STAFF REVIEW of Eventide 3: Legacy of Legends (Xbox One)

Tuesday, July 24, 2018.
by Adam Dileva

Eventide 3: Legacy of Legends Box art I can’t even count the number of Artifex Mundi titles I’ve played and reviewed on the Xbox One so far, nearly every title I believe. Even after a handful of games that differ slightly from one another, I still find myself enjoying my time with them, as it’s a calming getaway from the regular shooters, RPG’s and racers that I normally indulge in. The standard formula hasn’t changed much in nearly all of their titles, except for the previous release of Grim Legends 3, which was a big step up in production value, so I was hoping that would be the norm going forward with their newest releases.

It seems that’s not the case though, as Eventide 3: Legacy of Legends feels much like the standard type of Artifex Mundi HOG (hidden object game) rather than a step forward. Not that that’s a bad thing, I just had some high hopes for something new and impressive, as it all feels very predictable when you’ve played nearly a dozen of the same type of game, especially from a single developer.

I believe it was last year Eventide 2 was released, and the original, Eventide: Slavic Fable, the year before it, so it’s been a yearly endeavor for me within this beautiful and colorful world. The Eventide series resolves around a celebrated botanist named Mary. Following the events of Eventide 2, you’ll finally have a conclusion to the overall narrative. Mary’s brother, John, is kidnapped by a mysterious creature, so she sets off with her sharp mind, and potion concocting abilities to save him and stop a sinister plot.

Yes, it’s another ‘someone is kidnapped’ tale, but the story themselves have never been its strong suit, as it’s all about the puzzle gameplay in a genre like this. Mary isn’t alone though, as she’ll befriend a magical creature, known as Aitvar, which I would best describe as a huge owl-like creature. It’s a good thing too, as you’ll need to periodically call upon him to ride his back to fly to the floating isles where you need to be. It’s a fantasy setting and that plays into its surroundings, beautifully hand drawn and full of color.

If you’re not like me and haven’t played every single Artifex Mundi game to date, their HOG games essentially have you exploring scenes for items and objects which can then be used to uncover other items, which in turn allows you to solve a puzzle and progress. Sure, that’s a horrible simplification, but that is its' core gameplay cycle for the most part. There’s plenty of scenes to explore, dozens of puzzles to solve, and tons of great artwork to soak in. So if you’ve played any of their titles before, you’ll know exactly what to expect, almost to a fault.

For those new to the genre, or a casual fan, you’re able to choose Normal difficulty. Here you’ll have access to a hint system, giving you clues of where to go next, or you can even completely bypass a puzzle if you’re absolutely stuck and need to rely on it. Expert mode is also available for the more tenured puzzle solvers that don’t require any hints (and want every achievement). Sadly though, there’s no epilogue like in some of their titles, so once you hit the credits after a couple hours, your journey simply ends, as there’s not much replay value aside from lingering achievements. Also not included this time, like in previous titles of theirs, there are no alternative games to play instead of the HOG puzzles, something I quite enjoyed in the past.

Returning from Grim Legends 3 is the Rune Battle minigame. Here you’re tasked with winning three rune battles against your enemy. They will be a number of runes on the AI's attack, and you must choose the runes on your side that don’t match any of theirs. Choose correctly and you’ll win the round, and you need to win three rounds to defeat them. It’s not as in depth or as challenging as it was in their other title, so it does feel a little tacked on, but it was one of my favorite new features in their games, so I’m also glad to see it return, even if it’s not quite the same.

The difficulty curve of the puzzles themselves is fairly decent, though there were a few more challenging puzzles, like color matching, rotating puzzles and more. The HOG games themselves obviously return, where you have a shopping list of items, and you need to find them hidden within the scene. Some are quite obvious and stand out, whereas others will have you spamming the ‘A’ button as you move the cursor around, swearing it doesn’t exist until you happen upon it accidentally. The puzzles themselves are more catered to novices of the genre, which is fine, but there’s enough different types of puzzles to keep you interested, regardless of skill.

A staple in the series, and all of their titles really, is the beautiful hand drawn artwork. While the animations are quite rough and basic, the backgrounds are incredibly gorgeous and always a pleasure to take in while you’re searching for your next item or puzzle. I was hoping that the bump in art and production would return from the last Grim Legends 3, but it seems Eventide 3 follows the older traditional template of design instead.

Sadly, the cringe-worthy voice acting returns once again, Artifex Mundi’s achilles heel. Almost all of the voiced lines aren’t acted very well, nor are believable at all. Luckily, the gameplay is what you come for, not the story or voice acting. You don’t need to have played the previous two Eventide’s to know what’s going on, as it’s a completely self-contained story within itself, though obviously you’ll get a little more out of it if you’ve played the previous two.

Artifex Mundi are the leaders in this specific niche genre, and while this latest game is not their best offering, it’s still worth a recommendation, as the formula is simple and a great escape for a few hours. The fact that I’ve not grown tired of their games after about a dozen or so speaks volumes for their gameplay, as there’s no better offerings on the console within the genre.

Overall: 7.0 / 10
Gameplay: 7.0 / 10
Visuals: 7.5 / 10
Sound: 5.0 / 10


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