When a game's main point is to engane in combat, it has to work perfectly. Both Heavenly Sword and Lair have variety in their combat scenes, but sadly neither is enough to go the full distance. The lesson? Give the player varied enemies and fun ways to kill them. Not chance kills and cookie-cutter clones.
What the critics said:
"Combat mechanic is 1/3 broken" GamingTrend on Heavenly Sword
"A number of the skirmishes are essentially arena battles where you wind up trapped in a room and need to fend off swarm after swarm of enemies. This just makes it feel like you're trudging through that section of the game and that the designers are keeping you put for a while to rack up the overall game time." - IGN on Heavenly Sword
"In theory, you can lock on to other flying enemies and spew flames at them or dive into them from a fair distance. But the targeting system is a tragedy. You can't choose what to lock on to, so all you can do is keep an eye out for the fuzzy white circle to appear on an enemy dragon." - Gamespot on Lair
"There are some who derive a kind of perverse superiority from their mastery of the game's ambiguous mechanics.For my part, I don't give a good Goddamn if someone has trained themselves to eat shit and like it. The game is not challenging, it's difficult to play, and it's taken many years but I'm ready to begin making this distinction." - Penny-Arcade on Lair