For Kayn, The Shadow Reaper the conflict is internal but the consequences will reach far beyond the individual. The struggle between man and weapon is still about integration but also about domination. Will the odds of the battle decide who triumphs or can the will of one surpass the other? There is no definite answer. Whether Shieda or Rhaast take over shadows will extend wherever either of them go. The question is: what will you see when they reach you?
|Concept:||Kayn as a spectral reaper.|
|Model:||Major model changes for Kayn as well as his Shadow Assassin and Darkin forms. New glow for his left arm in his base form and animated glow for the Darkin’s horns.|
|Particles:||New particles for his abilities, auto-attack and recall.|
|Animations:||New recall animation with halfway modifications for each form.|
|Sounds:||New sounds for his abilities, auto-attack and recall.|
|Splash Art:||At a glance, there’s much to appreciate in the background. A mysterious cathedral under the moonlight shows its gothic architecture; that last part is a guess but probably true. The dim light ensures that details are suggested but never clear so that few concrete elements can be seen. Near the roof and on the floor to the left there are some rags of elusive meaning. Those on the floor could look like monsters or something, well, anything else as nothing is clear. There’s decoration all over that is difficult to see and also the statues on the sides. On the left would be the Shadow Assassin form and on the right the Darkin; in theory, as the right one looks armoured. As a reference to Kayn’s potential paths it’s a great touch. It’s also a decidedly weak reference due to the vague depictions and especially given the importance of both.
Kayn stands in the middle, back to the viewer with an attitude of youthful arrogance; which is suitable. Just like the background he looks monochromatic. The lines are sharp and well delineated at the top and lose clarity as we move down until we find fuzzy boots. The colours can look sharp with good use of lighting but, like the lines, they become blurred and messy as we move down. The scythe’s handle, his hair and left arm can look sketchy but the blade is, mostly, well depicted with a great display of mystery in the gem: does it contain or show water? Is it something else? A soul perhaps? Good questions for the theme at hand. The setting should raise some like those.
All things considered, this is a splash art that has a good conception but the final result needs an extra layer of depth and polish. There’s much to be seen but it isn’t clearly shown. Could the temple be a monument to other people that have wielded the scythe as well? There’s too little to start making guesses. Kayn’s portrayal is effective but straightforward and unimpressive. It isn’t bad but there’s nothing really evocative except for the scythe’s gem. This makes it a passable presentation card which oozes potential.
|Conclusion:||Conceptually, Soulhunter Kayn is a great skin. The idea of having the Shadow Reaper as demon hunter suits him perfectly. In his base, he’s a green hunter learning the trade and not fully aware of the great danger that the dark tool at his disposal entails. A youthful style with a casual feel joins a scythe that appears rustic yet with hidden potential; seeing from the blade and gem. As a Shadow Assassin he becomes the archetypical flashy demon hunter. With pointy hat, waving, long hair, colourful armour and matching scythe he’s certainly got the looks. When the Darkin takes over things take a grimmer look. Colours are subdued with shades of grey comprising most of the palette; though with enough variety not to feel monochromatic. The demonic armour not only matches the Darkin but also the scythe with its ornamentation and uneven blade. Unfortunately, while spectral the Darkin still seems rather similar to the classic form’s counterpart.
Particles take different colours for the brushstrokes that make the different abilities and auto-attacks but the general design is not only similar between them but also to Classic. For base Kayn a mix of white and black, with a slight emphasis on the white, is employed for auto-attacks, Reaping Slash and Blade’s Reach, similar to the Darkin form, while Shadow Step and Umbral Trespass use gold; as a fitting link to the Shadow Assassin form. The similarities to Classic Kayn are particularly noticeable for Reaping Slash. As a Shadow Assassin abilities embrace a more distinct golden tone that still feels to overlap with the base Soulhunter form. In the case of Shadow Step and Umbral Pass the tone is a bit more saturated. The Darkin form retains its white and black for all abilities and auto-attacks which makes it quite visually consistent albeit a bit too homogeneous. It does feel the more spectral of the forms while Shadow Assassin seems flashier and the base torn between the two; which makes sense. In all cases, Reaping Slash has some different designs but the irregular lines don’t have any defined style. Only the central line in the Darkin form stands out from the rigid template because the rest of the style is mostly owed to the different colours; as in the other abilities.
Ability sounds aren’t particularly notable. In fact, the base sounds seem to have been kept while a sepulchral twang is added afterwards; a howl may be a more accurate and less cynical word to describe it. While Shadow Assassin reinforces such addition with a higher pitch the Darkin form lowers the pitch and makes it more ominous; but only slightly in either case. Truth be told, the differences can feel subtle and will be difficult to notice in the heat of battle. The auto-attacks seem to be duller, less liquid and more viscous with more metal in the sound or perhaps the mind plays tricks as the difference seems quite slim.
The sole new animation is the recall. Just like in Classic, the three forms share the initial part where the scythe is left spinning. Then each form plays with the weapon in a different way that is, expectedly, not very different from Classic. While the identity of each form is kept, each form being inexperienced, flashy and supernatural respectively, they still feel quite familiar and similar to the Classic style.
All added together, the concept of Soulhunter Kayn seems tailor made for the Shadow Reaper. It may even be not far from his classic persona but, at any rate, it’s a great choice. The execution doesn’t make the most of the great potential. Instead it seems to go through the motions, adapting everything to the new models. The models have personality, especially base Kayn and the Shadow Assassin; though the Darkin form is ghostly enough. Particles are mostly re-coloured. There are some new designs but different for the sake of being so without a defined identity to support that of each form and the skin’s theme. The only new sound is an ominous howl that suits the abilities and theme but that feels like too little support for the fitting concept. The recall keeps the classic personality which suits the skin but something more specific and adequate would’ve better defined the concept.
With that in mind, Soulhunter Kayn is a skin with great potential that the by the numbers implementation doesn’t exploit. Instead of taking advantage of the similarities to work in defining differences much is shared between Classic and Soulhunter so that, at worse, they can feel like complementary yet similar takes on the same character.
Although release skins could take advantage of the readily available assets to give shape to whole new concepts Soulhunter Kayn is proof that is still not the case. The concept suits the Shadow Reaper very well to the point that certain aspects can, but don’t have to, be shared. The implementation does a good job with the models but when it comes the time for the rest of the features it simply adapts without giving the identity a distinct feel. This leaves the skin feeling attractive enough but not because of the effort put into its development only due to the potential it has.