Blood Omen Legacy of Kain Review: Oct 31 - 2018


Newly Dead
Oct 24, 2018
I wish Blood Omen could be on Steam, so many of my old games I can't play anymore. Then again some old games that are on Steam I can't play anyway, I got Arcanum not long ago, it's a headache to get it started on Windows 10 because they sell you the game as is and you have to do all the patching yourself. I imagine Blood Omen would be a similar case unless GOG releases it first.
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Newly Dead
Nov 6, 2018
ICELAND! No not really though...
Maybe even just 4-5 years ago I thought about breaking out the jewel case version to replay on Playstation 1... that just doesn't happen with most games to be replayable like that.

I feel like I should also mention that I got introduced to this game via a bunch of people who were all into super M rated style games and very gruesome Carmageddon esque types of stuff, it's also fallen by the wayside a bit but I remember when that would be incredibly controversial, and now that I think about it, it still is to a degree.

This is where I go on my really long tangent, those are the only two paragraphs I intended to start with!

It's definitely a different era now where people are expressing different viewpoints in academic or even public settings, and it's considered acceptable but once upon a time people would try and tie all this stuff to like an active worship of the occult and all that.

Well ok, so I got in one post before I went on sort of a tangent haha..

But really so far as I knew, they themselves were in no way connected to the occult or blood and violence, which I think is a much better counterpoint than the response then which would just be to say something like "Well coming from a person who supports this," so far as I know, the basic point that it is a fictional, non-real portrayal is quite simply the real reason why this media has survived.

Besides, if we never discuss or address the themes of the violence then we'll never get anywhere! That's what I think.

In fact maybe that's why I wanted to bring this up, since we're all hardcore gamers I think basically and belong to an era where the old political tagline was levied, it might be best to just sorta formulate that response.

And, I think maybe it's clear, since I've arrived here and not any number of other places, that I can definitely see the argument and support the argument that the violence in Kain is fundamentally different from say what you seein Carmageddon, which in turn is different from any other games and a number of things.

In fact, I would, probably on the whole, see Kain as maybe the more nuanced portrayal of a character, as being more fundamentally about a person in a violent era and surrounded by violence than necessarily in support of wanton violence, although it's also interesting to assess maybe his character in that point also.

Meanwhile, other games might get a T rating or something and have explicit or graphic violence, or things that I view as much more disturbing but because of artificial rules about the amount of blood and similar things.

Anyway, that is way longer and on a different topic than I expected, in fact I was thinking I'd start talking about the fun side of things and yet when I sat down to type this is what came out! Yikes! Maybe haha...

Maybe I'm just concerned that a lot of us who have played games a long time are forgetting some of the older criticisms because so much new stuff is going on, and that if there's a lack of addressing it it could make the whole thing sorta vulnerable, especially now that it's the go time and the game is out. As in, it's out in the news I'm referring to Deadhaus Sonata.

Ok but first of all this is ALL about Kain, in this post, I'm not talking about Deadhaus because there isn't any information to go on, I just wanted to explain that is really 100% about an older topic and in no way intended to diffuse enthusiasm about the new project or connect it any way.. I just think it's important for some reason.

But I wonder instead if some older cranky anti-fan about video games might show up at some point and sling that dart which could be sort of depressing.

Like! This is fascinating, I just read that Rockstar is NOT going to make GTA! I mean that was one of the biggest franchises ever, and one of the biggest video game franchises ever, but clearly reacting to basically the old criticism and saying, hey, maybe they were right.

I mean I should use, I am SHOCKED! WHOA! Like I can't believe I haven't seen more about this but then again I basically would always get gaming news from just magazines and small sources.

Well who knows really, maybe they were right in a global sense, that is, that the time is absolutely inappropriate for violent games of a certain kind, but at the same time, the argument then and now is simply that portrayls of sort of graphic violence and what feels to them like violent characters/universes are therefore bad, and there is probably a harm also in taking that simple argument to be true and acting upon it.

For instance, legal violence obviously exists, in the form of incarceration, in the form of fines/penalties, and many other avenues and has existed as such for milennia, but those, typically by virtue of their legal status, acquire a kind of impenetrability.

Meanwhile, the possibility of violence in a fictional form, that is to say, what people would find in a book, movie, TV show, or video game, engenders a great deal of suspicion.

So I guess for me, what really motivates the old political ideology for media violence is bad, isn't the violence as much as the sense of legality or propriety, because we can easily find far greater acts of violence both IRL and in other media portrayls.

And furthermore, that in my opinion doesn't analyze the differences between different violent games, with Kain standing in one point and others in some other area,

Kain acts alone, for instance, he acts as part of some obscure Vampire cult, he acts really with basically his own sort of conscience that is molded by a combination of fear, knowledge, certainty, courage, the world around him, and a huge variety of factors that are altogether indistinct from the actions of the legalistic entity, which is also informed by those same or similar factors.

Maybe it's the weight given to numbers or to different things, but that seems to be animating the discussion more than anything, we aren't having a discussion about violence, we're having a discussion about legality, and rightness, in my opinion, when it comes to that really old criticism and which would be applied naturally more to RPGs of a certain kind most of all it seems.

Therefore, it seems to me, that the real reason these criticisms surfaced with respect to these video games, is based primarily on prejudice towards a certain kind of person or habit or behavior and not accurately on the media itself in any way, which I think we've all known the whole time, but over time you begin to gain followers and I think they would be convinced of that at this point in time.

As for the heart of the criticism, the legality, since that never really approached, due to the above, and maybe because I"m just not accurately characterizing it but that's my take, since that would be buried beneath the prejudice, and as for this instance, well Kain is quite simply a complex game, no different than characters who perpetuate violence in Shakespearean plays and other venerated aspects of western culture in particular, so...

I say! That old bug should just be gone at this point, and I have no idea why I completely unprompted wrote like a small book on the topic but I just feel like double standards are obviously evil, and in this case they obscure what could be actually a pretty fascinating debate maybe on multiple levels.

And also because I have enjoyed Kain, and want to continue to follow Kain-like things because I just think they're really important for society and culture generally, as maybe the focal point of being on the other side of things.

And maybe also because it's Canadian and I feel like they'd actually approach this topic with some degree of sensitivity whereas America currently is just overflowing with the "as long as it makes money" logic and nothing else really, which isn't even an insult I suppose most people consider the pragmatacism important.

Ok maybe I should just sum up.

1. Video games particularly mature themed RPGs etc would be heavily criticized for being connected to the occult/supporting violence/being horrendous etc and that's something familiar to anyone older who has played games.
2. The criticism would be applied primarily to these people even though similar media or even different media with large amounts of violence (Hollywood movies etc) largely would escape censure, this is a double standard and has been one forever and I think it's about time it disappears.
3. The criticism seemed to be taking into account the reasons for and legitimacy of the violence based on some set of standards rather than absosolutely the raison d'etre etc for the violence.
4. Legacy of Kain, Blood Omen, analyzed individually has much more in common in my opinion, at any rate, if you ignored all of the above, with classic literature and media portrayls of various kinds that are generally accepted, which also helps prove point 2.
5. I myself personally do not find Kain to be an altogether, er, how should I put this, problematic really portrayal of violence. I say really only because when I play it I definitely am the type to sorta not like attack random civilians or townspeople etc and I definitely think there are probably people who play it that way and I'd probably find that, well, lets just say creepy haha! Although technically that's the game portion, it's not necessarily the universe or characters but how the players themselves choose to play which is a unique aspect of the video game formula.

Honestly though, even things like sucking blood from civlians "death would be a mercy" perhaps somewhat true, cutting my way through hordes of soldiers, I mean the original reason, revenge etc, plus the fact that like everyone in Kain is so evil and it feels like more just protecting yourself, rather than the other way even though we learn Kain definitely has mixed feelings on the topic of saving humanity and so on versus being cast aside etc.

Anyway, I think this feels like a weird first major post because it's sort of a depressing topic, but this is coming from someone with like stacks of video games to the ceiling practically so clearly there's a lot of video game stuff done. That is to say, I mean I've played so many different kinds and plenty of RPGs and such. And well I don't think I've ever really felt more intensity that like this isn't ok or a good idea and that honestly considering the massive amount of violent media and protrayls out there with no criticism or attention makes me feel rather sad.

Also I don't know if, well, I'm sure many people have noticed but Japanese games also rarely get this sort of treatment, even stuff like WRPGs where you lead hordes of soldiers in opposition to this or that and it's sort of like, eh!

But to make the final point home I still play and support many of those games, because of just a variety of reasons.

The final final point

Anyway Kain has been out a long time now and I guess I just wanted to say everything else I could think about it, to kinda complete what I saw and how I felt about it then and now...

Also I watched the video completely and even after all the serious considerations I thought the video had a humerous tone and is very well intended and neat.

I guess if I had to summarize in a conclusive way er, "remaster!" perhaps? One day? Many moons from now perhaps when everything else has succeeded, a kind of pure directors cut perhaps or maybe just an updating for modern systems, or even just a re- release for playstation something because many of our old PS1 discs are getting all beat up sadly, er well, mine is anyway.

I think that plus a potential true direct sequel, assuming it's still the best game for it or rather game model for that point in time whenever that might be if it ever comes up at all would complete the whole thing.

I think this is basically everything I can say about that series and game as a stand alone copy, given time place circumstance, both internal and external considerations, based on what we know, and all that said I'm definitely interested by what other properties are around, so with that maybe one day in the future! We could talk about it all like it's just 199... er... 1996? Heh can't remember exactly the year...
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Herr Pfannkuchen
Eternal Champion
Feb 21, 2018
@Kefka1134 video games definitely still are a misunderstood medium. You touched upon something that I'd like to put into perspective, that people wrongly connect the content of a game with the player's personal mindset. I'll get into that more later, but first I'd like to comment on your remark that they don't make the same mistake with other forms of media, like movies and books.

Truth is, that they did do that with movies and books. It's an illness that seems to generally come with new forms of art. In history like misunderstandings were only temporary. I'm hopeful that it will be the same with video games. But even if it won't, you can clearly see the parallel. (I could go on a tangent here and go on about how people are just scared of everything that's new or unknown... when you read things people wrote about trains back when those were new, it sounds an awful lot like what some people say about video games today. But I will stop here, you can research that more for yourself.)

But in general, I think there are two common almost antithetical misunderstandings, both of which are equally as harmful:
  1. If someone plays videogames with violent content, they will learn to think that this violence is okay and soon employ the same kind of violence
  2. Violence in videogames is completely immaterial and it's okay for little kids to play FPS games with their friends.
Interestingly enough, there's often people who think that both statements are accurate while not seeing how they're not compatible. We, of course, know that both are wrong.

Kids shouldn't be subjected to this content, not because it will teach them that murder is okay and they will turn into murderers growing up, but because these games require some prior knowledge and maturity in order to be taken the right way. Those big publishers of mainstream FPSs don't care, all they care about is maximizing their income. I really wish publishers would take some responsibility and act like the adults they are, doing their best to limit exposure of kids to their content.

On the other hand, kids shouldn't be completely sheltered from anything remotely implying violence either. They need to learn that it exists, and how they can deal with it. And not only violence, but death, illness, or just bullying and identity. They need to learn that they're okay. That not everyone will agree with them, and that that's okay. And how to deal with bad situations as they arise. Glorified war games just don't tackle these issues at all, they're just kill or be killed. And again, that's not going to turn them into heartless killers... but it will hold back the development they should be going through.

Obviously I don't mean to say that kids should all play BO:LoK. While I'd argue it would be better for them than playing Call of Duty or Fortnite, I don't think either are the right way for them to be confronted with death for the first time. What is the right way? I don't really know. But I do wonder if the extreme popularity of "kill or be killed" kind of games today is due to a deficit in many people's upbringing. I'm not saying these games don't have their place or that everyone who likes them is dumb, I'm just talking about the extreme broadness of their popularity.