Friday, January 24, 2014

Lair: Hardest game I've played in a LONG While

I will honestly say Lair is one of the reasons I bought a PS3 in the first place.  Yeah there's people out there that just read that first sentence and made awkward faces. Then probably say something like, "You're trolling me right?"
The answer is no.  Reason I wanted Lair so badly. How many games can you think of where your flying on dragons destroying everything?  I can't think of many. Anyway this game is rather amazing to me. Hard as hell but amazing. People say otherwise with only a few facts.

1. After this game was released Factor 5 went bankrupt and disbanded.
2. The controls (pre-patch) were wonky.

It took me quite awhile to get a Six-Axis controller to play this game.  I tried playing with my wired controller and noticed I couldn't move.  I went and bought a cheap 3rd party knockoff Six-Axis and found that one screws up instantly (not buying from Hong Kong in terms of controllers again).  So I had to find an actual Six-Axis controller from Sony.  I went and asked everywhere on forums and got replys in forms of no answer and "are you stupid."  Found one for cheap. And immediately jumped into this game.


The story honestly is rather engaging. You get just enough cutscene to where you want to complete it to find out what happens.  While it does have the trope of a Super Pope dude says this and everyone jumps off a bridge for him except you. Its rather acceptable.  I'm near the end of the game now and the climax of the story felt like the movies.  While I can probably guess the ending. I still wanna see the end to this.


480p or 1080p the game looks great.  My issue is the in-game camera at times.  Doing certain moves like tossing the enemy miles away into mountains or oceans the camera will decide to focus on the enemy flying away like a rag doll. Or if I try to circle strafe a building and there's a wall in the way, instead of the game doing a transparent see through wall. I'll just see the wall. I do wish the graphics didn't have to look so realistic in terms of targeting enemies. I'll get into that later. Overall while graphics isn't something I look for they are pretty great.  More importantly the dragons look great.


Apparently long before I got this game. Around when this was first released. There was no patch to edit the controls.  So I have no idea what that was like.  For me I will say the controls are a bit confusing and easily forgettable.  Its not that every button does something different. Its more that sometimes your mind and the game go on auto-pilot and end up doing 2 different things.  There's times where I just want to circle strafe a target and the game will instead target something much weaker for a different attack.  While certain targets get automatically attacked (certain ground units). You still need to first target them and that can get rather unreliable at times.  You may target something completely different or be forced to turn your attention elsewhere due to being attacked or your troops are dying.  The game also has combos but you're only told the combo input once you unlock it. There's no where to look these up except maybe an official guide.

 Making rather full use of the Six-Axis is how I turn or fly it can be rather disorienting at times since I have to make sure I'm holding the controller in the right position so not to fly in some off beat direction.  What's awkward about this is that you can use the left stick to turn not only the camera but yourself as well.  Even more awkward and unneeded is to do a 180 turn you shake your Controller like you would the reigns of a horse but that has also been mapped to the d-pad button.  There are times where you need to turn your controller to dodge attacks but you won't really need it till late game.  I will say that the worse of it is the QTEs. While random buttons, and stick motions are fine there's times where you need to shake the controller a certain way or die.  Shaking it up and down like I would do Sonic & and the Secret Rings on the Wii Mote. Shaking it sideways (left to right) is problematic.  Especially with the time given to complete the action.  I can really do without these RE style QTEs for this game. Controls still need work but the patch apparently eliminated more problems than what there was.

I can adjust to the controls just gotta remember to play more often so I don't forget them.


The Controls do hinder the gameplay a bit.  But the difficulty spikes quite drastically even in the same level.  My main issue is distinguishing friend and foe.  The only 2 things I have to go on is if my Crosshair goes red or if the enemy starts shooting.  You can quickly go from victory to defeat in a heartbeat due to objectives. Protect missions being the worse.  You find that your allies are completely helpless without you.  Also if you don't complete certain objectives quickly you may find that your army is wiped out and lose. The ranking system is also harsh as well. Dying once, taking even a second too long, not killing enough enemies, You're not getting a medal for that stage.  Thankfully the patch that was released also came with 2 extra dragons to play with that have more power, defense, or speed.  That made things a little easier.  Still the game is rather unforgiving and can get frustrating if you don't move it.


Overall I'm glad I got to play this game.  I haven't played much that has me flying on dragons since Drakengard.  I know this game received a lot of bad reviews but I feel this game did alright.  There's things that need to be worked on but shame there won't be many more games like it in the making.