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Lair - hands-on

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After months of nothing but a few teaser shots and an E3 trailer, we finally had a chance to sink our fangs into the dragon-combat sim Lair. Due out sometime next year, it casts players as an armored, dragon-riding knight charged with defending his kingdom against an army that uses plenty of its own monsters as weapons.

Our time with the game started out with a brief tutorial, and we had a little time to marvel at the beautifully detailed scenery and leathery wings of our dragon as we flew through giant, floating stone rings. Like in Warhawk, the dragon is controlled almost entirely with the controller's tilt sensors; just pretend the controller is your dragon, and tilt it however you want said dragon to move. It's pretty neat at first, but frustration sets in once you realize that absently, say, lowering your controller will cause your dragon to pitch dramatically downward. Still, it worked OK when we didn't forget about it.



Toward the end of the tutorial, we got to try out more interesting applications for the controls. When fighting other dragons, you'll get to lock onto them and start toasting them with long-range fireballs. Do enough damage and draw close, and the camera will switch to show you flying next to your enemy. Here, you'll need to jerk the controller in the direction of the bad guy, and you'll slam into him a few times. Once he's suitably softened up, you can draw in closer and start biting, clawing and breathing fire in his face. Do enough damage there, and it's time to start the Killing Move - a God of War -style minigame where you'll need to use timed button presses to leap onto the other dragon's back, knock off its rider and jump back into your waiting saddle.

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