So how did they size up once busted free of their cardboard prison? Let's take a gander...
Like: The mixing easily. If you had the oldest knight sets and the Robin Hood sets, along with the newer Castles sets and the Goblins and Dwarves from the same series after that, you'd be able to do a D&D style display! Throw in the Viking sets and the Dragons from there and it would be the perfect Lego Fantasy themed realm. :)
Like: The new expression-filled Lego heads. First was the plain ol' dots for eyes and a line for a mouth. Then came some basic expressions before they introduced color in the eyes and sometimes a tongue. Then came the stylish hair fringes, the stubble and eventually everyone of these elements combined so that there are now literally dozens upon dozens of different faces.
Like: That the minifigs' faces are yellow! The flesh colored stuff makes them look less Lego and more Playmobil-ish.
Like: The new metallic shades for weapons and armor.
Gone are the days of only grey weapons, grey armor, and gray helms. First there were the vac metalized silver and gold swords, and now there's this new gun metal gray plastic for the dark knight's weapons and helm, as well as the slightly more shimmery silver of the Lion knight's helm and sword. I love the contrast of the two types of colors. It's even better that the color is in the molded plastic so that it'll never chip off from over-play.
Like: The dark knight's helm. They've perfected the shape of the bucket helm with eye slits. And the knight's eyes show perfectly though the slits without losing any of their intensity.
Dislike: The mini catapult. Sure, it's got a simple launching mechanism that can launch a projectile, but other than that, why would a knight be wandering around with one? Wouldn't he be better served by a horse (To carry his extra stuff) or (dare I say it) a squire (also to carry his extra stuff)?
Logic aside, the "vehicle" provides less play value for me than compared to the dark knight's marker flag. With the flag, I can pose the Lego dude around it, on it, and even grabbing it. But wherever I put the Lion knight on the contraption, he seems out of place. Perhaps they could've given him a marker of his own, or better yet, a mini tent. I think it would add more oomph to a dual dueling knight set like this one.
The guy looks more gritty and a lots less smiley crazy than the bearded "good" knight. I guess this is an instance where the attempt to make the smiley guy the "good" knight fails and instead makes him look nuts. Perhaps it's time to do a head swap...
Aesthetics: 7.5/10 - It's hard to compare Legos with actual action figures. But compared to other Legos, these guys look really sharp and have nice opposing color schemes. Also, they are distinct as Legos and have a great House knights versus renegade knights feel. It kinda reminds me of First Knight, the Arthurian retelling that stars Richard Gere, Sean Connery, and Julia Ormond. The Rangerlord hates Richard Gere in the movie and I think he's a little old for it, but overall it's not a bad flick.
Poseability: 6/10 - Come on, they're Legos! And the low-ish score reflects the 5 points of articulation of the minifigs (head and two arms--swivels, legs--both hinged), but takes into consideration that it's Lego and has interchangeable parts that can keep posing for displays fresh. But as with most all Legos, these guys need bases to stand on, whether they're platforms, vehicles, or starships.
Fun: 8/10 - Lego is always fun but the small sets like this one are limited by the number of parts they have. In this case, the supporting vehicles/accessories/environ builders are limited. But the things can only get funner with the addition of more knights, soldiers, and castles/fortresses. It'll also be really fun to hunt down all the knights with different insignias now and create a "jousting tourney" scene complete with squires, horses, and tents with different heraldry.
Value: 8/10 - Lego on discount/clearance is always a good thing. That this is the latest in the "non-branded" Lego line and is still eligible for clearance is the cherry on tops off the cake. And more minifigs the merrier, right? Well this set has two. The catapult and the flagged way-point is just gravy!
Overall: 7.5/10 - This is a decent set to get if you're on a tight budget or if you simply just like minifigs. It's also a great set to get to complement the larger ones like the rogue knight tower, their fortress, or the largest-in-the-line Lion knights' castle. It's also great because it give you two knights, and who doesn't love knights? ;)