Sony Computer Entertainment Lair
- Gorgeous graphics, Amazing orchestral soundtrack, Dragon-based action has its moments.
- Six-axis only control scheme hurts more than it helps. Small design flaws cut into the game's potential
Despite the faults, Lair still manages to be decent title that all PS3 owners should look into, but you may want to reserve your true excitement for the day when the other hotly anticipated PS3 titles like Heavenly Sword arrive.
Price$ 99.95 (AUD)
Although most of the negativity surrounding the PS3 has to do with its exorbitant price tag, it is, without a doubt, its anemic game library that is the system's true Achilles heel.
There's no denying that if the games were there, the price of the system wouldn't matter as much. Look ahead to the next few months and you'll see games like Heavenly Sword and Metal Gear Solid 4 waiting just on the horizon, but what the PS3 needs more than anything right now, at this very moment, is a triple-A title to come along and provide some lift for its massive black wings.
Lair is the first of the hotly anticipated and overly hyped PS3 games that could have and should have fit the bill, and although it flies in with a full head of steam, it ultimately comes in for an awkward landing.
Before we get to the things it does wrong, let's look at the list of the things Lair does right. First, Sony fanboys will have a lot of fun crowing to 360 fanboys about the game's gorgeous graphics and rightly so, as Lair does a great job of showing off the graphical prowess of the PS3. It isn't the revolutionary leap over the 360 that the PS3 diehards will want it to be but it is proof positive that developers are finally beginning to get a firm grasp on the complexities of the hardware and it serves as an encouraging sign of what's to come.
Speaking of which, Lair plays great regardless of the setup: we played it on an old 480i set all the way up to a brand spanking new 1080p display and it looked impressive all the way through. Obviously you'll get better results with a true 1080p display, and if you have the equipment to take full advantage of the audio/visual buffet that Lair has to offer then you're definitely in for a treat, especially if you're equipped for 7.1 surround sound, as Lair's orchestral score is particularly strong.
The Air Up There
I also appreciated Lair's compelling and interesting story, even if it does have a few holes. The narrative revolves around two nations who were once united but were split during a cataclysmic time of upheaval. One nation, the Asylians, prospered while the other, the Mokai, did not. You play the role of Rohn, a member of Asylia's Sky Guard, who begins the game defending his country's borders against a Mokai invasion but is quickly embroiled in a growing conspiracy of betrayal.
While the story isn't going to win any originality awards, its element of theological warmongering is fascinating and has a lot of resonance with current cultural events. And despite a few plot holes, the story drives the action along and gives you enough excuses to ride out on your dragon and wreak havoc, which is, of course, the main draw of the game.
Dragon Your Tail
At its best, the dragon-based combat of Lair is pretty damn awesome. Soaring around majestically in the sky; raining hot fiery dragon-breath death upon your foes' heads; grappling with other dragons and clawing their eyes out; leaping onto an enemy dragon-rider's back and hacking at him with your weapon; swooping down onto the ground and rampaging around like Godzilla--there's no shortage of thrills to be had. Missions have a variety of objectives and you'll constantly be forced to change your tactical focus and point of attack.
While the game-play isn't revolutionary, it's solidly done, which is no surprise given developer Factor 5's track record with its Rogue Squadron titles. But here's where things get complicated: for all its pretty graphics and sweet dragon-on-dragon action, the game suffers from one colossal design flaw--it relies entirely on the Six-axis motion sensing controller.
Want your dragon to go left? Bank your controller left. Want it to swoop down? Tilt the controller forward. It sounds simple enough, but in practice ends up being more of a chore than it should be. To be fair, the motion sensing is pretty accurate but requiring you to constantly move your hands around while fiddling with buttons over the course of a fairly long game is asking too much. It's unfortunate that the game relies so heavily on a gimmicky feature that no one has been able to get a true grasp of (pun intended).
Tried And True
What's most confusing about all this is that there is no other control scheme available. Had Factor 5 simply put in an option to switch to an analogue-stick based scheme, the game would have fared much better. Six-axis doesn't ruin the game--spend enough time with it and you'll eventually get used to the controls--but being able to play with a traditional analogue stick scheme would have made the game more palatable and enjoyable.
If you factor in occasional goofs like stilted storytelling, frustrating missions that you will have to repeat multiple times to get right, an irritating lack of objective updates during battles and an unfriendly camera that works against you as much as it works with you, and you have a game that could have been great but isn't.
I should point out that we were playing an early review build and Factor 5 will probably make tweaks up to the moment the gold master goes off to the mastering lab, but the core gameplay mechanics are already in place and there's no denying that it's flawed. I expect many fans will be disappointed thanks to all of the hype that's built up around the game, but the inevitable complaints about the control scheme will no doubt be warranted.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Google Daydream VR headset
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Huawei Mate 9
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Lexar® Portable SSD
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Acer Swift 7
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Surface Pro 4
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Subaru XV 2017 review
- 2 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 3 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
- 4 Panasonic Blu-ray recorder PVR set-top box review
- 5 Garmin Fenix Chronos fitness tracker smartwatch review
Latest News Articles
- Legendary RPG Planescape: Torment is getting an Enhanced Edition, 17 years later
- Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro finally adds 4K video support for local files
- StarCraft Remastered updates a legend with 4K widescreen support, updated audio, and more
- Obduction's new VR hand-tracking makes Myst's spiritual successor even more stunning
- Star Citizen dumps DirectX 12 plans to focus on Vulkan-powered graphics
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
- Subaru XV 2017 review
- LG G6: unboxing, hands on review and detail shots
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- TPSenior .NET Developer - Contract roleWA
- FTICT Project ManagerNSW
- FT.Net Solutions DeveloperSA
- CCBusiness AnalystNSW
- FTSenior Capacity Planner | Contract through till DecemberVIC
- FTJava DeveloperNSW
- CC.net Developer (Front and Back end)QLD
- FTSenior Business Analyst, Financial ServicesNSW
- FTNetwork EngineerACT
- TPSAP Data Migration LeadQLD
- TPSenior Agile Business AnalystVIC
- FTKey Account ManagerVIC
- FTWeb DeveloperVIC
- CCBusiness Analyst- Data GovernanceNSW
- FTManager Portfolio PlanningQLD
- FTEnterprise ArchitectQLD
- FTUX DesignerNSW
- FTKey Account ManagerVIC
- CCSAP FICO ConsultantWA
- TPProcess Business Analyst - Digital InnovationNSW
- CCNetwork and Cloud SMENSW
- FTSenior .Net Developer with Angular JSVIC
- FTHyperion SpecialistNSW
- TPProject SchedulerVIC