|System: PS3, X360, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Free Radical Designs||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: TBA 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
July 23, 2007 - Everyone knows war is hell. But it's generally assumed that it's one of the grittier sides to human nature, and is not something that anyone plans for. But Haze, coming this fall to the PlayStation 3 and next year to the Xbox 360 and PC, explores the question of engineered combat. What if war was big business? What if conflicts around the world were orchestrated so that the privileged few could line their pockets with the blood of the combatants?
Haze is set in a futuristic world where this nightmare is the reality. You play as Shane Carpenter, who has been selected to be a soldier by the atrocious Mantel corp. Mantel, in its quest to reign supreme in the corporation-sponsored wars, has developed a rather "unique" supplement to give its soldiers. It's called "Nectar," and it increases skill and enhances your speed and agility to almost superhuman levels. But there are also dire consequences to this mega-juice. It may just even alter your reality.
Somewhere in the game you'll change sides, and be free of the Nectar induced highs that have been suppressing you for so long. But you'll also be free of the superhuman strength that you once possessed. And what of the rebel group Promised Hand? Are they any better than the megacorp Mantel? All is not what it seems in this Haze.
Sounds pretty gripping, eh? The story is what seems to be the driving force behind Haze's experience. But trust me, the game does not fall short in any other area as well. One big area full of promise is the visuals. The PS3 version is getting the most exposure, and from what I've seen, it looks to die for. The action sequences look like cinema scenes and are fluid and full of detail. Fires burn and general mayhem is ongoing in the background, while the real action is captivating and brought to your attention in stunning detail. Footage from trailers shows even more smooth detail and fluid animation that is real-enough looking to make you do a double take. I'm not kidding. Look at it yourself.
But if you supersede the graphics and the story, you'll find the element that excites me the most: The gameplay. The combination of the world-altering Disparity Rendering system and the always unpredictable Conspire A.I. system ensure an exciting and volatile experience every time you immerse yourself in Haze's dark world. Combatants will behave in an erratic and unpredictable fashion, challenging you to the fullest extent.
Another big feature of this game is its ever-changing and evolving battle system. Since so many factors will be affecting the story and your character's ability to fight, you'll have to adapt to different forms of combat and different character statuses. And once you switch sides, there's a whole new gameplay experience in store. Everything you learned during the first half of the game will be completely changed, and it's a whole new battle system and a whole new game
In addition to the single-player story mode, Haze also features a relatively complex online multiplayer mode. This mode is co-op, so you can play with a local buddy and face off against a team online. And you'll be able to play as either a Mantel soldier or one of the rebels. So it'll definitely be a customizable experience, and there will also be several tie-ins to the one-player campaign to add yet another level of depth to the Haze experience.
Overall, even though Haze has been in the works for some time, this year's E3 coverage upped the ante even more. And now we only need to wait less than four months to check this one out on the PlayStation 3 in its entirety!
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Freelance Writer