Enter the dragon.
Jaded smirks firmly in place, we recently went to the Sony Gamer’s Day in San Francisco to check out games, mixed drinks, movies and most of all, the Sony Playstation 3. The event was held in what looked like the hull of a ship, weird watery effects included, and the cargo was exactly what we expected. But for all the news and details about Talladega Nights, 1080p, and “Riiiidge Racers”, we all know that games are the wind in Sony’s sails (and sales), and no wind looked mightier than the torrents of flame shooting from the gaping maws of Lair’s gigantic, flying dragons.
That’s right, flying, fire spitting dragons that can hurl themselves through the air, or land and rampage over little human bodies like stepping stones in a pond of blood. And you get to control one of these as a nifty little dragon-riding knight wrapped in metal, all with the weird tilt controls of Sony’s playable palindrome, the Sixaxis controller.
You can aim your soaring dragon towards its tasty foes by tilting the Sixaxis in different directions, make it flap its wings for extra speed at the touch of a button, or make it dive through the air like a peregrine falcon by thrusting the controller forward. You can also pull up, as though with reins, and your scaled steed will quickly spin around. It’s easy to pick up, surprisingly responsive, and most importantly, it’s the means by which you fly around on a big ass, fire-breathing reptile with a taste for charbroiled people.
You’ll get in literal fire fights with other dragon riders, searing their mounts with napalm breath, and you’ll get into dragon fistfights
with others. After ramming into a particularly large dragon, the camera zooms into what can only be described as a Punch-Out perspective, as your dragon socks, kicks and bites its opponent. Instead of throwing haymakers to finish, you might grab the enemy rider from his saddle, flip him into the air, then knock him miles out into the ocean with a thwack of your mighty tail.
But why slay one knight, when you can maul dozens at a time? Simply land on the battlefield to charge through enemy ranks, snort fire in wicked faces, chomp on breast plates to crush the organs within, and rake entire squads of men to ribbons with your lethal, obsidian claws. We only played for fifteen minutes, but Lair is already shaping up to be one of the best “Bad Day” games of the next generation.
It’ll be a few days, though, before Lair reaches stores. Scheduled for a Spring 2007 launch, Sony is incubating this beast in the hopes that when it hatches, it will go claw-to-toe with its rivals before biting, shaking, and launching them off the sales charts.