When you look at the game industry, there are certain names you can often pick out that you expect to get quality from. Bioware, Bungie, Pandemic and the team that brought us Goldeneye and Timesplitters, what you donít ever expect is to bump into a game from the latter thatís as painful to look at as it is to play. Riddled with bugs and lack-lustre gameplay from the start, Haze, is a terrible game thatís only saving grace is that it allows you to play it cooperatively with friends.
Donít believe the hype on the box, because itís wrong. Haze is the kind of game that deserves to be shot into the sun and never heard from again. Iím bitterly disappointed with this one and what you have here is a bog-standard shooter that just doesnít do anything innovative or interesting, and Iíve played good shooters on most platforms. This isn't one of them.
The story is full of clichťs and working for the Mantel Corporation as an enforcer you play both sides of the coin, as eventually, you see Mantel for what it really is and turn your back on it and the booster drug known as nectar. Now itís here that I want to throttle someone, whoever decided that design wise having the Mantel soldiers resemble bees in terms of the black and yellow, the honeycomb designs and so on, also needs to be shot.
You eventually end up working for the rebels and can exploit the weakness of the Mantelís enforcers, since you used to be one. Itís about here amidst the corny dialogue and the brash outspoken solider clichťs that I really just disconnected with the story and the game turned into pretty much a grind, it became just another shooter with a hackneyed plot and dull uninspiring weapons, go here, shoot this guy, come back, shoot some more bad guys and listen to repetitious comments from barely competent AI team-mates.
Where did you go wrong Free Radical Design, what happened to the edge that you had? Haze doesnít feel like a FRD game at all, it feels incomplete, rushed, botched and donít get me started on the bugs. Hitscan is appalling in the game and often physics glitches will leave bodies hanging as if they had been struck by some kind of Levitate-o-matic rifle. Perhaps I might be down on this game because I had high expectations, but for the kind of price tag weíre talking here, I donít like being given half a pizza when I expect the whole thing to have deep dish and extra cheese.
Haze is broken up into shooting sections, driving sections (with pretty bouncy and loose physics) as you grind through the linear macho fantasy story with a bunch of characters you have no empathy with. The only joy for me came when I switched sides and turned my gunfire on those people Iíd been running around with. There was something therapeutic about offing the smart-mouthed Mantel buddies from earlier.
For a PS3 exclusive Haze needed to offer up something much better and it failed in terms of singleplayer. Multiplayer fares a little better with the 3 modes of play, deathmatch, team deathmatch and an objective based Ďassaultí mode that proved to be one of my favourites. Thereís a limit of 16 players on the maps and they donít feel too crowded or too sparse. FRD also put in computer controlled AI bots, so they can be forgiven a little for making the sp side of the game as dull as a matte black finish.