I've noticed a number of people scratching around and asking about this game either after buying it or just before buying it so I thought I'd put up a very old pre-updated Lair review about Lair to help people who want to up their bronze to silver gameplay to Gold stature.
This Hyborian-like game got bad press for basically the nitpicking of glorified bloggers, and there are many cool things in Lair that I missed because the online bloggers calling themselves "reporters" missed when they cut and pasted their story to their website, like Yahoo, 1up, or IGN.com. So, I'm putting some of the little griping that were made big into perspective, and also giving some pointers on what is or isn't there.
First of all, the bad things in a nutshell.
Clipping incident: happened on only one level once, but it happened when I tossed a person or shell in the valley. I couldn't get it to happen again, but then again, I didn't try to either. It only happened once out of the whole game, and I couldn't replicate it, but that's the "clipping" incident that gametrailers.com blew out of whack. It happened when you threw a character and tracked it: which meant it won't happen in general gameplay at all and the throwing is just a fun thing that you can do while you play as opposed to something happening while you play.
Slowdown: again, only happened once on the level where you have allied ships that are waiting for the signal. And again, I couldn't replicate it. IF this happens to you, it's because you didn't destroy any enemy ships and let them build-up to a ridiculous number in the harbor. If you even destroy some of them the slowdown will stop. UPDATE: that still was the only time I had slowdown. Have never had it since.
Second of all: a Quick review
Graphics: Awe-inspiring. Artwork is incredible, bordering on animation. I'm already writing a story on Lair because of the atmosphere. (UPDATE: I wrote it and Lost it basically because of a bad hard drive on my computer (tears). I pretty much committed the main parts to memory so I have no problem re-writing it if the need occurs. If the producer(s) of Lair want to do a Part II, I'd be happy to help out; as a matter of fact, I should write some of those guys).
Levels: Huge and spacious. On the night mission you really get a feeling for the size of the stages.
Sound: great sound FX, Music is milk and honey for the musical soul.
Gameplay: great. Give the SIXAXIS a chance (I call it the AX [UPDATE: No I don't]) and you'll soon get a grip on the gameplay. Keep in mind that you're riding an animal and using primitive technology (dragons) instead of using a space ship or using lasers, and you'll do fine.
My overall score: 8.5 out of 10. the minuses are that the cutscenes sometimes pull you out of gameplay, which I don't think it should, and the clipping and slowdown. While they aren't terrible, they do pull you out of the immersive feeling of the game, and to be honest, I would like to live in this game. Well, at least go on vacation there! UPDATE: I changed it to a 9: The clipping and slowdown were hard to replicate, so I relegated them to non-issues. I still did not like how the cutscenes pulled you out of gameplay, though.
-First of all, do the training level, and go back to the level because new training modes unlock. Yeah, later on I thought they should've put all of the training modes outright, and then unleash the gameplay, but that's another tale.
-TO DO THE 180 MOVE MOST REVIEWERS COULD NOT DO: almost in a moderate speed (kinda like a slower flick), bring the SIXAXIS from level towards your chest, with the motion of your arms like a bicep curl. When you get the motion down, you should be able to do it in succession. My brother doesn't even bring it that far, as if you control it like a horse, it will respond well; but most people here probably never rode a horse, sadly. * You need momentum to do the 180 move, that means you can't do it from hover. It's a dragon, not a helicopter.
* If you are going towards a wall or a mountain range and find yourself not being able to 180, it's probably because you hit the wall, and are moving slow; flap, then turn, or turn some and flap. * If you jerk downwards or are motioning downwards beforehand, you'll do a dash, as a downward move does the dash, which I'll cover in the next part.
- TO DO THE DASH: Forget the instructions, because they tell you to push the SIXAXIS forward in the training level, which is wrong. To do the dash correctly, move the control from a level SIXAXIS to downward; like paper, scissors, rock. You'll do the dash flawlessly.
* A dash isn't a turbo button on a jet, so your dragon needs to "get ready" again before the next dash. If you watch your dragon, his/her wings will spread outwards again, then you can do another dash if you need to.
*don't forget to recover, which is different than correcting. The reason why people are wobbling around is because they are trying to correct by tilting the other way after turning instead of recovering back to the level position. If after a right turn, if you want to go straight, what direction do you think you will go if you turn left? It's just common sense, ladies and gentlemen.
NOTE: This next part for controls comes from a guru named Zafro. I don't want to plagiarize him, but he pretty much nailed the 180 with ease.
[Lair seems to pride itself on its exclusive use of the Sixaxis motion sensitivity. Nearly all movement is controlled by moving the Sixaxis, and there is no choice but to obey. This is because the only option in the entire game with regard to controls is to invert the camera control. So everything detailed are the default, and only controls.
To begin, let me say simply that there is absolutely nothing wrong or hard about controlling the dragon in Lair. Tilt the Sixaxis forward to descend, pull the controller back to ascend, then tilt left and right to bank left and right. Once again, there is absolutely nothing difficult about performing these simple actions. The Sixaxis is responsive and easy to grasp. The greatest challenge here is not that the controls are unresponsive, but that when moving your whole hand and controller, you have to set your mind in a different frame. There is a huge difference between simply moving your thumb on a small stick and moving the entire controller with your hands. It's not hard, it's not broken, it just takes adjusting.
Obviously your dragon has wings, and they can be used effectively to increase speed by successively pressing the "X" button. If you feel your dragon is getting out of control, simply press L2 or R2 to apply the brakes. These are effective in turning sharply and, obviously, slowing down. Slowing down is especially useful so that you can eliminate rows of catapults or turrets without having to make various passes. And if slowing down is still too fast, you can hold L2+R2 to hover in mid-air. With these basic controls, you should be able to maneuver your dragon quite well after a little practice.
Basic flying is easy and does work well, but obviously that's not all there is to Lair. There are also a couple special maneuvers to consider. They are the 180 degree turn and the dash. To perform the 180, you must move the controller upward, according to the booklet and tutorials. Doing this will most likely create situations where you're flicking the controller up and nothing happens. Then you keep doing it and a few tries later it works. So you might be disgruntled. It's not your fault that you're doing it wrong, it's the fault of the developers. As I've seen in other games featuring the Sixaxis, the explanation behind the necessary motion isn't always the best. This is the case in Lair. If you follow what you're told, you will succeed, but not as often as you should. So don't listen to them, listen to me. There is no jerking, flailing, or wild gesticulation required. Simply hold the controller with both hands as you normally would and quickly tilt it toward you. Imagine the controller is flat in your hand, resting at 0 degrees. Just pull it back quickly 90 degrees so it is vertical. You're literally pulling back the reigns of the dragon with this motion, and I guarantee it will work.
Likewise, the dash is performed in the reverse manner. Rather than quickly pulling up, you must quickly push down. Alternately, simply moving the whole controller forward seems to work as well, but can be substantially more tiring. Although the quick turn and dash maneuvers will work the majority of the time following these instructions, there is still the occasion that they don't register. Through my experience, it seemed the dash was often a little more specific than the quick turn, but both cooperated in most instances. If you are having difficulty, it's probably because you are performing the action wrong. Especially if you are frustrated, it can be difficult to remember you don't have to flail the Sixaxis around. The Sixaxis is a delicate flower, and banging it around will most likely confuse the sensors rather than make them do what you want. All you need to remember is finesse, and you will tame these flight controls with ease.]
*Targeting, dragon vision, and boss battles.
Here, I'll be more brief, as other, more experienced gamers will probably have better info, so I'll put up what I know, and others can add. Targeting:
- you can hit things without targeting them. The fireballs go kinda far
- when an object is in the center of your screen and in some cases close enough, the target will light up. That is all. IF you choose to take out that target, you can lock onto it by holding the R1 button, and you will remain locked onto it until you let go of the button, the target is eliminated, another dragon rams into you to fight you, or you are killed. - if you can't seem to take down a stationary or slow-moving target and you are flying around very fast, SLOW DOWN. Drive-by flaming is just as accurate as drive-by shootings on some targets. Remember: they are fireballs, so they only kinda act like homing missiles. My brother gave me a tip on how to take out a squadron of Ice Dragons to boost your score and to do quick kills. - To take out a bunch of dragons, after you lock in on the first one and eliminate it, quickly tap R1 (you'll see the white halo around the target) and then hold R1 again to select the next dragon (red halo). Even if the Ice dragon is out of your visual range, your dragon will try to turn to orient itself towards the dragon, so turning towards the target is part automatic, and part manual
- You can also lock-on and dash towards targets like rhinos or generators to get the quick kill or out maneuver arrows before they can target you
-Dragon vision in a nutshell: enemies will be orange-ish and the critical objectives will be reddish. Use it if you don't know what to do or what to look for.
Boss battles are odd because they actually integrate into the story well, so they don't seem like they appear "at the end of the level". Anyways, here's a few quick tips
-If you are having trouble dodging something... if the scene warrants you to go left OR right, move the controller left AND right, and you'll usually dodge whatever is giving you trouble, as one or the other registers quicker than timing a left or right move.
-lock-on is your friend. Your cute friend you want to shag. UPDATE: wear a condom first.
-if things are going on around you that you cannot see what is happening, look around to see what's going on, and if that doesn't help, use your dragon vision. Actually, that applies everywhere when you don't know what's happening.
What to do, what not to do. Look for what's called for, the other stuff you can ignore or go back to at any time. The two examples give spoilers, but I won't give level details as to keep the storyline overall a secret. So look at your own risk of knowing stuff lol!
- Use R3 to see what your objectives are. I can't stress that enough.
- pay attention to cut-scenes. They give vital info on what's what and where.
-Destroy bigger thing or dragons will boost your morale
- Kill captains for a easy boost to morale (the guys on those juicy horses...mmmm, horses!)
1. * SLIGHT Spoiler: there's a scene where you are saving a crowd of people on a hill where ships are shooting at them, dragons are all around, The enemy army is marching on them, and you have land beasts barreling down on them seems like too much, right? Right: but you only have to basically take care of what is closest to them at the time, and most of the time it will be the army and the land beasts. The ships and dragons are too inaccurate in this case to inflict much harm until they are close. Remember: your OBJECTIVE is to save the people, and so only address the threats that are actually harming the people. Most objectives are like that.
2. Another example: You are asked to escort Mantas to a part, and you have to protect them from catapults, but there are other things happening like dragons, ships and what not. Go after the catapults and arrow shooters only, and when the part comes up where the Ice dragons are attacking your troops, attack them, but be brief, and then focus on the catapults. Remember the focus is on the Mantas, but the Ice Dragons are right next to a catapult station, so it's not out of the way nor a task if you just flame up the dragons a bunch and then get right back on your objective. That's the mentality you have to have in this game: it's up to you to figure out what to do, not what you are told to do.
Lair is an honest effort for a PS3 game using not only the cell to the best of Factor 5's ability, but also the Blu-Ray , SIXAXIS, and uncompressed sound.