Some of the most highly regarded video games of all time, rely on their ability to tell a story, whether through the speechlessness and juxtaposed musical abilities of Link, the sorrow filled music, hauntingly beautiful landscape of Final Fantasy X, or the heart wrenching moments of The Last of Us, video games have done much in the way of storytelling.
A sad thing is witnessed when a game has the lore and background that lends itself to be a great game, but, the story itself is lackluster; an example of this is Dragon age 2.
While I love the epic size and scope of the world created by Bioware, its execution of its main strength, storytelling, fell completely apart for me. This is by no means an article bemoaning the failings of Dragon age 2, I am simply speaking of one game in recent memory that had the lore down pact, but the story itself was “meh”, at best.
As a gamer I have had my fair share of stories, and good dialogue, I also, unfortunately, had my fair share of horrendous dialogue and sub-par Lore. My favorite times as a gamer has been, not only, shoot outs with the police/military (i.e. Grand Theft Auto series), saving the masses from harm (Assassin’s Creed), and fighting against button mashers (Street Fighter), it has also been listening to the beautiful art form that is gaming.
John green, author of acclaimed book “The Fault In Our Stars” wrote:
“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”
I have to add to that, to hear words so painstakingly put together, as to become music, is its own reward. While movies have done much for the spoken world, and many of the greatest lines of dialogue have come from movies, there have also been amazing pieces of dialogue that has been made into video games.
Though you may not agree with me, I am bold enough to place in front of you my thoughts about the forgotten dramas within the video game world in this, hopefully, the first of many articles.
Without further ado, I present, my thoughts of, one of the games, that need a reboot solely on their lore:
Face me, Kain. Even you shouldn’t die a coward’s death.
Kain finally turns to respond; he has delayed Raziel as long as he needed to.
Isn’t it customary to grant the condemned a final request?
I recall no such courtesy from you.
Indulge me, Raziel.
All I ask is that you listen.
At this moment, an unearthly wailing begins to be audible, increasing in volume as it fills the clearing.
This is the sublime moment of our undoing, Raziel – the ineffable fulcrum upon which swings the entirety of our history.
This is where all of Nosgoth is betrayed.
In this instant, Ariel – the Balance Guardian – is murdered by dark forces bent on overthrowing the Pillars.
Her spirit is just now tearing free, lost in the ether, trying to find its way here.
You have already seen how she comes to haunt these Pillars –
– bound here by your refusal to die. You are the reason this land becomes diseased – as long as you remain alive you condemn Nosgoth to an eternity of decay.
Kain gently raises his hand to silence Raziel, and intently urges him –
Be still, Raziel. See this.
The sky darkens, the wind begins to gust, and birds scatter from the clearing in alarm. A low, nearly sub-audible rumble swells, as though a massive storm is gathering.
Kain continues, with some urgency –
As Ariel dies, I am being born to take her place as Balance Guardian.
Such is my destiny.
Suddenly, the entire clearing is rocked by an indescribable force – A telepathic blast bursts across the landscape with a thunderous rumble, and distorting waves of energy ripple across the clearing.
Kain visibly tenses as he absorbs the onslaught of this psychic attack.
The Pillars, initially white and pristine, begin to crack and corrode as they turn gray with corruption.
Kain begins to speak again as the telepathic assault recedes.
At the moment of my first cry, Ariel’s beloved – the Guardian Nupraptor – finds her corpse.
Wracked with grief and tormented by suspicions of treachery, Nupraptor plunges into a madness which overflows and infects all of the Guardians, who are symbiotically bound.
The repercussions of Ariel’s assassination were expertly calculated…
The entire Circle descends into madness, and I am tainted at the moment of my birth – instantly rendered incapable of fulfilling the role destiny has prepared for me.
Shall I show you the same mercy you showed the rest of the Circle, then?
You blithely murdered them to restore their Pillars, yet your hand faltered when it came to the final sacrifice.
What makes you exempt, Kain? You’re merely the last man standing.
Why condemn me for simply carrying out what you hadn’t the courage to do yourself?
Let’s drop the moral posturing, shall we? We both know there’s no altruism in this pursuit.
Your reckless indignation led you here – I counted on it.
Kain sees that Raziel is bristling at this insult.
(Quote from Soul Reaver 2)
The above quoted piece of dialogue comes from a fondly remembered, yet mostly overlooked, series called The Legacy of Kain. The story starts on the PlayStation with Blood Omen, and culminates in the PlayStation 2’s Legacy of Kain: Defiance.
The story follows the Vampire king/messiah/destroyer of worlds, Kain. What starts out as a story of vengeance quickly spirals out into an elaborate game of chess in which Gods, Kings, Empires, Wraiths, and Vampires, all have a part to play in its unbelievable complicated run around of conspiracies, betrayals, and murder plots galore.
Throw in your fanatical groups-turned undead, and your chess playing Elder God turning the “Wheel of Destiny” round and around, and you have the recipe of one of the most melodramatic/well thought out pieces of gaming history.
I cannot get into all of the history of the land of Nosgoth, but, thanks to Wikipedia I can at least give you the general run down of Blood Omen, from there please do your own research (i.e. Go on YouTube and watch the cut scenes).
According to Wikipedia:
“Blood Omen introduces the land of Nosgoth, a fantasy setting dominated by humans and vampires. The health of the world is inextricably connected to the Pillars of Nosgoth—nine supernatural edifices, each one protected and represented by a human guardian. These sorcerers collectively comprise the Circle of Nine, and if a member dies, a new guardian is culled to take their place by the Pillars. Hundreds of years prior to the events of the story, the Circle formed and sponsored the Sarafan, an order of monastic warriors devoted to eradicating the vampire race, and in the game’s prologue, the vampire, Vorador reacts vengefully by killing six of the guardians and defeating Malek, the Sarafan leader. Though the Sarafan disband, vampires continue to be persecuted.
In the intervening years, new guardians have been summoned, Nosgoth’s surviving vampires have retreated into hiding, and humanity has separated into two opposing factions: the kingdom of Willendorf, inspired by Arthurian legend, and the Legions of the Nemesis, an all-conquering army determined to bring an end to civilization. When the guardian of balance, Ariel, dies at the hands of a mysterious, malevolent entity, her lover Nupraptor the Mentalist turns his powers against his fellow Circle members, tainting the incumbent guardians with irrevocable madness and leaving the Pillars corrupt. To restore balance to Nosgoth, Kain must overcome the Legions and kill the insane sorcerers; as each Circle member is purged and their token returned, their respective Pillar is cleansed, and when he heals all nine Pillars, replacement guardians can be born.”
This game continues on to see Kain’s refusal to sacrifice him, to restore balance to the pillars and the eventual decay and ruination of the land of Nosgoth.
This ushers in the vampiric empire of Kain, and eventually the creation of Raziel as vampire, and later on, a wraith. As a wraith, Raziel would later come to unravel the mysteries of his vampiric rebirth and Kain’s raise to power, culminating in the shockingly horrific knowledge that this whole time the vampires, humans, and their sworn enemies were all being played by the Elder God. The Elder God, voiced by the late Tony Jay, is a Lovecraftian creature of immense power and influence. He describes himself as the “Hub of the world”.
The whole story culminates with the second “Death” of Raziel and the “rebirth” of Kain, armed with the whole knowledge of why he was who he was, Kain remarks:
“Now, at last, the masks had fallen away. The strings of the puppets had become visible, and the hands of the prime mover exposed. Most ironic of all was the last gift that Raziel had given me, more powerful than the sword that now held his soul, more acute even than the vision his sacrifice had accorded me – the first bitter taste of that terrible illusion: Hope.” (Legacy of Kain: Defiance)
I would make an appeal, based solely on its lore/story, that this game be given a proper reboot. What I mean by proper is this:
- No HD remake
- New Gameplay (The gameplay of the original games sucked)
- True conclusion to the matter
The only problem I had with the ending of game was that Kain was left with Hope, yet not much else. There was open war between him and his Hylden enemies, Nosgoth has become utterly ruined. Yet there is hope, Hope for what? The redemption of Nosgoth, the full destruction of the Hylden, what? I NEED TO KNOW!!
Like the epilogue of Harry Potter left many feeling cheated, I feel as if the ending of the Legacy of Kain was dropped in a very tidy mess, that, to this day, I still become enraged at the lack of closure.
In this time where so many games are coming out in which the stories involved are looked at just as, if not more, intensely as the gameplay. It is time to look back in the annals of time and think about whether or not some games deserve a true and proper reboot.
Thank you for sticking through with me to the end…. Till next time!
CCU wants to hear from you.