Developer(s) – Factor 5
Publisher(s) – Sony Computer Entertainment
Director(s) – Julian Eggebrecht & Holger Schmidt
Producer – Brian D. Krueger
Lair was a highly anticipated launch title for the PlayStation 3, and made heavy use of the then-new Sixaxis motion controls, that have since become relatively scarce in many PlayStation games since. People were blown away by the graphics, but were disappointed by the gameplay and controls, and after playing this travesty of a game, it’s no wonder to me why they were.
Graphics – 6/10
The best thing I can say about the visuals is that they did an excellent job of showing off what the PlayStation 3 was capable of in its early stages, and the attention to detail was quite overwhelming at the time. However, on a conceptual level, there is next to nothing differentiating it from other games or forms of media set in a medieval fantasy world; much less so than Dragon Age: Inquisition, and even less so than other obscure games of today.
Gameplay – 4/10
The gameplay basically revolves around riding a dragon and killing as many surrounding people as possible in a series of stages throughout the game. In a medieval fantasy game, most gamers would most probably expect at least some hint of an RPG element, but this game doesn’t even have that, disappointingly. The developers were going for a more unique approach to gameplay, as they tried to outline to other video game bloggers who had given it bad reviews by sending them a 21-page booklet with things like artwork and background story, but they were not convinced, and neither would I be.
Controls – 3/10
Since the developers were making use of a very new control scheme, this game was always going to be a question of trial and error, and frankly, playing this game is like pulling teeth; it’s uncomfortable, and no one should ever have to go through it. They are extremely stiff, and hinder gameplay in such a way that makes this game almost unplayable.
Lifespan – 5/10
Like many other mainstream releases to have found their way on the PlayStation 3, and throughout the seventh generation in general, Lair will last just under 10 hours, which is particularly underwhelming. As with most other aspects of this game, this says to me that the developers should have spent more time trying to get the fundamentals right and make a half decent game as opposed to going out of their way to try and convince critics that it was a good game, and failing miserably.
Storyline – 2/10
The game’s story is also extremely reminiscent of most plots associated with the medieval fantasy genre, and consequently, there isn’t much present to differentiate the game from other overall. It follows the adventures of a dragon rider called Rohn, as he seeks to restore peace to a world divided by two opposing people; the Mokai and the Asylians. I’ve seen this type of plot in The Lord of the Rings and Warcraft, back when they were original to me, but I fail to understand how the developers could even fill an art book with 21 pages to send to critics at all.
Originality – 2/10
The only thing separating this game from others is the fact that it was one of the first to make use of the PlayStation 3’s Sixaxis controls, which went to feature in very few games since; only being effectively used in the likes of Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction, God of War III and Heavenly Sword. Some critics would also argue that this fact could make the game unique for the wrong reasons, since the game’s control scheme is most probably the worst aspect of it.
In summation, Lair is a shining example of how not to develop a launch title; it isn’t enjoyable in the least bit, and has next to no artistic merit attached to it. I just hope now that I don’t get a 21-page booklet through my door trying to tell me otherwise.