Player Select: Soul Reaver Raziel (Reissue) by NECA

I don’t usually plug online stores or other Interweb sites here, but I do like to give credit where credit is due. I’ve wanted this Raziel figure FOREVER (which in quantitative terms is at least around 10 years or so) and I owe the fact that I finally have him in my collection to the folks over at Infinite Hollywood.  I try to hit Infinite Hollywood at least once a week and it’s almost always worth the visit, but a week or so back they featured this figure and mentioned that NECA had re-released it. I immediately went fleeing to a few online toy retailers until I was able to find one and order it. So, what’s the big deal? Well, on a personal level, I’m a huge fan of the Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver games and I’ve wanted a Raziel figure for the better part of a decade. On the more practical level, if you didn’t snap him up when he was first released, Raziel become a pretty expensive figure to get on the second hand market. I’ve literally hovered over a Buy It Now on this guy for $100 before backing down. So thanks to this great tip I was able to pick him up for a laughable ten bucks. Ten bucks! TEN BUCKS! Had I known he was this good, I probably would have paid a premium for him years ago. Let’s check him out…

I try to always talk about the packaging first, and a good thing too since I can get the only bad thing about this figure out of the way first. Ok, so the packaging isn’t really bad, but kind of blah. Raziel comes in a huge bubble on a fairly utilitarian cardback. It’s got the Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver title on the top and some serviceable backdrop artwork to frame the figure. If you’re a MOC collector, the packaging may not serve you all that well. There’s a pretty big and unnecessary illustrated insert inside the bubble that blocks the lower half of the figure from view. The insert does list Raziel’s accessories and that the figure has 24 points of articulation, but NECA could have easily put that on a side insert to better preserve the in-package presentation. To make matters worse, Raziel is a really heavy figure and the card doesn’t seem to hold up all that well under the weight of the bubble. Getting a card that isn’t bent to hell may be difficult. Of course, none of this matters to me, as I shredded the package like a rabid cat to get to my new figure.
Keep in mind, while I’ve drooled over tons of pictures of this figure online over the years, I’ve never actually seen it in person. So three thoughts came to mind as I first removed this figure from the shipping box. One, it’s huge. Much bigger than I expected. Two, the sculpt is amazing. And I mean… daaaayyym amazing. Three, the paintwork and colors used for the plastic are incredibly vibrant. This figure immediately impresses and delivered a wow factor that I seldom experience even among some of my favorite figures. The quality of the plastic is excellent and I’m thrilled with the texturework on his claws and muscles. His torn and attrophied wings are very well done, as is the cowl that covers his missing jaw. Not to forget the head sculpt, which is absolutely spot on, and of course his cowl is removable so you can check out poor Raziel’s horribly mutilated head in its entirety. Aesthetically, this figure really is perfect to me.
NECA usually impresses with their sculpts, but not so often with their articulation. While I think they’ve been generally better than McFarlane in this department, the truth is NECA turns out their fair share of statue figures. Apparently Raziel here is the exception, because like the package states he sports 24 points of articulation, making him a bona fide action figure rather than just a display piece. Some of his ball joints are a little funky and take a bit of coaxing to get into the right position, but in the end Raziel is more poseable than I could have possibly hoped for.
Raziel comes with all the necessary accessories, and a few unnecessary ones. You get his Soul Reaver sword, which fits snugly onto his hand and includes a second spiraled piece of plastic that wraps around his arm to simulate the spectral tendrils of the Reaver that bind the sword to his essence. The blade is cast in a semi translucent blue plastic which nicely simulates the blade’s otherworldly nature in the game. You also get a torch, which was a pretty commonly used accessory in the game. Those unnecessary accessories I mentioned are the extra set of non-articulated claws. I’m not complaining, but I really don’t see the benefit. The articulated claws that come on the figure are just fine.
If you’re even half as fanatical over the Soul Reaver games as I am, you really need to get yourself this figure. I think it’s damn near perfect and that’s coming from someone with a lot of high and long held expectations. NECA delivered with an amazing sculpt, excellent articulation, and really superb coloring and quality. And the price tag is just as amazing. Raziel here can hang with just about any $20-25 figure on the shelf and come out on top. I’ve given him a place of honor standing beside my computer. It’s a spot reserved for newly acquired figures that I just can’t stop staring at or playing around with, and I think he’ll probably stay there for a while now. So, hey NECA, how about Kain?