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PlayStation (Games)

Sony Dismisses Critics of Lair 55

Despite some very public, very negative criticism of Factor 5's dragon/shooter Lair, Next Generation notes that Sony remains unfazed. "Outgoing SCEA PR boss Dave Karraker told Next-Gen in a phone interview that despite poor critical reception, the flying lizard game isn't necessarily grounded. 'At the end of the day, I'll be interested in the consumers' response, because the consumer awareness for this title was so huge.'" Meanwhile, MTV's Stephen Totilo notes, with more than a touch of seriousness, that Lairs production may have been a touch cursed.
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Sony Dismisses Critics of Lair

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  • by Debello ( 1030486 ) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @12:31AM (#20517841)
    From the article:

    "That was the start of one catastrophe after the other -- deaths in the family at the worst time [and] sudden surgeries for key members, which bounced the technology off-track. And just in general, every single time there was a crucial delivery, something bizarre went wrong -- all the way to power outages when writing the master disks."
    Not to mention art directors eaten by dragons!
  • by amrust ( 686727 ) <> on Saturday September 08, 2007 @12:33AM (#20517849) Homepage
    I don't care how they try to smooth things over in the press... just rent the game. Anyone can quickly see that creature moves about as gracefully as a drunk uncle.

    Buy it? You'll be pissed you even blew a rental fee.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by deep_creek ( 1001191 )
      Yes indeed. a fellow complained about it at work today. The control of the lizard is like a drunk uncle or more likely perhaps to turn the poor chap into a drunk uncle. Frustrating as hell he said trying to steer the dang thing. He said the graphics were great but reminded him more of a bunch of cut-scenes put together to make you think you were playing. I mentioned the old game Dragon's Lair, and he said, "Yes, exactly like that".
    • by TikiTDO ( 759782 ) <> on Saturday September 08, 2007 @01:26AM (#20518103)
      I actually found Lair to be pretty decent once I got into it. Then I first got the game I was spitting an swearing with the best of them. The dragon would always go in the wrong directions, the dash and flip commands did not work, and it was a generally bad experience. After this I put the controller down for a few days and left it alone. Somewhat later, out of boredom, I picked it up again and I found to my surprise that the controls felt a lot smoother. No longer was I being pushed in random directions, and now I could get the special commands working most of the time. Finally, just last night I sat down to play yet again and it was honestly quite fun. I really got the hang of figuring out what I need to do, and started to get truly sucked into the story. I think enough has been said about the graphics, which are quite impressive, though not nearly enough has been said about the sound and music which are both far beyond what you are used to from such games.

      The general impression I got was one echoed by the guy at the store. It's a tech demo disguised as a game. It did a pretty good job introducing some new concepts (For the PS3 at least) and stood well enough on its own. Later on I'm sure there will be games with a similar control scheme, and they want people to get used to it. That said it wasn't a horrible experience some are playing it up to be. I do wonder if these people even bothered to get the game before opening up their cans of napalm, or if they just read the IGN review and took it as the word of god.
      • "I actually found Lair to be pretty decent once I got into it."

        After god of war and god of war 2, any game is hard to get into... even when I was playing Zelda Twilight princess, I wsa thinking to myself "too bad the god of war team didn't have a hand in making Zelda TP's combat system" heh. :)
      • I had no problems with the controls from the start -- going through the training really helps though, and (as posted earlier), realizing its a dragon and not a jet fighter.

        The dragon moves exactly as my controller does, pitching and diving and turning with grace unless I tried to drive it into a wall.

        And yes, the graphics are incredible -- the dynamic mesh system is impressive (increasing resolution as you get closer to important objects) as well as the incredible score (music) and pretty good sound effects
    • Seriously. Factor 5 did a real good job with that, and at this point you could buy a Used Gamecube and Rogue Squadron II (It was a launch title) for $60.
  • by wamerocity ( 1106155 ) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @12:41AM (#20517885) Journal
    I'm still waiting to see some post 1.92 firmware reviews that were supposed to have addressed the awful motion controls. Yes, the company is to blame for releasing the game with poor controls, but since the 1.92, I've heard some 'reports' that the controls were better. Any slashdotter with pre- and post- 1.92 firmware care to comment?
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I've only played Lair post 1.92 patch, but what i can say is that the game is amazing. I played to 3 AM last night, and i don't think that using the analog controls to control the dragon would be even close to the feel that the motion sensing gives you. This is the most realistic dragon sim ever :) (of course if we can think of dragons as a real entities :) )
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Knuckles ( 8964 )
      Any slashdotter with pre- and post- 1.92 firmware care to comment?

      It may be that the post [] that is currently directly above yours might unwittingly describe the difference.
    • by MBCook ( 132727 )
      I've heard that 1.92 makes all the difference [].
    • by PeelBoy ( 34769 )
      IMO the controls seem fine..It's just a tad slow response I suppose..

      The main problem with the game is that it's just plain fucking boring.

      No amount of changes to fix the controls will change that fact.

      This game is definitely a rental.
  • As of right now, the link points to the Metroid Prime 3 comic rather than the lair comic. This took me a while to figure out what was going on.

    I eventually found a review site at [] - it states clearly why the reviewer doesn't like the game. While the user reviews are slightly higher, it doesn't change the fact that the game wasn't that well received (with the people who voted.)
  • by Solra Bizna ( 716281 ) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @01:13AM (#20518045) Homepage Journal

    I beat it the other day.


    • The controls are mostly intuitive and fluid.
    • The graphics are beautiful, especially in the cinematics.
    • Dragons! (You don't see them very often in games, at least not controlled by the player.)
    • Fairly hard. (Most games I pick up and breeze through, Lair actually got my juices flowing.)


    • The game tends to mistake a dash for a flip and a flip for a dash at just the wrong times.
    • LAG. LOTS of it on the later levels. Though it seems to be independent of resolution.
    • Minor plot inconsistencies and deus ex machina.
    • No offline multiplayer.
    • Gatling fireball makes boss fights too easy. (You can shoot fireballs as fast as you can mash the button. For me, that's fast enough to trigger Metal Gear Solid's autofire detection.)
    • Final boss fight made no sense. ("A volcano's erupting! Let's drop firebombs on it!")

    Some people have complained about the delay between the controls and the dragon, but that felt natural to me. (How responsive would a real dragon be to being whacked on the head with a blunt object?)

    Overall, I liked the game. But I didn't have to pay for it, since I borrowed a friend's PS3 and copy of Lair. :3


    • by Dachannien ( 617929 ) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @02:52AM (#20518539)
      How responsive would a real dragon be to being whacked on the head with a blunt object?

      Seems to me you'd only get one chance to find out.
    • I haven't played Lair, nor do I own a PS3. I have read quite a few reviews of Lair however, and most of them have a big problem with the controls. Then I see people apologizing for the controls, saying things like "How responsive would a real dragon be?", etc. My response to that is: are you looking for "realistic dragon physics" in a game, or would you like it to control well and be fun? I'll take fun over realism...especially in a freaking game about dragons. If the controls take away from the fun, who ca
      • The controls are extremely intuitive and excellent considering its a dragon and not a jet. I've had people complain the dragon doesn't fly like a jet. Of course it doesn't, its a dragon. If you treat it like a dragon, it responds appropriately to your expectations.

        PS, the game is really quite hard -- very fun, decent plot, excellent dialog and most breathtakingly huge battles I've been in in a game before. The game dynamics (mission-based interactive movie) are actually very good, but I still miss conse
    • You didn't buy it... You're hardly a consumer. You're just someone who got to enjoy the entertainment for free.

      Pay $560 for the system and the game and see if you still like it.

  • by aldheorte ( 162967 ) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @01:29AM (#20518115)
    'At the end of the day, I'll be interested in the consumers' response, because the consumer awareness for this title was so huge.'


    "We knew the game sucked, but we marketed the hell out of it anyway so that suckers who don't read reviews will buy it just on the hype and then not be able to return it given the usual return policies. I'm interested to see just how many suckers we netted when the sales figures come in."

    They do this with movies that are absolute bombs by not screening them for critics before release weekend, hoping to get a good opening weekend from the pre-release marketing knowing full well the movie is terrible and once critics review it and word of mouth spreads, no one will watch it. It's a marketing scam intended to catch out initial viewers/buyers who have little information to go on.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by QMalcolm ( 1094433 )
      Sometimes you don't even need to hide the fact the game is terrible. Enter the Matrix sold really well despite terrible reviews and bad word of mouth.
    • by Aceticon ( 140883 ) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @07:25AM (#20519593)
      I hereby want to thank any and all early adopters, early buyers and opening week movie-goers!

      It's you guys with your inability to delay self-rewarding and your industry-promoted belief that being the first to get something is cool, that really test out the waters for everybody else, thus saving the savy consumers that follow you millions and millions of dollars.

      You guys really are the backbone of society upon which everybody else's success stands: you are out there, bending over and taking it again and again from the industry, shoddy products, overhyped releases, buggy software and all kinds of crap products and services, serving as the shinning beacon of light that guides all others away from a good reaming.

      In the name of all of us, who thanks to your pioneering work have avoided unmeasurable pain in their behinds, I salute you!
      • Though one can equally argue that if these people didn't exist all entertainment would have to sell itself by word of mouth, ergo the crap they protect us from would rarely get made.

  • unfazed? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gcnaddict ( 841664 ) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @02:31AM (#20518439)

    "Sony remains unfazed."
    Unfazed my ass! They spammed the reviewers with reviewer's guides []! They seem pretty desperate to buy back the good votes of the reviewers.
  • Dirty little secret (Score:3, Interesting)

    by king-manic ( 409855 ) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @04:15AM (#20518891)
    Bad games sell well!

    Most movie tie ins do pretty well. So a crappy next gen thats over marketed should do as well as a good game that has a lot of word of mouth.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by G Fab ( 1142219 )
      Halo is a great example of that phenomenon.

      So is Warhawk. I cannot stand that shoddy game. The gameplay is ok, but the weapons are boring, there is very little variety, and the server issues have been legion.

      I love Lair. It's gorgeous, innovative, and fun. It's a but tough to get used to, but it's an awesome game that I think is far more interesting than Gears of War or Halo or Resistance.

      If you were flying a dragon, you would not find a little analog stick coming out of its asshole for you to manipulat
  • Casual review then? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ThePhilips ( 752041 )

    Probably somebody had to start a gaming site dedicated to casual gaming and casual reviews.

    For example me, after gaming on PC for more that 15+ year, see most console games as total suckers. And mostly they are - thankfully to terrible game utility (e.g. no save/load functionality), overloaded controls and too much backward franchises (accompanied by flameboys).

    But recently, in large thanks to Nintendo and its Wii, there were surge of pretty good playable and enjoyable games even on consoles. I norma

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by sqlrob ( 173498 )
      Most PC games suck too. Sturgeon's law.
    • And mostly they are - thankfully to terrible game utility (e.g. no save/load functionality)

      By save/load, do you mean save/load in general, or do you mean the ability to save at any time and reload a single save multiple times?

      Even if PC gaming is better in general, what PC-native[1] games don't require the purchase of four recent PCs if you have four people in the house who want to play?

      [1] A console ROM image of dubious legality run in emulation is not PC-native.

    • Sure, there are lots of terrible console games. There are lots of console games, and assuming some sort of standard distribution, theoretically it can be assumed that there would be lots of terrible console games.

      It would be nice to see some innovation on the PC side that didn't involve having a video card that hasn't been designed yet. One of the advantages of designing a game for a console is that the hardware is known and previous work and efficiency in software coding can be leveraged (obviously work

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Split - hardcore vs. casual - is inevitable.

      Ah, I disagree. As a casual gamer who really likes MP3:C (that's me in the AC comment below), I believe that the split is only inevitable in simpler games. Big releases should be able to incorporate both. Just look at Ocarina of Time and you'll see a game that was (and still is!) popular with people on both ends of the the leetness scale; any game that has the resources to build in that much optional exploration a can be designed to appeal to everyone.

      Right now
      • MP3:C was just an example. HArdcore games are not necessarily hard to play. They just appeal to smaller group of people. Like Metroid3: it appeals primarily to people who played Metrod1, Super Metroid, Metroid Fusion, Metroid 2, Metroid 2: Echos. IOW, to enjoy game you have to belong to the elite club of people who played previous iterations of game before. (It is also not necessarily fact relating to MP3:C - they are some brighter examples like Wii's RE4).

        To me it is telling. What ever crap load of sh*

        • Um, Quake 1, 2, 3, and doom 1-3 were all also on consoles. And Doom 3 had boss fights, thank you very much, as did Quake 4. Pretty much all fps do, at one point or another.

          Unlockable items are a mixed bag. You shouldn't feel hampered because somethign isn't unlocked, if so, thats bad game design. A lot of times, unloackables are stuff like alternative outfits, difficulty levels, songs, etc, that are designed to keep you comming back once you've finished the game. Also gives you somethign to aim for,

          • And Doom 3 had boss fights, thank you very much [...]

            Two of them to be precise. On in middle to get a BFG and another in the end.

            Compared to usual crap of boss fights in console games - can you believe it - monsters can be killed by actually shooting at them. No - w/o jumping around waiting moment to attack, w/o hitting some obscure combos to attack, w/o hitting even more weirder combos to temporarily disarm or make vulnerable the boss. I didn't even need to reload once to kill bosses in Doom3. How

  • What a surprise (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Leo Sasquatch ( 977162 ) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @07:43AM (#20519647)
    How much have they spent on this so far? So what are they going to do - issue a press statement that says "We know it sucks, the reviewers are right, it's broken and we hacked it about to get the rating down. We are aware that this level of ineptitude is unacceptable in what's supposed to be a triple-A title for our flagship console. Please don't buy this mess, we'll have it all fixed for the sequel. And next time, we'll actually hire play-testers like we're supposed to."

    No, they'll punt it out there, and hope it sells enough copies to people who don't read review sites - people who'll just see it on the shelves and go "Ooh! Shiny dragons!".

    Having said that, this isn't an anti-Sony diatribe. I'm sure the Cell is capable of some incredible feats of heavy lifting, once some teams of more-than-usually-talented programmers start to get to grips with it. This, however, is not one of them, and they just need to deal with it, and move on.
  • Meanwhile, MTV's Stephen Totilo notes, with more than a touch of seriousness, that Lairs production may have been a touch cursed.

    ... by poor development practices, naïve management who didn't know how to function without LucasArts support, the ever-present Sony marketing team (who is so bad that I don't even have to make fun of them,) production values with five years of dust, and a game design that would have seemed archaic two weeks after the release of Panzer Dragoon for the Sega Saturn?

    Yeah, that q

  • by binaryspiral ( 784263 ) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @11:47AM (#20521041)
    Critics dismiss Sony.

  • Playing Lair is horrifying, like having a talking cyst erupt out of your genitals.

    Wow, I'll be avoiding this at all costs. Shame, I like dragons.

God help those who do not help themselves. -- Wilson Mizner