previews\ May 16, 2007 at 8:00 pm

Lair - PS3 - Preview 2

Of the games on Sony’s upcoming line-up, on game that has had people most excited has been Lair. Developed by Factor 5, the crew behind the great Rogue Squadron games that lit up Nintendo’s systems the past two generations, Lair is a dragon-flight game that rekindles memories of the Panzer Dragoon and StarFox series as well as the aforementioned Rogue Squadron games. You tear around on the back of a dragon, fighting to protect your city and destroy your enemies, who have access to a plethora of medieval themed vehicles, like flying Manta Rays (that look more like barracudas than actual Mantas). Lair is turning out to be worthy of the excitement, and should be a great title for the PS3’s line-up.

The demo at Sony’s recent Gamer’s Day event was a one stage demo that was divided into a few different missions. Missions are laid out fairly simply, and you have an arrow to find your targets to make it easier. We began by destroying catapults that lined the country side, and then we had to protect a rice caravan as it was transported behind our city gates. The last part was an all-out assault on our fortress, where we had to level the enemy’s troops and destroy their trebuchets before they could breach us.

The game will make full use of the SIXAXIS’s tilt sensitivity, which I’m sure everyone knows by now. However, it does feel very intuitive and not unwieldy at all like many games on the PS3 that try to take advantage of it in some slapdash way. After a few minutes, you’ll feel like a natural.

While you do fight in the air for most of the game, you can land on the ground to take out troops by tapping the R2 and L2 buttons at the same time while you’re close to the ground. You can either shoot your fireballs at the ground troops or shake the controller to perform a wing-stomp move that knocks out a couple dozen enemies. You can also lock onto your enemies with the L1 and R1 buttons, making them much easier to pick off from the skies.

While fighting, you can gain a special meter that will let you enter a special dragon-rage mode that slows everything down to bullet-time (or dragon-time in this case), allowing you to pick off enemies quicker and easier. You can also engage in close combat with opposing dragons, slashing, clawing and biting them until they hit the ground.

Lair is proving to be a fun and engaging experience, and the game looks amazing as well. The texture mapping on the dragons is insane, and the detailed environments easily rival anything the Unreal Engine 3 has been capable of putting out. Look for Lair to hit later this Summer.

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