It’s sad that, even in 2008, we still have to put up with this amount of sheer mediocrity.
Haze has been looked at as an interesting first person shooter since it was first announced. Coming from the developers of TimeSplitters, expectations were a bit high. It’s also garnered plenty of attention from being an exclusive PS3 game. Unfortunately, for every step Haze takes forward, it takes 5 steps back.
The graphics in Haze are nothing special. While it doesn’t look bad necessarily, I expect more from games after playing through the powerhouses like GTA IV and MGS4. This game would have looked superb back in 2005, but in 2008 it does not cut it any longer. The ‘Nectar’ effects look nice, but as with the rest of the game, nothing special.
As you already know, Haze is a first person shooter, and it plays just like any of the rest. Haze plays akin to the original Halo, nothing more, nothing less. The gunplay feels okay, but is stiff at the same time. There were points in the game where I was desperately trying to shoot an enemy, but failed because the cursor on screen decided it wasn’t going to do what I say. It makes for several frustrating moments that made me want to turn my Sixaxis into a bullet so I could shoot myself with it.
One of the ‘features’ of Haze is the Nectar system. Nectar is billed as a ‘performance-enhancing pharmaceutical drug that grants the user enhanced speed, accuracy and strength’. It really is nothing more than a mind controlling hallucinogenic. What this means in-game though, is that you will be able to see enemies more clearly, bodies will vanish as to drown out images of death and destruction, reduces recoil, and allows the player to zoom in further while scoped. An overdose of Nectar is dangerous, with loss of mental control and death being possible side-effects. A lot of what Nectar does is nothing really special, and is really nothing more than a gimmick.
The vehicle controls in Haze are primitive, to say the least. It only utilizes one stick to steer, and it just doesn’t work. Remember the M35 Mako from Mass Effect? Now try to steer it with enemies all around you shooting you every second that there is. Now watch yourself die a lot, as I did. As much as Haze took notes from other games, they forgot something very important, vehicle control. I find it to be rather embarrassing that vehicles can still be controlled this way these days.
The story in Haze is nothing special either. You and your squad of insecure idiots are sent out to find a rebel group called “The Promise Hand.” Only to find out later in the game that everything that has been said about the group is wrong. The game is very gritty in regards to the story, and takes nothing into account when it comes to dialogue. There were plenty of moments during cutscenes where I was wondering why certain things needed to be said. Some of the dialogue felt so out of place that I just shook my head and turned it off, being disgusted by it all. In a day in age where he have great games with great stories like GTA IV and MGS4, we still have hundreds of throw-aways like Haze.
After finishing the single player campaign, there isn’t much to come back for. Haze has an online multiplayer mode, but doesn’t fix any of the problems as far as controls, so it is not worth your time. Not to mention, every game I was able to get into was extremely laggy, making it unplayable. Haze also has a Four-Player Co-op Mode that went unplayed by myself. I could not torture myself through the same bad campaign again.
Haze had potential. I’ll admit, I was curious to see where Free Radical was going with it. Unfortunately, it turned out to be nothing special. Haze may be worth a rent if you can get past the awful control and laughably terrible story, but should be strictly avoided otherwise.