Monday, January 26th, 2009 at 11:48pm by Yannick, BZPower Reporter
So, Berix. Having read and agreed with DV’s assessment of this winter’s other blue set, I think that Berix fares a lot better in most fields than
her his Glatorian companion. Even if he is prone to gender-confusion. Please excuse me if I call him “her” at some points by accident.
Speaking of which, let’s just address this now and get it out of the way.
Lego, what is going on here? Finally, finally, we have a year where all six tribethings canonically have both genders in them, and NONE of the winter sets are female? Not even one or two? Not even the blue ones? This is not an impression you want to create, as if you made all the tribes both genders just so you could stop making females entirely.
Yes, I know there’s going to be a female set in the summer. One. One. One female set with … let’s see here … if we add all the canisters and throw in at least four boxed summer sets, and take away one for the female one … at least twenty-three male sets does not seem to be a good representation of anything. Least of all how things actually are. It makes the four-to-seventeen ratio we had in 2005 seem fantastic.
Which it wasn’t.
So you’ll forgive me if I’m not quite used to this unusual disparity of representation and accidentally act as though it were not quite so severe.
However, this is not Berix’s fault, and nor is it a problem with his set. But we had to talk about this somewhere. Moving along now!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
Berix has a pretty spiffy little canisterboxthing. Unlike roughly half of the boxes we had last year, this time it actually is the color of his set, which is wonderful. (now, let’s work on making the red sets actually bright red again, and then all will be swell.)
But, it’s the same thing we had last year, and I’m not entirely sure that’s a good thing. Yes, the Avotoran packaging is much more attention-grabbing than a cardboard box, but it seems like a pretty wasteful use of plastic to me, and I can’t help but think the Agori might cost a dollar or so less with more traditional packaging. I’m sure you could achieve something just as eyecatching with the right use of flamboyant colors printed on a cardboard box.
And again, there is that whole thing with the Agori and Glatoriana actually (finally) having elemental-colored backgrounds again. Those are pretty snazzy in and of themselves. They have to count for something as far as eyecatching-ness goes.
The back is boring and the poses on it are terrible and they do not deserve to be discussed further.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
There is, literally, nothing to talk about in this section.
Except, perhaps, that if I’m going to pay $7, I would really like something a little more complicated than this and that includes a few more pieces than 15. What happened to the lovely innovation in the Voyatoran and Mahritoran? The Glatorian have some (emphasis on “some”) innovative ideas to them; why can’t the small sets?
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
Actually, if we’re going to talk about innovation and the Agori, Zesk has some nifty stuff going on. But Berix isn’t Zesk, and the closest thing he has to innovation is an actual elemental color scheme, and that’s only dramatic by contrast to the grey/black-and-another-color of the Avotoran.
But oh, those colors are fabulous. Berix brings back both medium and light blue at once, two colors that have been missing for a very long time from the Water element. One really has to wonder why Gali Mistika didn’t have at least her original blue.
But at least they’re finally back. Aren’t they lovely?
I will try to contain my excitement this time, I swear
Two of the most popular pieces in Berix: dark blue Toa feet and a light blue flamesword. Eeee! The dark blue feet are wonderful, and MOCists seemed quite delighted over the existence of Tahu’s sword in light blue. It’s both as unexpected and as lovely as Vorox’s tan.
But I think these are also the only two recolors that are really interesting. All the rest are large, bulky Avotoran pieces whose practical uses are much more limited. It’s quite lovely to have them in such colors, and I’m sure uses will be found for all of them, but most of them did not generate in me quite the excitement that Vorox’s tan did…
Berix’s new molds are few, and I’m perfectly fine with this. After the splurge of new pieces in the Avotoran, I don’t really mind having a more normal amount per set…
We must mention the hands, of course. I think that their size seems to fit here by being larger than normal in the same proportion that Berix’s feet are larger than human proportions.
But! The rest of Berix does have nearly perfect proportions, and this is delightful on so many levels.
“You’ve been called the Da Vinci of our time. What do you say to that?”
“Absolutely ridiculous. I don’t paint.”
Berix does have something of a flame motif going on. His helmet is very intricately detailed, and the texturing on the front looks a lot like fire and thus goes quite well with his sword. More like fire than water, I’d say. But the back is molded like a splash of water and looks rather cool, and this seems to throw the piece more into the water more than the fire camp.
Now, Berix as a whole is … well … an Avotoran. At least in terms of construction. His entire body is colored differently and he has a whole new head and different tools, but there’s no escaping the fact that his build is just about the same as last year’s small sets.
The question here becomes, does all this new stuff override the old design? I’d say that in Berix’s case, it does. It also does on Tarduk and Metus, who have a similar plethora of recolored parts. (By comparison, Raanu and Zesk and Atakus’s many fewer new parts make them seem much more like Avotoran with a few pieces swapped out than any of the other three do.)
It’s the same thing as Vorox, really. Twelve of Berix’s fifteen pieces are recolored or new molds, and that’s a hefty amount for a small set. The result is that Berix looks entirely new, even though his design is old, and so you don’t get this “didn’t I buy something like this last year?” feeling the way I, at least, would with some of the other Agori.
And those new colors do look quite swell. The various blues are nicely watery, and I find that the gold complements them well. The Chronicler’s Staffs are apparently supposed to constitute a shield, and, well, in the right position they look like one, but they don’t really seem like they’d offer Berix much protection. Still, it’s nice that more of the sets this year have shields. They’re useful things.
There is that whole thing with his feet being dark blue and no other part of him. They look a little out of place, but I find it difficult to muster any dislike for them. They’re far too fantastic for me to wish they were different.
Perhaps we could make some other part of him dark blue to balance them out instead? I’ve been thinking the Mahri tube would be pretty cool in dark blue, and I have heard people complain that the gold and silver clash, though I don’t really agree, since the two are pretty separate from each other. But, alas, six unique recolored pieces in a small set is probably too much to hope for. Maybe dark blue hands. He could really do with more dark blue, but this is far from a negative point.
At any rate, the tube is an interesting addition. It adds flair to Berix’s design; one of those small but interesting differences from the rest. It makes slightly more sense on Berix than Tarix – it gives the impression that water would come out of the sword or something, but then the other end plugs right into Berix’s back and ruins that. That’s what imagination’s for, I guess, but it might be cool to have something on his back for the tube to plug into.
Such a thing might also make his overall construction a bit more Technic-y, which would be more than welcome. I miss having real technic pieces like pins and axles in the small sets. Anyone else feel that way?
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?
Berix does not do much, except stand around and look pretty (and he looks very pretty indeed, with all that blue).
He can strike dramatic poses, but such are limited by the pre-bent nature of his limbs. His legs are okay, being at a natural, restful angle, but the 90º angle in his arms gets really annoying sometimes. They force him into a perpetual slightly-on-the-defensive stance, which I guess works for him, but it’s a bit frustrating.
He can fight.
And apparently he can be allied with Tarix in the BIONICLE ACTION FIGURE GAME, if one investigates advanced multi-figure game play rules. I’m sure he’d appreciate that. He doesn’t really seem the narcissistic type, content to do nothing but stand around all day and be admired…
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- lots of lovely recolored pieces
- medium and light blue return!
- nice weapon choice and helmet
What's not to like?
- very few pieces
- overly simple construction
- which is near-identical to what we had last year
- no features of any sort
So is this new-but-old-ness worth $7? (or €7, if you’re across the pond.) And while we’re at it, seven dollars, Lego? It made sense last year, unwelcome though it was, when you bumped it up to $6 for the Avotoran and their obscene amounts of new pieces. But why is it a dollar more now? Couldn’t we, say, lose the plastic canister bits and maybe drop it a dollar or so again?
Well, anyway, Berix is $7, or more if you’re unfortunate enough to get him from somewhere like TRU. I do not think 15 large, blocky, less-than-modular pieces are worth $7. I definitely do not think 15 large, blocky pieces of which we got half in last year’s small sets are worth $7, so in that context Berix is a much better buy than Atakus or Raanu or Zesk.
I’d say how spiffy he looks might be enough to make him worth $7. The sheer aesthetic and bunch of recolored pieces make him desirable on his own, and they just rocket him above most of the other Agori (I haven’t forgotten you, Tarduk and Metus).
Above, he makes a delightful companion to Vorox and Gresh. Who, you may notice, have the most new and recolored pieces out of all the Glatorian. Coincidence? Probably not.
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