Wednesday, August 24th, 2011 at 10:51pm by Jason, BZPower Reporter
The Hero Factory team is running low on energy, and the Witch Doctor is still going full force. The only way to save the day is for Rocka to increase in size and fight the Witch Doctor once and for all. Although we've already taken a look at Rocka 3.0, Xccj will now look at the larger Rocka XL. Is this the set you're going to want to get in order to protect the universe, or should you avoid him and wait for one of the other Heroes to come to the rescue. Read on and find out.
Plus, Rocka XL visited BrickFair 2011 and encountered the Witch Doctor for the first time. What was the result of this epic confrontation? At the end of this review, we'll show you!
From the design of the box to the instruction manual, these are the first things you see before building the set.
The front of the package shows Rocka XL almost reaching out to you. He is indeed much larger now, and you can see all the gold and spike pieces he utilizes. The background depicts the Cavern-of-a-Million-Hero-Heads, along with a shadowy Witch Doctor in the background. The usual information is on the front; LEGO and Hero Factory logos, set name, set number, and age range. Other information that is not present is the piece count (about 174) or the price ($24.99 USD).
The back of the box shows the key points of the jungle story through various images. The Witch Doctor takes over, Hero Factory gets the call, suits up and flies out to the crumbling planet, and then Rocka XL and Witchy go at it. There's a bonus image showing how to properly use the zamor / thornax / round ball launcher. The other details are on the box's sides. This is the primary set-up for most of the boxed Hero Factory sets, and while it doesn't necessarily show off the product's best features, it does present the story nicely and concisely.
Half the fun is had building the set. How fun is it to build and how easy or challenging is it?
Rocka XL's construction is interesting. Instead of only using the new ball-joint pieces, it attempts to utilize some technic pieces to reinforce the body and limbs. It's a little jumbled in places, but it is very different from the standard Hero and animal builds of the cheaper sets. However, there is still something distinctly familiar with this…
Oh right. The basic build is almost identical to the Fire Lord. I didn't realize this at first, since I never purchased the Fire Lord. But upon looking over BZPower's review of the set, I can instantly see the similarities. Disregarding the actual design itself, I am a little disappointed that LEGO used such a similar design. Sure, Bionicle had clone-like Titan sets in the past, but this is a little much.
Now that the set is complete, we can critique how it looks from every angle. New or interesting pieces can also be examined here.
One of the nice things about Rocka XL is definitely the parts. He has almost all the ball joint elements in his build somewhere, as well as a good amount of armor pieces. For example, he comes with two of each new claw pieces, found in the Rocka 3.0 and Surge 3.0 sets. He also contains a heavy amount of both of the new spike elements, as well as additional decorative armor elements both new and old. He also contains a copy of the gold Lion Head found in the Rocka 3.0 set. If you're interested in the new pieces released in this wave of Hero Factory sets, then Rocka XL has plenty of them for you.
Once he's all together, Rock XL is an imposing figure. He's quite bulked up on armor, and he looks a little better than the Fire Lord did, in my opinion. That doesn't mean he's without gaps or armor flaws. He has these giant slits through the middle of his lower legs that stand out badly. The back of his feet are also pretty bad; the ball joint elements are probably there for support, but they could really use some added armor. And of course the back of Rocka XL's torso is fairly empty, revealing the array of technic pieces used to reinforce the legs and arms. Plus, the spikes around Rocka XL's upper back and shoulders are all a mess. I think they're supposed to resemble a lion's mane, but the effect doesn't work for me.
However, Rocka XL does have some agreeable points. The design of the Hero torso armor over a gold claw piece works well for Rocka. Plus, his claw design is impressive, if somewhat fragile. Indeed, from the front, Rocka XL doesn't look all too terrible. The pieces flow better on him than on the Fire Lord, and his color scheme is also better, with gold and silver highlighting the mostly black and dark grey build. I would say that Rocka XL looks good from a few angles, but just don't try to look too closely or else you'll be overwhelmed by the flaws.
Rocka XL is unique in this line because he is a larger construct of a smaller figure that was also released in the same wave. And I can't help but compare the two Rockas side by side.
Overall, I would say that I prefer the 3.0 version of Rocka. It is simpler and flows together better. But XL does have some favorable aspects. First of all, XL has more gold. I was annoyed that 3.0 only had 2 gold armor pieces. Well, XL has 7 of those pieces, as well as two of the gold claw pieces. Speaking of the claws, I do like the look of XL's claw over 3.0's claw; the four spikes of equal length look much better proportioned. Finally, I thought the Lion head was too large for 3.0, but it is a fitting size for the XL version of Rocka.
What we need now is a medium version of Rocka that takes the better qualities of the 3.0 and XL versions and merges them together. MOCers, consider that a challenge.
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?
Most of Rocka XL's limb joints are reinforced. This means that he can hold a pose, but it does limit the poses he can get into. Frankly, playing with Rocka XL was cumbersome. His legs are hard to get into poses other than the basic standing ones, and the blades on his shoulders do limit mobility. Thus, Rocka XL isn't nearly as pose-able as his 3.0 counterparts. This will limit role playing, which would be Rocka XL's major feature, unless you count his launcher as a more important action feature. He also has his giant claw, but the spike connections are rather weak, so his claws can easily get knocked out of position.
Once it's all said and done, how does the set stack up? Should I get it?
What's to like?
- Lots of useful new Hero factory pieces and standard technic pieces
- A good amount of gold armor
- Lion head and claw look better on a larger figure
- Looks good in a few basic poses
What's not to like?
- Repeat of the Fire Lord's build
- Too many gaps in legs and torso
- Spiky mane looks bad
- Reinforced limbs are hard to pose
In the end, I would not recommend Rocka XL as a set you just have to get. His design isn't great for looks or mobility, and that's before you consider that it's a rip-off of the Fire Lord's build. What Rocka XL does have are lots of nice pieces, including plenty of armor elements in gold. If you're going for the pieces, then Rocka XL would be a good buy if you can get him on sale. But if it's a Hero you want, then I would suggest going for Rocka 3.0, Bulk 3.0, or one of the other smaller guys.
Now the moment you've been waiting for: Rocka XL and the Witch Doctor finally meet at BrickFair 2011!
The Witch Doctor has rejected Rocka XL's proposal. The giant Hero is devastated!
« Return to News