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Submitted by Chris Leyton on August 15 2007 - 16:57

Factor 5 takes on dragons and the SixAxis with its forthcoming PS3 release...

Between Stefen Fangmeier's Eragon and Courtney Soloman's Dungeons & Dragons, the once majestic fire-breathing, reptilian beasts haven't enjoyed the warmest reception in recent times. Hoping to reverse this slide, Factor 5's debut PS3 title has been attracting attention since it made an appearance back in 2005.

More than just a desperately needed PS3 exclusive, Lair carries the weight of the SixAxis credibility on its scaly shoulders. To-date, it seems the much-maligned SixAxis still has a long way to go before convincing gamers (and developers) that its motion-sensitive capabilities were little more than a desperate last-ditch attempt to masquerade the legal wrangles rumbling with Immersion. Ranging from the stupidly absurd to the downright diabolical, developers have generally had a tough time coming up with ideas to put the unwieldy design of the pad to good use.

Amidst such poorly conceived gimmicks, one game stands out as a possible hope for the pad's future. Factor 5' Lair has almost become a talisman for the SixAxis, a game re-designed around the concept, which requires the sole use of the SixAxis to take control of a dragon flying through the skies of what's shaping up to be a relatively routine fantasy action romp.

Taking players into a land soaked with clichéd fantasy elements, the central plotline appears to borrow elements from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings to Lucas' Star Wars. Assuming the role of a Jedi-esque Knight named Rohn, the recent eruption of volcanoes has split the once peaceful land, it's inhabitants dividing into the Mokai that live in the barren lands of the North, and the noble Asylians who live in the last remaining bountiful, luscious grasslands to the south.

Taking flight to the skies, Lair's single-player campaign chronicles the conflict between the two different factions, typically involving all-out attacks, escort missions and dynamic battlefields that reflect the changing tides of the war and your actions upon it. Encounters with slightly grander beasts serve as the game's array of boss adversaries, peppering the missions and providing a little more variety to the standard human and dragon slaying action. Achieving Gold, Silver and Bronze awards at the end of each stage, further progress throughout the game rewards players with additional attacking techniques and extra dragons to ride.

Using the SixAxis to guide the dragon in flight initially seems awkward and unresponsive. Tilting the SixAxis left, right, up and down to control the flight of the dragon feels a little light and sorely misses some rumble feedback to provide a sense of weight to the proceedings. More often then not, you'll find yourself flipping the SixAxis repeatedly to try something as simple as a reverse turn, which doesn't suggest that Lair will offer the watertight motion-control game to silence the doubters when it's released across Europe next month.

One aspect that Factor 5 appears to have nailed at this late stage is the game's auto-targeting option, which comes as a welcome relief given the issues that the general control setup throws up. Providing a constant view of the target whilst at the same time maintaining a sense of control over your own dragon without clattering in the towers, trees and ramparts, this feature goes along way to improving the frustrations but we doubt it will overcome the general lack of response that plagues the overall feeling of flight in the game.

Beyond the archetypal burst of flames, Rohn and his trusty winged steed have a number of additional techniques at their disposal. Homing in on an opponent with a lock-on, the face buttons unleash a wide range of attacks, ranging from one-on-one fighting ala Streetfighter to God of War II styled quick button mini-games and a rather peculiar 'bashing' conquest between the dragons in the skies. The execution of these concepts feel a little loose at this stage (like the controls), a collection of ideas that haven't gelled together as well as they possibly could have and we're hoping that the final code will tighten up the overall execution to make combat a little more entertaining then what's currently on display. One of the few entertaining aspects to be had from Lair comes from swooping low and clutching hold of enemy characters in the dragon's talons before launching them towards the horizon. It's undoubtedly a small touch and unlikely to change Lair's path to mediocrity, but it's one of the rare moments when flying a dragon in Lair feels and looks pretty impressive.

Despite a list of technical buzzwords to boast about the game's graphical prowess, Lair has left us thoroughly underwhelmed with a chaotic mixture to disguise many of its misgivings. HDR lighting, real-time dynamic/fluid physics, parallax shaders and volumetric effects are all evident in Lair, however closer inspection reveals some dubious texture's (particularly land and sea) and a generally unconvincing style. Unfortunately, Lair is a victim of the Sony CG policy that has affected the likes of MotorStorm, WarHawk and forthcoming titles such as The Getaway, KillZone. Whilst the luscious CG scenes closely resemble what Sony was originally demonstrating, the final look of the game is unlikely to match the visual splendour that was on display at the game's GDC '06 debut.

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User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Sun 04th May 2008 18:31, Post No: 9

acorns woods took then eventually were about in many knew sour, places decay year let it go. friends I confessed a job berries.


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By: Anonymous

Added:Sun 04th May 2008 18:29, Post No: 8

my first home black because neighborhood to my parents every competing


By: Holme

Added:Thu 01st Nov 2007 20:54, Post No: 7

I hope A.Creed lives up to the hype more than this has.Roll on MGS4...


By: Glyndwr

Added:Thu 01st Nov 2007 17:41, Post No: 6

It's fair to describe Lair as an absolute dog of a game!


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By: Anonymous

Added:Mon 03rd Sep 2007 02:07, Post No: 5

well im buying lair proble firs or sekent day it love es out prety coll aint it hahah....well we all exsekt it out soon!!yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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By: Anonymous

Added:Mon 03rd Sep 2007 02:01, Post No: 4

well lets hope its not pushed back keep your fangers crosed!pls..im icspekting it out om sep4th.....well ok


By: SegaBoy

Added:Thu 16th Aug 2007 10:29, Post No: 3

The X-Wing games were VERY different from the Rogue Squadron games.


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By: Anonymous

Added:Tue 14th Aug 2007 18:56, Post No: 2

Bad reviews (Like 5 out of 10 style) caused a panic and made for the push back on the release. The game still won't do very well. It is made by the same people who made the Rogue Squadron X-Wing games, and people are already seeing that this is just another X-wing game but instead you're piloting a dragon. It's not going to be a very good game no matter what they change on it at this point. Kinda makes you wonder why PS3 fans won't shut up about how great it's going to be.


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By: Anonymous

Added:Mon 13th Aug 2007 23:07, Post No: 1

Past testing says this could be a good push back to avoid later user issues that could kill sales. A few bad reviews might make this a rent first, but after a few days of real play time new and current reviews could say that this game rocks. It sure looks great and sounds just as solid. I'd say worth a look. To rent or buy though...the first week of sales will tell.