Soul Reaver 2 completely leaves out any adventuring elements, favoring mostly combat and some puzzle sequences. And it's kinda short (and buggy, if you happen to go to the wrong places first). It's alright as far as story is concerned, but without the exploration and ability improvements, it's basically a hack n slash game.
I don't see where you get that at all since you could explore a decent amount in SR2, the only real difference is that it was more limited. This is like that ridiculous argument that Metroid Fusion has zero exploration and is just a straight shoot from boss to boss. If you don't take the time out to actually look around instead of running along the straight line, you'll find there's plenty of places to stop and look at or explore. I had a hell of a time seeing where I could get to in environments for the sole purpose of exploration. It doesn't matter if there isn't a lot to "find" in regards to that, it's still adventuring. Not everyone sees it in the same light.
Actually, aside from some weird alien crap I thought it made a decent game. It has ability development and some interesting boss fights.
The thing that bothers me about Blood Omen 2 is the fact that it felt like a gapping plothole and really had nothing to do with what had been going on in the series up to that point. We go from intensely following the story of Raziel & Kain, and suddenly we're Kain in some alternate dimension with some stealth missions, aliens, and a love interest. It was like "yes, let's introduce a whole bunch of stuff that will.. have absolutely no impact on the overall storyline we've been fleshing out for the past 7 years and everyone introduced will either die or become obsolete by the end of the game."
I don't dislike it cause it was a bad game - I also thought it was pretty fun - I just think they could've handle the storyline and the characters a lot better. When Soul Reaver first came out, I was actually against it because I had enjoyed the original type of gameplay in the first game only to learn they kind of hated it and were never going back. Suddenly we get Blood Omen 2 and it's kinda like a mix of Soul Reaver and Blood Omen - Kain gets outfits, new weapons, and so on. But the people who were largely responsible for making Legacy of Kain games what they were weren't really involved beyond the voice actors. I dunno, it just feels like the odd man out, if that makes any sense. Perhaps it was because it came between Soul Reaver 2 and Defiance and I wasn't interested in something that was wedged between. *shrug*
They did what a lot of seasonal shows on TV do when they want to draw in people for another season, which was that they simply didn't give any sort of acceptable conclusion so they could force players to buy whatever the next game is. It's not really a good move, regardless of the circumstances. Why is it bad? Well look at XIII. No conclusion, no sequel. I'm sure there's other game series that ended up with no conclusion and no sequels, but I can't think of them right now. I'm sure Soul Reaver come close to being one of them. It's a selfish move on the developer's part.
Did you totally ignore all the information stating what kind of trouble they had with the game? How it nearly didn't get made at all? Yeah, the game was gonna end on a cliffhanger for an actual reason aside from cash-in. They'd already vested so much into what they had, if they tried to write up a hack ending the fans would've been outraged even more than if they'd done what they did. Or worse, it would've entailed having to redo the whole game which would've pretty much killed it before it even got out the door. The game has some issues with collision detection (such as landing on the edge of a platform and falling off), the one brother who is missing makes a rather noticable gap (he's not even EXPLAINED until Defiance, if I recall, he's just suddenly gone), and you can see in the .. crap can't recall the name, that building where you go to fight Kain in. It's full of material they had to scrap JUST to get the game to where it was and ended up being used in Soul Reaver 2 and Defiance. Honestly, I don't really think the TV show analogy works at all.
As for Soul Reaver 2 being just hack 'n slash, well I think there's a lot of people who'd agree Soul Reaver 1 had a fair amount of that, too. I personally did not find Soul Reaver 2 to be that short, although I occasionally enjoy playing them back to back. I'm a lot more likely to pop in Soul Reaver 2 than I am 1, simply because it's got less handling issues and felt more polished. Hell, all the Kain games end up being hack 'n slash to a degree, but they also have various ways of handling the combat. Heh, I'm sure I'm not the only one who enjoyed simply blasting/tossing enemies onto spikes or over cliffs or into the water - although in Defiance it cost you experience points.
I'm not sitting here saying that Soul Reaver 1 is a crap game, though it feels that is how you see SR 2. Soul Reaver 1 is a great game, but it's far from flawless