Hello, video games are actively making their way into LEGO, and Super Mario has opened a portal to endless gaming universes for LEGO (I've heard that the portal was opened by LEGO games and corresponding sets from the Dimensions series; it sounds symbolic, but in my opinion, it was Mario that opened the portal to mass third-party gaming IPs). While Animal Crossing is highly anticipated, the set for "Horizon: Forbidden West" was a big surprise for me. The series is not exactly for kids, but LEGO, with its black boxes, is actively entering the adult set segment, trying to choose things not related to real violence. The post-apocalyptic world of Horizon fits well with LEGO's intentions. And here we have the LEGO set 76989.
Vertical boxes are not very common for LEGO, although in some cases, when the contents of the set reach for the sky, they make sense. And this is precisely one of those cases.
What else do we see on the box, besides our handsome TallNeck? We see an indication that the set has 1222 pieces and the magical mark "18+". This means it's time to keep children and pregnant women away from the screens to avoid them seeing something scary.
And here we see that scary thing: an ugly non-removable sticker on the back of the box. Horror, right in the middle of the set image. I'm outraged to the core. If I didn't care about the contents of the box, I would run to return it immediately because this is some kind of sacrilege.
The final set size is 34 cm in height and 21 cm in length. Based on the number of pieces and the box size, it can be concluded that the pieces are mostly small. At the bottom, we see two set images framing the promotional art for the game "Horizon: Forbidden West."
On the top surface, we see another set frame, the inscription "Horizon: Forbidden West," and the only minifigure in the set (but what a minifigure) - Aloy.
The red LEGO logo is everywhere - but, we already know what we're buying, so let's continue.
The box doesn't open very conveniently, it is opened from the bottom; it's filled about 2/3 full. Not NinjaGo Gardens, of course, but still not bad.
Inside, everything is as usual: pieces, instructions, stickers. Since I usually don't apply stickers to sets, this time the photos will be without them. I hope no one will mind. Those who want to see the set with applied stickers can check the pictures in the review on Brickset (link to reviews on the set page).
There are 8 bags, 3 of them are for the base, and 5 are for the Tallneck. What can I say? The priorities are clear, and I completely agree with them; you can immediately see who's in charge here.
They managed with just one instruction book, for which they have my thanks. I don't like it when there are several books. At some point, you grab the wrong one, then you have to find a place for the books you no longer need - it's a hassle. The book is thick enough and follows the design of the box.
Inside, the book looks more like sets from Ideas than books for regular LEGO sets. Brief information about the world, beautiful pictures, photos of the set designer, some details about the character. Anyway, take a look for yourselves.
The instruction book concludes with a quote from the game. In general, the world of Horizon is very interesting, as is the game's concept. However, I haven't played it, so I'll remain a couch expert. I see a mix of games like "Monster Hunter," "Shadow of the Colossus," with a dash of "Far Cry" and post-apocalyptic elements. It seemed like the concept of hunting various monsters had been exhausted by the "Monster Hunter" series, but "Horizon" decided to casualize it a bit and make the hunted creatures... machines. The idea is excellent: a future filled with greenery, remnants of cities, and machine-like beasts roaming between them. Monsters made of steel. The concept of animating machines is not new; Stephen King has explored it multiple times, but here it's done aesthetically pleasing. Machines resembling wild animals (hello, Transformers beasts), jungles, and prehistoric hunters using technology remnants more like beliefs and magic - a great combo that was bound to succeed.
But I digress; let's get back to reviewing the set.
Let's start with the main character of the game - Aloy. The minifigure is dressed in tribal clothing with visible rough stitches and beads.
There's a drawing of a mech on the back (hm, are there regular animals in the game, or only machines? It's unclear; I should have played :( ). The face is two-sided, but both expressions, in my opinion, aren't very expressive, although the character lived far from people in the story, so she had no reason to develop expressive facial expressions.
The time when prints on hands were surprising has passed, so everything is fine with them here. Some tough bracelets are visible, and take note of the headset on the head; it's a cool detail that will be better understood when we put the hair on the minifigure. Probably needless to say, but at the moment, all parts of the minifigure are unique and only appear in this set.
As you can see, there's a round transparent window in the hair, positioned right in front of this headset. A very elegant and cool solution, in my opinion. The designers did a great job bringing it into production.
The hair itself is reddish-brown with braids at the back, very reminiscent of the game character. I like it.
For weaponry, Aloy has a bow (it wouldn't be "Far Cry" without a bow - money wasted otherwise) and an incomprehensible spear, simultaneously primitive and technological. In addition, Aloy is armed with a restriction on arm movement due to long hair, which raises questions when using the spear. Throwing it will definitely be a problem. It's worth noting that the spear itself is not very stable and constantly falls apart. Apparently, the "18+" on the box means that this set should not be given to children to play with, at least the spear will quickly fall apart. Considering that the spear, in my opinion, looks quite ugly, and this ugliness comes with unreliability, it's very annoying. By the way, the trendy white bow is currently a feature unique to this set, and there's no other way to find a white bow. Thus, white joins the previous trio of unique bow colors - gold, green, and dark blue, which also only appear once. Dark blue, by the way, also appeared only in a set for the game (the "Overwatch" set 75971).
In addition to the massive Tallneck, the set also includes a small Watcher. The Watcher is a fairly iconic enemy in the game (one of the first and frequently appearing later), and adding it to the set seems like a reasonable decision. Although, in my opinion, it doesn't look very much like its prototype in the game.
And now let's move on to assembling the set.
If I were asked to characterize the assembly of the set in one word, that word would be "SNOT" (Studs not on top). Almost everything in the set is assembled using this technique. It all starts with assembling the oval base. By the way, according to an interview with the designer of this set, he didn't want to make a square stand since he got tired of making them for LEGO Minecraft sets. He experimented with stand shapes, trying various options, and ultimately settled on an oval shape. Honestly, I definitely like the oval base assembled with SNOT more than my idea of its rectangular form; a circle would probably be too boring.
We can observe the result of assembling the first three bags. Overall, everything looks quite interesting; the ambiance is detailed, and the protruding gray pins hint at where exactly we'll need to place our Tallneck (I'll jump ahead a bit, the stability of the Tallneck on these three mounts is enough for it not to fall, so you can raise one of its legs a bit more attractively when it stands on your shelf).
I didn't take photos at various stages of assembling the Tallneck itself; as expected, some parts are mirrored, but this is typical for all symmetrical models. Overall, it assembles quite interestingly; there are few large parts, and the small ones are often connected in very interesting ways. In general, the "18+" label, in my opinion, is well-deserved.
At the end of the assembly, we have a few different parts left. Fortunately, this is a common occurrence and doesn't mean we forgot anything. Among the interesting parts here, we can highlight the red feathers; this particular piece in red doesn't appear anywhere else. And a similar one in red hasn't been seen since the days of Adventurers. In other words, we haven't seen it in this century.
Another interesting part is this piece used for attaching the legs. It's already quite common, although it seems to have appeared for the first time in this set. Still, it simultaneously appeared in other sets this year. Essentially, this part replaced the old attachment. The new attachment is much smaller, allowing for more compact mechs, as seen in new figures like 76225. I like that LEGO has moved away from the idiotic trends of the late '90s and early '00s when they created new parts en masse for one set. This part immediately went into production, and as a fan of mechs, I really like it.
But let's get back to the star of the set, the Tallneck.
You can easily notice how much taller it is than the minifigure. The model itself is very pleasing and well-detailed. Previously, such detailing could only be expected in custom builds, but in recent years, LEGO adult sets usually impress with both detailing and assembly approaches. This is what happens when there are plenty of AFOLs among LEGO designers.
If you take a closer look, you can see a bunch of elements in the set related to various attachments that the minifigure can use to climb to the top tower. In the game, Tallnecks served as Far Cry-style towers that the hero had to climb to get the map of the area. Noteworthy details include golden swords, which appeared in this set in 2022 but are becoming widespread in 2023 sets of the Ninjago series.
Also, if you pay attention to the tail, you can notice gray snowboards. Not that they are very useful, but another color of snowboard won't hurt. They haven't gone anywhere else in this color yet and remain unique to this set.
In general, for a detailed analysis of new unique parts and new colors of existing ones, it's worth checking out the review from New Elementary (it's available on the set's page); they specialize in dissecting parts, while I'm pointing out what I find interesting or stands out.
The Tallneck itself is quite flexible; it can almost do yoga. The legs are very movable, and this is a plus thanks to the connectors I mentioned earlier.
The feet are also flexible, the three-toed paws have a decent range of motion.
The foot ends with a connection under a technic-pin, thanks to which the set is fixed on the plate. This is clearly visible in the photo above.
I really like the head; it strongly resembles the gondola of the Enterprise from Star Trek. It looks very pleasing and was also assembled using SNOT.
The connections of the Tallneck on the plate are sturdy enough to allow you to tilt it in any direction without affecting stability (okay, okay, I didn't intentionally knock it over; I accidentally knocked it over while setting it up).
The assembled set looks excellent; it currently sits on my desk next to the keyboard and looks amazing, no worse than some special figures released for games. Moreover, a figure at a height of 30 cm might cost more, certainly not cheaper.
Talking about any gaming features of an explicitly shelf-oriented set probably isn't necessary. Still, as I mentioned earlier, the entire set contains a bunch of attachments for Aloy.
So, if there's a desire, she can climb all the way to the top.
And even at the very top, there are attachments, so this aspect was well thought out by the designers.
I liked that the designers tried to bring some post-apocalyptic elements into the set's environment; in this case, it's a dilapidated traffic light. On the one hand, you can tilt it and turn it in different directions, but on the other hand, the vine constantly tries to twist it into a certain position, which is quite annoying.
Other annoying points include the fragility of individual leg elements that often come off, which worsens the set's playability. But, as I noted above, the set was clearly made for a beautiful demonstration and the ability to display our Tallneck in various poses. The robustness of the entire construction for play probably wasn't the primary criterion. Therefore, we got an excellent and beautiful statue.
Photographing the set isn't straightforward because it's quite large, especially in height, making most shots vertical.
On the other hand, the height is a feature of the set, so it's not entirely fair to complain about it.
The gameplay, as I mentioned, revolves around Aloy's need to climb to the very top of the set, and this moment was highlighted in most of the promotions.
I don't like how the Watcher turned out when comparing it to the original. However, if you consider it just as a small robot lizard, it's quite a good model. The translucent pin can be of various colors to show different reactions to the environment: blue - just skittering, yellow - suspecting something, red - attacking.
Well, that's all folks.
LEGO 76989 - Horizon: Forbidden West - Tallneck: Set Review