Sunday, December 28th, 2008 at 5:34pm by Andrew, BZPower News Manager
[Source: Darth Vader]
Not only is today the second review in two days, it's also the second review of a 2009 set by Darth Vader. Today our Blog Assistant checks out the Agori Atakus. Is this villager worth the cost of admission? Read on to find out!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
Just like last year, the new small-price sets come in odd cardboard tubes capped, both on top and bottom, by large pieces of plastic, molded to look like stalagmites/tites. Where these molds made sense for the Matoran of Light Bionicle fans purchased last year, they seem out of place when it comes to this year's Agori. Last year's story took place in a cave, this year's takes place on a giant desert planet.
Though, if there were a set the stalag-formations do make sense with, it's Atakus here. A member of the rock tribe (Right? They flipped black and brown for this year? Right?), Atakus is shown on the box inside what appears to be a cavern (or a valley, I suppose), with some sort of blue glow (light?) coming from both behind and underneath him. This is the CGI image we've been able to see for the last few months or so, since official images were released, so there's nothing too new here. The top says "BIONICLE" in that big font we've become accustomed to, and the bottom left corner has the age guidelines that I like to ignore. In the bottom right is a circle letting you know that, yes, Atakus's weapons glow in the dark.
The container (I hesitate to call it a box) is, unfortunately, very bland. The earthy tones contrasted by naught but the blue glow is boring, and unappealing. I fear parents and other casual observers and LEGO set purchasers might just gloss over this very unassuming container.
The back of the container has the same image found on the back of Skrall's canister, with Atakus' bio code (leet is not allowed on the BZP forums, kids!) in the top right corner. The bottom is filled with those lovely warnings, that you just don't read.
(One of these days TLG is going to put something like "This set is free if you read this" in those warnings, and then who'll be laughing? TLG, that's who!)
Overall, Atakus' container just doesn't do much for me. And again, with those big chunks of plastic, how much money could we have saved if TLG had used traditional boxes instead?
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
Once you remove the cavern ceiling (or floor, take your pick), the fun begins.
The instructions for Atakus are similar to the instructions from last years Av-Matoran sets. On side A, one will find the excruciatingly detailed set of instructions for Atakus, and when you flip the record over to play side B, you'll find a full-page advertisement for the six Glatorian and their respective Agori tribesmen.
Once again, building is exceedingly easy. In four quick steps, you too can have your own Atakus!
Once more bringing back memories of last year's Av-Matoran, you'll find that you basically just built last year's Matoran, with a new head. The building process takes less than a minute, and the instructions are simply overkill.
What a drag.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Of the thirteen pieces, new pieces include the head, the hands, the mask, and the weapons. The new head looks like some weird Iron Man/ape cross, and I blame the nostrils. They really add this sort of odd feeling to the head. They are huge.
Unlike the Av-Matoran heads, the socket for these is built in the same plane as the head, and faces down, instead of back. This means we are free of the awkwardly forward-thrusting necks of last year, and that, at least is a step up in design.
The hands, which look goofy on the Glatorian look simply absurd on Atakus, being half the height of a Glatorian. His hands are as big as his head! Talk about goofy proportions. Seriously.
The weapons are probably my least favorite new mold of the year, and it's a shame they will be appearing in so many sets this year. The weapon (I don't know if I should call it a sword??) has a rod that sticks out in a way that the center of balance for these suckers has to make weilding them effectively extremely difficult. This results in a really frustratingly odd weapon appearance. On the very minor plus side, the glow-in-the-dark inner circuitry-like section is cool.
The helmet/mask/whatever is long. Not quite Krika long, but definitely long. Along the top a pretty neat design has been cut out, allowing the new Glatorian-era heads to act as light-piping on these symbols, as well as the eyes. The resulting effect is very cool. The molded mouth-like section looks pretty vicious, though there's a big part of me that also thinks it looks viciously goofy. But that's a toss-up. The back section of the helmet/mask/whatever is serated sort of like a key, and it doesn't look too bad. Though the length is, again, sort of goofy.
The set can pose decently, though with the limbs all stuck in that wretched ninety-ish degree angle, you'll be hard-pressed to find one that looks particularly cool.
But anyone who has an Av-Matoran would have known that.
Which brings me to this.
These are last year's sets. Sure, they have hands and new heads. Whatever. These are straight-up last year's sets. Everything about them is just boring. Plus, Atakus has the high-shouldered torso, and this is just not a flattering piece. Atakus could easily have been included in Karda-Nui, and we would have been almost none-the-wiser.
And that's a shame. We've had interesting and diverse 'Villager' sets for the past eight years, and while I felt let down last year, with the underwhelming style and build of the Av-Matoran, this is just disappointingly depressing. If some of the other Agori didn't have such neat pieces (Metus' snowflake shield, Berix' light-blue flamesword, etc) these would most assuredly not merit a purchase.
Atakus ends up being about half the height of the average canister set (shown here as Gresh).
The other half of the fun is in playing with the set. How well does the set function and is it enjoyable to play with?
Atakus can pose using points of movement located in his neck, his shoulders, his wrists, his hips, and his ankles. This does allow for a variety of poses, but again, the pre-bent limbs will be fighting against you. His long helmet/mask/whatever also makes head-posing difficult, as the high shoulders this torso mold features will attempt to block the head from moving certain directions.
Other than that, his swords glow in the dark.
That's about it, folks.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- New head mold
- Decent mask/helmet/whatever mold
- It tries
What's not to like?
- Hands look too big and silly
- Same design as last year
- Also same pieces as last year
- Boring design is not helped by a set-connection feature like 2008's was
- Poor torso mold
- Weapons are ineffective looking
- More pre-bent limbs
- Exceedingly high price to part ratio
Overall, I cannot, in good spirits or conscience recommend this set. Skip it, you'll be better off without him. If you absolutely must have an Agori villager, pick Metus. At least he looks sort of neat. But for six dollars, and thirteen pieces? Your money is best spent elsewhere.
So it looks like Atakus is not quite up to the same level as the Glatorian Gresh. Be sure to thank Darth Vader for yet another in-depth set review or face the wrath of the Dark Lord of the Sith. Keep checking back for more set reviews and the latest Bionicle news!
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