Lair (video game)

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Lair
Lair front.jpg
Developer(s) Factor 5
Publisher(s) Sony Computer Entertainment America
Platform(s) PlayStation 3
Release date(s)
  • NA August 31, 2007
  • JP October 11, 2007
  • AUS November 15, 2007
  • EU November 23, 2007
Genre(s) Action
Mode(s) Single-player
Distribution BD-ROM

Lair is a 2007 fantasy action flight video game developed by Factor 5 and published by Sony Computer Entertainment America.

Gameplay[edit]

The player assumes the role of a dragon-riding knight named Rohn Partridge. Rohn is given the tasks of defending a certain area, destroying certain objects, eliminating enemies or creatures, and other mission-based objectives. After each stage, the player can earn either gold, silver, or bronze medals, depending on performance during the level. A platinum medal is also available, though unlike the other three its requirements are hidden. Earning medals assists in unlocking combos and behind-the-scenes videos.

Most of the game's battles are air-based combat, with some fought on the ground by landing the dragon and fighting troops and other land-based creatures. In some locations, the game features a morale system tied to the enemy; the lower an enemy's morale, the less he will fight, and it is possible that he will retreat from combat.

The game relies heavily on the PlayStation 3's Sixaxis motion controls. The player flies the dragon by tilting the controller, with additional moves also using motion sensing; one such example is fighting a dragon by tilting the controller to match the enemy dragon's flying height, and then slamming the controller left or right to knock the dragon sideways and out of the battle.

Plot[edit]

Lair takes place in a world threatened by numerous emerging volcanoes, causing much of the land to be destroyed and the air to be polluted. As a result, people native to the world divided themselves into two kingdoms: the Mokai, whose lands are arid and depleted of resources, and the seemingly noble Asylians, who live in one of the last remaining bountiful, green areas. Desperate to gain the Asylians' land, the Mokai attack the Asylians from the rear. The spiritual leader of the Asylians, the Diviner, preaches that the Mokai are pagans and savages, defying abominations to the will of God, but the Mokai are truly a misunderstood people, hanging on to survival and only attacked the Asylians out of desperation for food (their attacks focused on their graineries).

The game mainly revolves around the pursuits of Rohn, one of the Burners (dragon-riders) Sky Guards (the air force-based military). At first Rohn adopts the feeling of hatred towards the Mokai the Asylians have but over the course of the story begins to have more sympathy towards this misunderstood people.

The leader of the Mokai, General Atta-Kai, approaches the Guardians of Asylia (three individuals with ruling power in Asylia) in peace to ensure the survival of both people. The Diviner, in an act to maintain his power over his people, has Loden, one of the Asylia's Sky Guards assassinate Atta-Kai, one of the guardians and the Sky Guard Captain, Talan, prolonging the war between the two people and capturing Atta-Kai's Blood Dragon in the process. After witnessing the assassinations of both Atta-Kai and Captain Talan, Rohn begins having second thoughts about Asylia's attitude towards the Mokai and releases Atta-Kai's dragon from Loden, thus putting Rohn on thin ice with Loden, the new captain of the Sky Guards.

Loden leads a massive air strike on the Mokai City, bombing the city and attacking what Loden thought to be an armory, but was actually a temple where the women and children had sheltered themselves from the attacks. Rohn is devastated when he discovers the victims and defies Loden, who declares Rohn an enemy of Asylia and delivers near fatal blows to both Rohn and Rohn's Plains Dragon. Rohn's dragon, in an attempt to save Rohn's life, carries him into a desert in Mokai territory but dies in the process from the wound Loden delivered.

Rohn soon reunites with Atta-Kai's Blood Dragon, who adopts Rohn as its new rider. While searching the desert for water, Rohn and the dragon discover the elder of the Mokai, Ren-Kai, under attack from a Spider Wasp, which the two slay. Ren reveals that some of the Mokai managed to survive the bombings and are hiding out in the desert and Rohn helps protect them from Asylian attacks. Ren, knowing that the Mokai people need a new leader, asks Rohn to rescue General Atta-Kai's son, Koba-Kai, who is imprisoned in Asylia. Both Rohn and Koba-Kai defend the Mokai people from further attacks and acquire a small fleet of Asylian ships. The Mokai launch an attack on the Asylians and reclaim Mokai City. After the battle a group of Asylian Burners arrive and submit themselves to the Mokai. Among them is Jevin, Rohn's best friend, who informs Rohn that the remaining two Guardians were executed by the Diviner and that some of the Sky Guard had defected from the Diviner's rule over Asylia and were imprisoned in the Maelstrom (an Asylian prison situated within a dimensional vortex).

Knowing they would need reinforcements, Rohn and Koba-Kai lead an attack on the Maelstrom to free the Burners imprisoned there. During the rescue Rohn battles Loden, who rides a powerful species of gorilla-like dragon called the Bull Dragon. Loden attempts to kill the fleeing prisoners by flinging enormous boulders from the Maelstrom's gravitational pull onto the prison but Rohn intervenes and kills Loden and succeeds in rescuing the imprisoned burners. The combined forces of Mokai and defected Burners charges towards Asylia, battle the Diviner's forces, prevent the volcanoes from erupting and kill the Diviner. During the battle Koba-Kai is shot down by the Diviner's forces. After the battle Rohn finds him and Koba-Kai comments on how beautiful the sunsets in Asylia are, Rohn goes on to say that the new world that the Asylians and Mokai were to build together would never be the same, to which Koba-Kai replied "Let us hope not," before dying. Rohn asks Atta-Kai's Blood Dragon to carry Koba-Kai's body home, afterwards Ren approaches Rohn and tells him that his people are waiting.

Characters[edit]

Asylia: is one of the two peoples in the game, the Asylians settled in the green plains to the south after the division of the two people. They are a highly advanced, religious and prosperous people.

  • Rohn: The main protagonist of the game, Rohn has a strong sense of justice. At first he shares the hatred for the Mokai the Asylians share but his feelings begin to change when he sees that the situation the Mokai are in, even to the point where he joins them when he is branded an enemy of Asylia. Rohn at first flew a Plains Dragon, normal among the Sky Guard Burners, which is killed by Loden. He later rides General Atta-Kai's Blood Dragon, whom Rohn had freed when he saw Loden torturing it. Rohn is voiced by Robin Atkin Downes.
  • Loden: One of the main antagonists of the game. Loden and Rohn used to be friends and shared the same ideals, however Loden is proven to be ruthless and merciless towards the Mokai people and adopted the Diviner's ideals. Near the end of the game, he rides a Bull Dragon into battle. Loden is voiced by Robert Clotworthy.
  • The Diviner: The religious leader of the Asylians and one of the two main antagonists. The Diviner regards the Mokai as mere savages and pagans whose sinful ways defy the will of God and have brought about the eruption of the volcanoes. The Diviner is voiced by Carlos Alazraqui.
  • The Guardians: The true ruling powers of Asylia, the Guardians wish to find a more peaceful approach to the war with the Mokai. One of the Guardians is assassinated by Loden, who blamed the death on General Atta-Kai. The other two are executed by the Diviner later on in the game. The Guardians are voiced by Peter Reneday, Jane Singer and Neil Dickson.
  • Captain Talan: The former captain of the Sky Guards. Talan was a much respected leader and shared the Guardians' peaceful approach to the war, although he still fought to defend his people. He is assassinated by Loden, who takes his place as the Captain of the Sky Guard. Talan is voiced by Dorian Harewood.
  • Jevin: Another Burner of the Sky Guard and Rohn's best friend. Jevin is voiced by Raphael Sbarge.

Mokai: The Mokai are the other group of people in the game. The Mokai dwell in the barren lands to the North, They specialize in steam-powered technology, however they live in an inhospitable environment and are starving to death. The Mokai attack Asylia out of desperation for food.

  • General Atta-Kai: The former leader of the Mokai that rides a Blood Dragon. His striker has seen generations of bloodshed between the Mokai and the Asylians and he lost his left arm in battle. Atta-Kai is the first to suggest a peaceful solution to the war, but is assassinated by Loden. After Atta-Kai's death, the Diviner captured Atta-Kai's dragon as trophy, which is freed and later ridden by Rohn. Atta-Kai is voiced by Fred Tatasciore.
  • Koba-Kai: Atta-Kai's son. Koba-Kai, unlike his father, is brash and not quite as mature. He is imprisoned after the battle on the Bridge but is freed by Rohn and leads the Mokai people in his father's stead. He rides a Flame Dragon. Koba-Kai is voiced by Crispin Freeman.
  • Ren-Kai: The elder of the Mokai people, Ren lead her people to safety during the bombing of the Mokai City and is later rescued by Rohn from a Spider Wasp. Ren adopts Rohn into the Mokai's society and advises him to rescue Koba-Kai. She is the narrator when selecting a level. Ren-Kai is voiced by Jane Singer.

Development[edit]

Lair was the first PlayStation 3 title to be fully playable via the Remote Play function, allowing it to be accessed through the Internet on a PlayStation Portable.[1] Initially the game was not fully playable, as motion sensor controls are not available on PSP. The machine lacks L2 and R2 buttons and a right analog stick, which are necessary to pass certain levels. With recent firmware updates, the dragon may be controlled with the analog nub and buttons can be assigned on the PSP to act as L2 and R2, rendering Lair fully playable.[2]

On April 15, 2008 an update was released on the PlayStation Network, adding analog stick support, extra playable dragons, and rumble support for the DualShock 3 controller. The game now uses the directional pad for actions such as the 180 degree turn and the "dash forward" ability.

An English-language demo for Lair was made available to Asian markets only, excluding Japan, in April, 2008.[3][4] Even though the Lair Trial Version includes the gameplay patch it is not compatible with the Remote Play function.

Soundtrack[edit]

John Debney was hired to write the soundtrack for Lair. While Debney has had experience writing music for epics, Lair was the first video game soundtrack that he wrote. Some feel that it matched the intensity of his work in Cutthroat Island.

The score was performed with a 90-piece orchestra at Abbey Road Studios in London.

Lair's soundtrack received critical acclaim, with some calling it "one of the strongest of video game scores." A review on Tracksounds gave the soundtrack a score of 10/10, the highest possible score.[5] ScoreNotes.com also reviewed the soundtrack and gave it a full score.

Several critics also compared the tracks to some of the works in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace by John Williams.[6]

Debney stated that he was interested in writing music for a video game after seeing the work in Medal of Honor by Michael Giacchino.[7]

The score was released as a limited edition 2 CD-set on April 8, 2014 by La-La Land Records.[8]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 55.63%[9]
Metacritic 53/100[10]
Review scores
Publication Score
1UP.com C+[12]
Edge 3/10[16]
GameSpot 4.5/10[14]
IGN 4.9/10[13]
Play Magazine 5.2/10[10]
PlayStation Magazine 5/10[15]

During development, Lair gained attention due to its graphical presentation and developer Factor 5's reputation. However, upon release, it was seen as a critical and commercial failure. Reviews were mixed and skewed towards negative ratings, with an average score of 55.63% on Game Rankings[9] and 53/100 on Metacritic.[10] Although it has been praised for its graphics, artwork, art direction, soundtrack, and sound quality, it has been heavily criticized for its control scheme; the game was #8 on GT's Top Ten Most Disappointing Games of the Decade.

Sony (the game's publisher) attracted criticism from video game blogs by mailing review websites a "Lair Reviewer's Guide" following negative reviews of the game.[18] It is common practice to post a fact sheet with review copies of a game, but this guide was mailed separately, and after negative reviews of the game had been published by the website. As well as providing a 21-page booklet containing artwork, background story, and six pages of instructions regarding the game's control system, the booklet invited reviewers to "Open your mind and hands for something very different."[19]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]