Lair Review

Games like Lair make me sad. You have an incredible story and world fully fleshed out in beautiful cinematic cutscenes, but the gameplay is just downright frustrating and boring.

The initial story to Lair doesn’t seem like anything too awesome; some natural disaster with volcanoes occurred, the world was reshuffled, new religions and nations popped up, etc. However, despite the shallow beginnings, the story progresses with twists and turns which would be right at home in an epic movie. A lot of the story kicks off relatively early in the game, and you’ll feel yourself being drawn in. Sadly, being drawn into the story so early only makes Lair’s shortcomings all the more distressful.

That’s why Lair is such an utterly disappointing title. Often cited as one of the main flagship titles for the PS3, the game just doesn’t deliver, and it’s just not fun. The Sixaxis flight controls fluctuate all over the board; one mission you’ll have most movements respond fine, and the next you’ll lose because you couldn’t control where the hell you were going and had no idea which direction was which half the time. Tilting the controller the way you want your dragon to go (left to bank left, up to ascend, etc.) seems like a fun idea on paper, but it just doesn’t work well. At all.

The game controls just fine in high altitude situations or oceanic fights, but the many levels which place you in clustered environments with enemies all around just wreak absolute havoc on the flight controls. The battles turn into aerial jousting, and you’ll likely just fly in a semi-circle rotating the camera in hopes of finding an enemy you can lock on to, or flying out as far as you can so you can make a sweep of the area to see where everyone went.

So Lair is a pain in the ass to control movement-wise. How does it fare when it comes to actual combat? Not much better, I’m sorry to say. Combat is essentially composed of you hoping you can lock onto a target and unleash a fireball or charge them. That’s pretty much all there is to it (other than button-mashing "one on one" fights which are even worse). You can’t really perform any cool aerial maneuvers to get behind your enemy, because the controls won’t let you. The enemy has no problem flying, so often times you’ll be trying to pull off a 180 degree turn (good luck), speed up, and get blasted from behind.

Not only is the game frustrating to control, but the camera is just downright awful. You’ll never know where you’ll end up looking after most kills, because it seems to have a mind of its own, dictating whether or not it’s zipping in or resetting by its whim alone.

Most of these problems aren’t too apparent in the early game; in fact, until you get to a mission a short while in that requires you to dodge some spotlights, things seem relatively smooth. Unfortunately, that spotlight mission is the point where you’ll notice that everything goes to hell. (Ironic, isn’t it?) I’ve had friends try the game and get to that mission, then end up quitting after failing for the third straight time. It’s a really sharp jump in difficulty, and a really sharp drop in playability.

To their credit, Factor 5 did do an amazing job of crafting the world of Lair. The characters are memorable, the story is engrossing, there are a few comedic moments, and the cinematic unfolding of the story is better than many recent films. However, they seemed to place more emphasis on making a game look good on the PS3 rather than play well. The amazing job they did creating the world inside of the game is almost a slap in your face, because you want to find out what happens; you just don’t want to have to play it yourself.

When you get right down to it, Lair is a very, very disappointing game. Is this what we’ve been waiting for? It’s essentially a gorgeous looking demonstration of how not to use the Sixaxis controls. If a patch or update is released which allows the game to be played with the traditional analog stick control, Lair will be a fairly solid flight-action game. As it stands, there is absolutely no reason you should purchase Lair, unless you’re desperate for a new PS3 game. If you were counting on this to be the big game on the PS3 until MGS4 comes out, you have my condolences. I never imagined in a million years I’d say this, but Wing Island controls better. Sure it’s fun (at times) and the remote play on the PSP is a great new feature and will really make the PS3 a better console, but on the whole, Lair just isn’t worth purchase for most gamers.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: Brendon Lindsey View all posts by

Leave A Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.