|System: PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Factor 5||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SCEA||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Aug. 30, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Matthew Walker
Feb. 8, 2007 - We've all wanted a dragon at least once in our lives and Lair finally gives us our opportunity. Factor 5, most notably recognized for the Rouge Squadron Games for the N64, has partnered for the first time with Sony Computer Entertainment of America to bring their first original title in six years, but what makes Lair different from earlier dragon games? After all, there have been games that had dragons that you could fly on, save other dragons with, even knock offs of dragons saving other dragons, but Factor 5 and SCEA are allowing the dragon genre to grow up, as well as the dragon enthusiast.
Lair is set in a beautifully epic fantasy world ravaged by war of a civilization split in two, the Asylians and Mokai. You will play as an elite knight of the Asylians who, instead of riding the typical knight mode of transportation, a horse, rides a giant fire-breathing dragon. It will be your responsibility to turn the tides of battle as you aide the ground forces by riding the fields of your enemy. The dragon becomes your main weapon as you will use it to destroy the battle lines of your enemy, fiery beasts, and other creatures of the land.
After years of flying games with rules not to touch anything, Lair gives a huge dragon and says, "here, destroy everything." Using the functionality of the Sixaxis motion controller, you will direct your dragon's every movement. Tilt the controller forward and your dragon will descend upon enemies to be eaten to replenish your health. Tilt the controller back and your dragon soars to the heavens above. Your movement controls everything, even how hard you hit another dragon to engage in combat. You will have what is being called a combat-locking system, which will allow you to lock on to the opposing dragon and engage it rapidly from a distance. This means that instead of worrying about which way you're holding the controller, you can prepare for the battle before it starts.
Once the battle begins, a slow motion battle engages between the dragons and, ultimately, the knights, drawing from the God of War franchise for the mini-game feel to the lustrous combo system. One of the coolest moves in the trailer was a slow motion shot of the knight leaping, via grappling hook, from his dragon to another and striking the knight and his dragon both down. The dragon won't be your only weapon. You will also be able to dismount your dragon and enter the fray of battle as just the knight using a claw like mace. In order to do this, you must be over solid ground, and then all you have to do is press the triangle button. While fighting with the knight may not be your main choice of combat after controlling the massive dragon, the knight is as equally impressive as the dragons. The knight and the dragon won't be the only dynamics of the combat system. Fans of the Dynasty Warriors series will get a surge as you must also maintain the morale of your men below on the ground. What better way to do that than by swooping in, with movement directed by you, and flame-broiling your enemies?
In addition to an innovative combat flying simulation, Lair will not disappoint the eyes with the highly detailed, right down to each and every one of the scales, dragons. With the possibility of damage being shown on the dragon throughout battle, Lair could actually beat the expected realism already present in the trailer and screenshots. In a scene from the trailer you can see how the sunlight reflects against the water amidst the incredible shadow of your dragon. Factor 5 didn't just focus their attention on the different types of dragons, including a dark dragon species, they made the armor of the knights realistic and believable, reflecting the light from the sun both accurately and precise. The detail of movement by all of the characters is an exceptional breath of realism. Unlike most games consisting of a flying element where the figures below become stale or invisible all together, even at high altitudes you will still see the action below. The soldiers will become a swarm of thousands of bodies battling over a painstakingly detailed environment that looks like it has been torn apart by war. Presented in 1080i, Lair will not only be breathtakingly beautiful but deep with realism.
An exclusive title for a game system used to mean something. Lair looks to remind us all why it did. With an expected release date during Spring 2007, Lair could also remind people why PlayStation is in nearly every household in the world. With the PS3's still steep price, Lair is shaping up to be the first game that will make you happy you spent every single cent.
CCC Project Coordinator