Friday, August 31, 2007

LAIR


Developer: Factor 5
Publisher: SCEA
Release Date: Sept. 4, 2007
System: PS3
ESRB Rating: T
Official Web Site

In a nutshell: So You Want to be a Dragon?

0:01 Man that THX logo movie is funny. A Dragon drops some water on the Factor 5 logo.
0:02 The world's most generic fantasy movie music plays over the menu screen. Lots of trumpets, violins and timpani.
0:04 "No one knows how long the ancients have lived before the divide." But volcanoes divided the people who had been united by one faith. The volcanoes unleashed fear in the form of dragons. Snappy writing and delivery. Seriously!
0:06 Whoever controlled the skies had dominion over the land." Beautiful vistas and water in these cut scenes.
0:08 The tilt controls for flight are a little floaty. Also, the dragons seem to fly very slow. Flapping helps a little, but where's the dash button.
0:10 Someone is giving a speech about the evil guys. Boooring. Suddenly, the walls crack and it's off to battle! All right! The dragons look a lot better in the cut scenes. In fact, everything does. "Bring your blades back dull." So I brought this blade sharpener for nothing?
0:11 I'm not flying for five seconds before a cut scene shows my character taking out a catapult. Er, couldn't I have done that myself? Oh, probably not, because I don't know how to breath fire.
0:13 Back in control. Turns out the square buttons breathes fire. I take out the first ship easily. They blow up real nice. But there's no challenge or urgency, at least not yet. Just hovering and blasting flame breath at the ships.
0:17 Now there's ice dragons. There's a lot going on above the city, and the system stutters a bit trying to render it all.
0:18 "I can't keep track of the dragons. They're everywhere," one of my companions said. You're telling me! It's nearly impossible to tell good guys from bad, so I just launch fire in all directions. It's hard to aim, but remarkably easy to hit -- probably some sort of auto-aim correction being used on my shots.
0:19 People are blathering on about the mills being on fire. I DON'T CARE. I can't do anything about it. Save it for the post-game cut scenes!
0:22 OK, I'm into some one-on-one fighting now, floating wing to wing with a Mokai general or something. But I have no idea what I'm doing. I can move around, but I can't seem to strike. Braking and setting his wings on fire doesn't have much effect.
0:28 After a lot of trial and error, I still can't figure out what to do. My lunge attacks from behind seem to just bounce off, and fire has no effect (on the ice dragon... go fig).
0:36 Holy crap. Apparently I'm supposed to lunge the controller left and right to attack. I tried this 10 minutes ago, but it didn't seem to register. YOu have to REALLY shove the controller to the side to make it work. Ugh. If they explained this on-screen I totally missed it.
0:37 I get the feeling the people behind this game wanted to make a movie. The environments are absolutely stunning and the cut scenes are very well produced and written. If only the gameplay were more interesting.
0:44 This is a bit unfair. My dragon rips through a group of 80 enemy troops like they weren't even there. I mean, it's fun seeing them bowled over, but there's no real challenge or engagement to it. It's not even close.
0:47 Major annoyance: The arrow that points my way is a perfect equilateral triangle, meaning it's very hard to tell which ways it's pointing. I can't tell if I'm coming or going. Without the arrow I have a hard time making out where I'm supposed to go in the over-detailed environs.
0:49 I know dragons are known for flying, but these guys handle like tanks on the ground. The camera is painfully bad during the melee combat as well. Also, while walking around, I get hit for what I believe might be the first time so far in the game.
0:50 The camera just got stuck IN THE GROUND during some ground attacks. Sigh.
0:51 My wingman, upon taking down a dragon: "That dragon is history." YES THANK YOU FOR THAT VERY INSIGHTFUL OBSERVATION!
0:53 You know what this game needs? A radar. Also: Thank god for lock-on. I'd never be able to aim well enough without it. With it, this is way too easy.
0:55 "Take out those trebuchet before they take down the walls. Without it, the armies could march on the city." You mean the walls protect the city? Do tell!
0:58 Taking out the trebuchet is much harder than it needs to be, mainly because I'm struggling with the controls. It's also a bit hard to see what's going on. But I manage with more hovering and launching of fireballs. Reminds me of the first mission... hmmm...

Would I play this game for more than an hour? Probably not.
Why? While I'd like to see the rest of the cut scenes, slow repetitive gameplay and unresponsive controls make me reluctant to work for it.

This review based on a retail copy provided by Sony.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

AAA read, would read again.

FUNNYMAN said...

I agree with you 100 %. The cutscenes are great, but that is about it.

Anonymous said...

This game is...epic.