Review: LEGO Horizon Forbidden West Tallneck

It’s easy to agree that the Horizon games have blown away gamers over the past few years. Horizon Zero Dawn was a whole new venture for Guerilla Games, moving from the great Killzone series to a huge open world game where vast robot animal things roam the world, complete with one of the finest bits of story telling I’ve experienced in over 30 years of gaming. Following that came the equally brilliant Forbidden West, ramping up the quality with the power of the PS5. One of the more memorable elements of these two games were the Tallnecks – massive oversized giraffe-esque robots which could be hacked to reveal nearby activites and areas on the map. They looked incredible. Good enough for a LEGO set, that’s for sure.

Which takes us to the LEGO Horizon Forbidden West Tallneck set (76989, if you’re a fan of LEGO set codes). Released last year and almost instantly impossible to get hold of, it’s now a far more accessible set with stock levels settling down and many of your every day LEGO shops having them available. So what better time to have a look at it, build one ourselves and let you know if it’s worth the investment?

Split over 8 bags, the set includes an incredibly detailed Aloy character, a diorama style base (complete with a really cool old-world set of traffic lights), a Watcher robot with a changeable red/yellow/blue lens and the main event – the awesome, 35cm tall Tallneck. This is very much a display piece as opposed to a model to play with, and while it’s entirely possible to remove it from the base and reposition the four legs, it’s at its most balanced when clipped securely into the base. And really it’s the best place for the Tallneck to go, showing the scale of the beast against trees, traffic lights and Aloy herself.

Some of the techniques used to design this are incredibly clever; the combination of the round head and oval base is really cool, but it’s the neck area that really catches the eye. The way the armoured plates running down the front all come together as you build is great, and the golden structures that Aloy would, in the game, climb up as she makes her way up to the head are all present and correct and can be angled slightly to suit a change in the posed position if needs be, for example if you wanted Aloy to be climbing up the Tallneck.

Intructions themeslves are generally crystal clear, and there was only one moment in the build when I had to spend a moment or two finding where a couple of pieces were meant to go. The ambiguity came from the fact that pieces are generally outlined to show where they go (useful when applying numerous pieces of the same colour) but in one step only some of the pieces were highlighted in such a way. But, considering how many pages of instructions there are to build this, a single hiccup like that isn’t anything I’m going to kick off about.

Put together and on display it’s a formiddable and noticable talking point. The fact the Tallneck sits on a relatively low base and towers over it so much makes it look all the more incredible, and a big decision to make will be where to actually display your work of art once it’s done. The detail on top of the head means you don’t want it on a high shelf where you would look up at the model, so finding a good spot is worth spending some time on. Personally I’ve sat it next to my PS5, which is not only a great height for being able to enjoy the details in the model but also seems perfect in terms of coupling it with Forbidden West itself – all I need now is some visitors so they can be just as wowed as I have been throughout the process.

So you can probably tell already, but I’m a big fan of this set. As a display piece it’s nothing short of majestic, and while you won’t get much joy out of it if you’re hoping to be able to move it around a lot and play with it, you do at least have the small Watcher and Aloy that are far more accessible and could be used in some make-believe hunting scenarios in the garden. For fans of the Horizon games, or if you just want something truly unique on display in your house that you won’t get from any other LEGO set, you shoud be leaping at this while you still can.