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 and his scythe 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 Rhaast 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.
|Concept:||Kayn as an ambitious, elite soldier.|
|Model:||New model for Kayn and his scythe plus moderate model changes for his Shadow Assassin and Darkin forms. Translucent blade for Kayn’ scythe, new glow for Shadow Assassin’s body, translucent hair and scythe as well as new animated glow for Rhaast’s torso and scythe.|
|Particles:||New particles for his abilities, auto-attack, emotes, high-speed run, death, respawn and recall for each form.|
|Animations:||Adapted animations for his abilities, auto-attack, critical hits, standing idle, walk, high-speed run, plus new animations for his tranformations, emotes, death, respawn and recall for each form.|
|Sounds:||New sounds for his abilities and auto-attack for each form. New sounds for his emotes, high-speed run, death, respawn and recall. New voice-over with new quotes when buying items, specific interactions with certain champions, starting the game and killing enemies.|
|Splash Art:||The setting isn’t clear, perhaps a spaceship or advanced facility. Given how diffuse everything is it seems that’s not important. What matters are the victims of Kayn’s power: one losing his life essence or energy breaking his body, it’s ambiguous, and the other being slashed or kicked or thrown away.
Kayn stands in the middle with holograms of his Shadow Assassin and Darkin forms. They are rather blurry but the former seems to be more neglected while Rhaast’s head and torso are clear enough. Kayn is depicted with precise lines but colours lack vibrancy and his lower body is quite diffuse. The upper body is clear in details but not even metal appears bright in presence of so much light. The scythe is clearly seen but appears sketchy and the perspective makes it look small; much more than in-game.
In general, the splash art delivers the essentials with a bit of context but nothing concrete about what is going on. The portrayal is serviceable without letting Kayn impress and the hints at his transformations are small, welcome additions. This results in a good splash art that has evident room for improvement; which should’ve been a priority for a legendary skin.
|Conclusion:||Odyssey Kayn presents him as a deadly warrior bent on improving himself to become invincible but he does look like a rather extravagant aristocrat with little care for practicalities and more than a passing resemblance to Zorg, from the Fifth Element. Colourful and eye-catching armour as well as scythe are more concerned with looking good than being effective; let’s say nothing of the hairstyle. His other forms are much tamer in comparison. Shadow Assassin looks like the spectre of a prince; which is apt given his imperial ambition. The Darkin form looks like a demon with expected fire-based influences. Neither, then, diverges much from the classic forms but instead add a different approach to the same concept.
Particles tend to be re-colours for the various slashes that the scythe is bound to do. Each form has particles which match the respective model’s colour scheme but there’s no new design for them. Shadow Step is a highlight with the holographic distortions used. The effect is very attractive but also seems detached in a skin that has barely any technological elements. Umbral Trespass stands out with the portrait of each form on top of the axe. The rest of the particles are nice but the classic design remains, which is a letdown.
Sounds seem to keep the classic design but adapted to the visuals. Kayn’s sounds have more metal, Shadow Assassin a more digital feel and Rhaast are more flame-like so that each form has a style but it’s a change on the surface. The overall design of the sounds isn’t distinct enough to represent the skin’s theme. The voice-over is adequate with quotes that support the theme but too many which don’t contribute.
Animations seem mostly adapted to the new bodies rather than different. There’re the expected new additions like emotes and recalls but in terms of abilities and auto-attacks everything is quite similar to Classic. A couple of changes that stand out are the scythe spinning on its own when Shadow Assassin employs Reaping Slash and Blade’s Reach; simply a more pronounced effect than in classic. Emotes are charming yet remarkably disconnected to the skin’s concept; mostly jokes based on its design. The transformations, despite their similarity to classic, and especially the recalls are better at representing the theme and each form’s relationship to ora; Shadow Assassin’s recall in particular.
On the whole, Odyssey Kayn is a skin that reuses too much from the classic base. It gives the impression that the skin is legendary because of the complexity of adapting three forms instead of the depth of the adaptation. This is particularly notable as many areas feel shallow but where the skin dares to put the concept forward, like the recalls, it shows that there’s ample potential which goes untapped. What we are left with is an uneven skin with some nice features, like the animated glows and ultimate portraits, which end up being little touches that stand out.
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.
Odyssey Kayn is the first alternative and also legendary, even though it doesn’t really show it. The concept may be interesting but the execution can very well be superficial. Thus, we have a skin which is rather uneven with some nice features and many shallow areas. The result has appeal but with the caveat that the breadth of three forms seems to take up all the legendary resources instead of the depth of the implementation.