Haze is one of those shooters that had a lot of potential, but never was really able to capitalize on it. This “gem” is brought to you by Free Radical Design, a company that was formed from a splinter group of the Goldeneye/Perfect Dark team. Also, this team designed the Time Splitters game. The bulk of the aforementioned games were great. Knowing that, you would think that a something they created on a current gen system would be just as outstanding. Unfortunately, that is far from the case.
Haze follows Sgt. Shane Carpenter, a soldier in “Mantle”, a sort of PMC of the future. You are sent into South America to help stop the rebels known as the “The Promise Hand”, led by a man calling himself Gabriel “Skin Coat” Merino… seriously. Over the course of the game you are able to dose yourself with Mantel’s super elixir called “Nectar.” Basically it is just a drug that heightens your awareness, skill level, and generally makes you a giant douche bag (but more on that later).
Over time, Shane’s Nectar administration system starts to fail. Only then does he begin to see Mantel for what it really is, a giant smash and grab corporation. He’s shown the true repercussions of prolonged exposure to Nectar, that being death. Naturally, Shane then joins forces with the rebels to try and put a stop to Mantel. Free Radical tries hard to put a big morale lesson in Haze, but honestly, by the end of the game I didn’t care enough anymore to bother paying attention.
Getting down to the game itself, visually, Haze looks atrocious. Seriously… The textures, are just flat out ugly. It’s chock full of glitches and bugs, not to mention that at points I would get stuck in different parts of the map, because the collision detection was so spotty. Controls were run of the mill shooter and let’s be honest, kinda hard to screw up. The weapons of Haze brought nothing new really to the table, and sitting here thinking about the game I couldn’t list a single one to you.
I guess it doesn’t sound all that bad. There is a lot of spoken audio, seeing as how most of the game is told through verbal exposition. Which brings me to my biggest gripe with this game. I will start by saying that I understand what and why they were trying to do with the soldiers of Mantel. When you first meet the other guys in your squad, I was seriously surprised they weren’t wearing pink polo’s with the collar popped. There was more high-fiving and “dude bro” moments in the first section of the game than in the entirety of the beer-pong world championships. It was annoying to the point of being painful. Again, I understand why they did this though. They were making the point that the Nectar alters your sense of right and wrong, as well as making you a team player in your squad. I just don’t think they had to do it to such a nauseating degree. I was so happy later on in the game that I was given the chance to shoot the Mantel guys. I found myself unloading clip-after-clip into them, just to release stress.
Given the pedigree of it’s creators, and the potential graphical upgrade offered by the PlayStation 3’s cell processor, I was hopeful that this game was going to be something I would initially like and continue to enjoy over time. Much to my disappointment, Haze didn’t deliver on any of it’s promises. I have played much worse games in my life, however this one ranks high on the list because of the sheer disappointment it brought with it.