Lair attractive, elegant and . . .shallow and unco-operative

CanWest News Service
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Lair is the video game equivalent of a supermodel. Its tremendously attractive but doesnt have a lot of meat on its bones.

Lair is the video game equivalent of a supermodel. Its tremendously attractive but doesnt have a lot of meat on its bones. Its also shallow, unco-operative and far too interested in itself. The gaming is too often interrupted by a cut-scene intended to move the story along. Theyre wonderfully narrated and elegant in design, but many times they go on longer than the moments of actual player-controlled action. Its almost as if you dont need to be there; as though walking out of the room would make no difference in the progression of the game. Somehow, it would continue with or without you. Sadly, some people may choose the latter once they try playing Lair. And thats really too bad, because flying on the backs of fire-breathing dragons and battling other gigantic reptiles has fun written all over it. Instead, the control scheme is bull-headed and a catalyst for sudden outbursts of expletives. In a game that requires the mid-air manoeuvrability of a stunt plane, you get something akin to pushing a boulder through sand. Its much easier to land your dragon and just amble through enemy armies, swatting away dozens of soldiers in a single swipe or eating them like armour-coated M&Ms. The action will often automatically become slow motion as your dragon gnaws and crunches the terrified little men. You can also spew rapid fireballs like a Gatling gun and roast the enemy in their suits. The cannonade of fire is also useful in sinking fleets of ships and disabling catapults - good thing everything is made of wood. Lair takes place in a world ravaged by volcanoes, which have split the population into two kingdoms: the Mokai, who fled to the frozen north of the continent and have found themselves starving and desperate. The Asylians live in the bountiful, lush south and have barges loaded with grain. You play as Rohn, a dragon-riding Asylian knight. Its unfortunate so much effort went into creating such exceptional, cutting-edge graphics while the technical end of things came out so medieval. Two out of five stars

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