|System: PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Free Radical Design||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 20, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
Ever since E3 2007, Haze has been a title that many have looked forward to. It promised some very intriguing gameplay and offered an altered consciousness point-of-view to facilitate some "enhanced" gunplay. It also promised a great story and some killer graphics. However, after several significant delays, Haze started fading from memory.
Thankfully, Haze has finally been released and is currently available as a PS3 exclusive. But, is it as good as we hoped? Well, it all depends on how you look at it. As a basic shooter, Haze definitely succeeds. It has the story, core gameplay mechanics, and overall style that you might expect from a title from this genre. But, if you were expecting more, then you may be a little disappointed.
The story revolves around Shane Carpenter, who is essentially a guy just trying to do the right thing. He joined the war company Mantel hoping (as college kids often do) to change the world. However, he got much more from Mantel then he expected. One of the most nefarious things about Mantel is they use a psychotropic drug called nectar, which helps their soldiers ignore damage on the battlefield and more easily target and kill enemies. Though the nectar is great if you want to breed a super-malicious army with zero sympathy, it's not so good for the human body. The nectar can turn on the human body and cause violent seizures, psychotic episodes where the user kills everything, and even the user's own death. The worst part is once someone becomes addicted to nectar, they become hyper-aggressive and will stop at nothing to feed their addiction.
However, our buddy Shane figures out that this situation is all wrong and decides to join up with the Promise Hand, a rebel organization who is fighting against Mantel. Although the reason behind why Carpenter shows up on the Promise Hand's doorstep is unknown, it seems like a better idea to fight for them then go back to evil company Mantel, which, incidentally, is out for your blood. The game's story deals with issues like what it means to be a traitor, and provides some interesting social commentary on how we view soldiers and how we justify what they do.
The story, while not incredibly cutting-edge, definitely has some very intriguing moments. While some would wager that the story is paper thin, I would say that it gets major points for being direct and cohesive. At least you always know your character's state of mind, where his alliances lie, and what the enemy is thinking. Games like the Halo franchise always left me guessing in terms of storyline, but at least this one keeps it simple and to the point. Plus, any story that vilifies characters that say the Flavor Flav-trademarked "Yeah Boyee!" gets some serious credit in my book.
As far as gameplay goes, this title has some pretty solid gunplay. The first half of the game is played as a Mantel soldier, so you have the option of using nectar. The nectar is extremely useful in crowded or dark places, as it helps you pinpoint and take down enemies. It is also invaluable in the vehicle levels because it helps you see otherwise hidden land mines. The only trouble is when the nectar goes out of control, you'll end up killing all of your comrades. Oh well.