
There is a reason for this, and it will continue in the next part of this retrospective.
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