I have to admit, Wicker Man really is the fastest ride that I've experienced a decline in opinion on ever. Since going on it multiple times over the past few weeks, I've realised that it just doesn't seem to impress me anywhere near as much as it did initially, and I think I'm starting to gather why. So I'm going to do a re-review of sorts, a year later...
Now, I'm fully aware that the theming structure is impressive, however I've always personally found this is mainly due to the size of it rather than the execution - which in my opinion has never been the best, with the way the TV screens are implemented being one of the major flaws. Now on my first ride of the year the flames were in-fact working as advertised
however since then, as documented on here, they haven't been and whilst for some this may not be a big deal, I consider this to be a major part of the ride and the main selling point initially. Not to mention for me personally the flames bursting up as you're hurtling toward the middle keyhole section of the structure really add to the thrill of that section! Thankfully that's hopefully a temporary thing, although for such a major element to be breaking so often it does concern me. To me, it is not ok and it is somewhat disappointing. Whilst other attractions have had similar issues with effects (and were arguably much more criticised for it), The Swarm for example, these effects were never pushed as a USP in marketing like with Wicker Man so I really hope this isn't a recurring theme which leads to the eventual removal of the effect once there's little marketing referencing it. Just another note that I had on theming, when going on the ride initially with someone who hadn't been on before on opening weekend, even they commentated on some of the torches in the baggage holding area were not noticeable or not working at all already - but hey, at least it wasn't the projection room 2.0!
Then in terms of the coaster itself, I think if you really look at the coaster for what it is it's nothing overly special. Sure its fun and don't get me wrong, I STILL THOROUGHLY ENJOY THIS RIDE
however this time around I didn't have that wave of excitement on the brake run, I didn't have that feeling of "I HAVE to get back in line", nor would I have ventured to it first if it wasn't the closest coaster to the main entrance. I think having experienced attractions that are, in my opinion, far superior to this has just made me realise that whilst this thing is great fun it's not incredible, nor is it the best coaster in the UK in my opinion. I think that's ok though, I don't think that was ever Alton Towers's goal with the project, it didn't need to be. Oh... and when will they sort out the batching?!
every time I visited it was a mess but I won't judge it on that front!
I think my only other gripe is that the merch isn't all that great, and what is great is £50+, a far cry from what we saw with Ghost Train and The Smiler. Although that is a heavily opinion based critique and based on my taste in merch (besides the original hoodie, that just felt somewhat cheap to me) so I don't necessarily factor it into my overall feeling toward the ride. Merch can change after all, and I have to be honest they have improved it this year, although I still won't buy anything from the ride.
So to conclude... I like Wicker Man, heck I love the thing, but it's gotten somewhat watered down. I think between the layout not being, let's be honest, the best it could be and the theming not being quite as expansive as I would like (I have never got the argument that it's the most themed coaster in the UK) and the effect issues it's been plagued with it just doesn't give me such a wow factor as a fair few other attractions in the UK. It's bound to happen with all rides over the years, but with this it just happened a whole lot sooner for me! To clarify again, this is just my opinion and so if others love it, awesome, however much like I'm unlikely to change your mind it's unlikely mine will change either.
Whilst this review seems somewhat negative I just think it's because everyone has already said the positives. Do you really need me to tell you how awesome the twisted double down is or the way it flicks you through the structure's chest is AGAIN? I doubt it. So, to me it's what Towers needed and its a solid ride, just not absolutely fantastic like I initially considered it to be!