Lair was supposed to be the PS3’s first big AAA title but amidst sour reviews, a poor control scheme, and glitchy frame rates, it became the console’s first big failure. I played Lair mid last year of 2007. The idea of flying around on my very own dragon was more than enough to entice me. At the time the PS3 was crowned prince of next-gen graphics but when Lair was finally released, expectations couldn’t meet the hype. Now at a slightly discounted price, should weary gamers give it chance?
I’ll start off by saying Lair is fun. Huge maps, glossy textures, amazing soundtrack, and lots of things happening at once. If you allow yourself you can really get immersed. Lair has all the right ingredients for a killer game. This is where the PS3’s power is apparent. The first couple missions drops you right in the battlefield. Hundreds if not thousands of individual characters hurling arrows, spears, and flaming boulders at you. The task at hand is simple. Kill everyone and everything in sight. Let nothing stand in your way and there you have it. That’s the basic concept of the game. Mount your dragon and with a flick of the SIXAXIS, you’re up in the air. Tilt right, tilt left, tilt forward to nose dive, tilt back to pull up. Sounds simple enough but this is where Lair fails miserably. It seems Factor-5 didn’t have enough time to perfect the control sensitivity. I found myself overshooting my enemies. The controller has a hard time differentiating a slight tilt from an all around turn. To make matters worse, there’s no other optional control scheme. The analog sticks don’t do much until you do ground battles.
Luckily there are the famous mid-air dragon battles. I couldn’t wait for this to happen and you’ll be happy to know you don’t have to wait long. The enemies have their own dragons, not one, not two, a whole army of them. Using the SIXAXIS, evade and attack your enemies. When the time is right, launch an all out attack which activates a cut scene moment where dragons collide, riders jump to an enemy dragon stabbing it right in the head. Oh yes, there is blood. It’s savage but exhilarating. It’s easy to see had Factor-5 spent a few more months perfecting the game, Lair could have easily been an interactive movie.
The symphonic soundtrack, voice acting, and sound fx are amazing, especially if you have a system that’ll support 7.1 HDMI receivers. Coupled with the 1080p visuals, you’re watching something epic. It’s breath taking to fly above the oceans, rendered so beautifully in real time with light refractions and undulations. It’s a shame it couldn’t fully deliver because of its control mechanism which ironically is supposed to make it easier for new gamers.
If you really need something to play before Metal Gear Solid 4 or Little Big Planet comes out, give Lair a try. You’ll like it but wish it were better. Nothing wrong with that. There’s always room for improvement. Those of you on a strict budget, wait a few more months for deeper discounts.
I'm an ex fashion designer turned Art Director for a interactive design agency in Los Angeles. I also moonlight as a blogger here and a few other places if you look for the intials L.T. or Electro^Plankton.
I love video games so I hope you all like what I have to say.