The current Playstation 3 line-up from launch into next year has a wide variety of titles, but most of them are in pretty stock genres – racing sims, first person shooters, 3D action games, and so on. Lair is something like a dragon flight sim. It’s easily comparable to Warhawk (which seems to have drifted off course), except instead of a helicopter, you’re a giant fire breathing lizard. Lair is brought to you by Factor 5, the European guys who previously worked on Nintendo’s Rogue Squadron series, but they’ve since moved to the Playstation 3 after being unimpressed by the Wii.
At the Sony Gamer’s Day 2006 conference, they were certainly pretty impressed by the Sixaxis controller. While you can still control everything via the analog sticks, the big feature is the ability to pilot your dragon by moving the controller around, simulating a flight stick. Unfortunately, they’ve really got a few kinks to work out. The dragon is slow to respond, and the movement is a bit touchy, so your dragon turns wide when you meant to just make a tiny adjustment. Also, while Lair looks gorgeous in screenshots, it looks a lot worse in motion. Right now we’re talking some really unacceptable frame rates, which makes the movement even more awkward.
Unlike Panzer Dragoon, you’re not on rails in Lair, and you’re given specific objectives to follow. In the demo, you need to wipe out some smaller dragons by shooting fire at them, and conquer some bigger foes by ramming into them and engaging in melee combat. Killing these suckers requires some mostly mindless button mashing, but it is quite awesome to hop on your opponent’s back, knock off the pilot, leap into the air and land on the back of your dragon. You can also land on solid ground and stomp all over hapless human foes. There’s a Dynasty Warriors-esque morale bar at the top of the screen so you can see how your army is doing. Lair definitely needs some work, but it’s a lot more ambitious than many other next-gen titles, which is definitely a good thing.