Monday, August 29, 2011

Good... But Just Too Expensive

2507 Fire Temple
The Chronicler's Rating - 3/5
Price ~ $120.00
Year Released - 2011

I must confess that I am conflicted in attempting to write a review for this set.  The Fire Temple has a lot to recommend it.  First off, it is unique in that no set like it has ever been produced, I struggle to think of almost anything to compare it to.  The building itself is interesting and has an excellent assortment of pieces in good colors.  Furthermore it has great cross over, it can be the Fire Temple, or a training ground for ninjas, or a home in a China Town district in a city, or the mysterious mountain shrine where the pirate crew finally finds the treasure (or gets eaten by a dragon while trying).  In summary across the board it meets many of the criteria of an excellent set.  So what is my hesitation?  One word: price. 

I am pretty forgiving of Lego’s new pricing.  With the economy being what it is and the shift to more detailed and “collectible” minifigures Lego’s production costs have gone up.  Even with all that though I cannot quite get myself to stomach the price tag on this set.  That hesitation is compounded by the fact that the cost puts it nearly at the same price point as the modular buildings Lego has been releasing in the last few years.  Right now I can get, for a mere $30 more, 10211 Grand Emporium. 

That set, beyond being absolutely breathtaking, is completely built out on all four sides (unlike the Fire Temple which is essentially a fa├žade), has approximately 1000 more pieces and contains a completely finished out interior (unlike the Fire Temple which is, for all practical purposes, empty).  What is the cause of that discrepancy?  The Fire Temple includes a variety of very specialized elements and minifigures which are costly to produce while the Grand Emporium’s parts and figures are far more basic.  The end result is that this set just does not feel like you are getting enough for your money. 

The Ninjago theme is, as I have written about extensively on past set reviews, meant to be both a play set and a game.  With the special spinners and cards which are included in many of the sets (which are now packaged to look more like action figures in many cases) your kids can either play pretend or compete with each other in an actual game.  The Fire Temple is 100% play set so if your kid is primarily interested in the game play aspect of this theme there is no need to fork over the extravagant amount of money it will take to get it.  If, however, playing with the ninjas and acting out stories is their main interest this set, despite its price, will make an excellent addition to their collection. 

While this set looks really cool I would recommend that you think long and hard before you spend your money on it.  The first question to consider is: do you like Ninjago for the game aspect or the play aspect?  If your primary interest is in collecting spinners and competing with friends then this set will not do much for you as it includes none of those components.  If the dragon is what appeals to you, the one included with this set is almost exactly the same as the one from the, much cheaper, 2260 Ice Dragon Attack.   

If you have read any of my other reviews you know that I will forgive just about anything if a set has good playability.  Unfortunately the playability of this one does not quite get high enough marks to overcome the price tag.  If you really want it, then get it, I don’t think you will be disappointed.  If, however, you are more into the game aspect of Ninjago or are wishy washy about whether or not you really want this one I would avoid. 

Happy Building,
The Lego Chronicler

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