Retro Review: A Quick Look Back at Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain

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With the latest PlayStation Store update came the induction of three more titles to Sony’s gradually-blossoming PSone Classics library for the PS3 and PSP: Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, Silent Hill and Syphon Filter 2. Blood Omen happens to be one of my personal favorites from the PSone era (Legacy of Kain is one of my favorite franchises as a whole as well), so I’m thrilled to see it available on PSN and I strongly urge every PS3 and PSP gamer reading this to give it a download…unless, like me, you still have an original copy on hand!

Inspired by its ascension to PSone Classic status, I decided to dig through my collection and break out my old disc copy over the weekend to see how the game has held up over the years — I mostly played on my PS3, but also spent some time with it on my PSP via remote play. I was pretty impressed, though not surprised, by how well Blood Omen has aged. The disc-based load times are still unbearably long at times (anyone with the PSN download version notice improved optimization?) and parts of the interface definitely feel clunky by today’s standards, but in general this game is still as superb now as it was when it first launched on the PSone way back in 1996 (it was also ported to PC the next year).

The top-down action/adventure style is very reminiscent of the traditional Legend of Zelda titles, though the dark, vampiric themes, graphic depiction of gore and violence (by PSone standards) and heavier focus on hack-n-slash swordplay take it in a more mature direction than any of Link’s adventures. The combat isn’t complex at all, and even though you’ll hear Kain shout out the same two or three battle cries with each kill and captured civilians repeatedly (and quite annoyingly) scream out the same pleas for help, hacking through enemies and exploring Nosgoth is a rich, compelling experience.

What still stands out most about Blood Omen, however, is the story and atmosphere. Even compared to high-end PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 games of the current generation, Blood Omen (and the Legacy of Kain series as a whole) showcases some of the best video game voice acting ever. The writing is pretty damn exceptional as well, as is the game’s gothic ambiance and chilling music. And I don’t know about you, but the slurping sound of Kain sucking his victims’ blood is still one of my all-time favorite video game sound effects — it’s so disgusting, yet oh so satisfying!

I’m actually kicking myself for diving back into Blood Omen at this point in the year, because now that I’ve started I’m finding it difficult to pull myself away to concentrate on other priorities. If you too dare to risk distracting yourself from the incoming flood of fall game releases, give Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain a download. $6 is a steal for a true PSone classic!

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About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!