Game Review: Haze (PS3)

It has been a slow couple of weeks for game releases, so lets cover a few older ones that we may have missed.

Every once in a while there is a game that is surrounded by hype and actually lives up to it…. This is not one of those games. Let’s take a quick look at Haze for the PlayStation 3 and see what went wrong with this eagerly anticipated title.

Brian Says – DODGE IT

You begin the game as a Mantel soldier, chemically enhanced by a performance enhancing drug known as “Nectar”. Nectar has many benefits while in combat, your enemies stand out with a glow and are easier to see, you move slightly quicker and melee attacks are more devastating than usual. You can take more damage when using Nectar and regenerate health a bit faster. As with every good thing, there are downfalls to Nectar, overdose and you can barely move and soldiers can become frenzied and in such a state are just as dangerous to each other as they are to the enemy. It is best to put them down if one of your team members becomes frenzied. Nectar also Shields the Mantel soldier from the horrors of war, bodies and carnage disappear.

As part of the rebels known as the “Promised Hand”, you can take advantage of the Mantels use of Nectar by stealing the injector off dead Mantel soldiers and making Nectar grenades. When you use a Nectar grenade, a yellow cloud of Nectar is dispersed and any Mantel soldiers caught in the cloud can become overdosed. Rebels can also “Play Dead” and disappear from the soldiers view as they are allegedly dead and the Nectar keeps the Mantel from seeing death. Rebel soldiers can also make most ammo usable in any weapon and set traps.

Sounds good so far right? Yes, a very promising premise for a game and potentially a good variation in game play from the average first person shooter. Well there is theory and then there is execution.

Visually the game isn’t that impressive, with the exception of a few nice effects. The level design overall was pretty poor. Not a lot of variety in color or environment.

The first thing that I had issues with was the terrible voice acting, with the exception of one death scene that I thought was really good, other than that, I struggled with it. The character models while playing are actually pretty good but when you go into a cut scene, they seem really awkward. Maybe I am used to game like Half-Life2, where the voice acting is top notch and the models kinda look like they are at least mouthing in time with the sound. At one point I thought that my home theater audio was out of sync, so I tried it on my other PS3 in the other room. Same result, so to be sure, I played some Rock Band and we all know that is a good test of sound lag.

Don’t get me wrong, many other games have some flaws but they can be unnoticed or overlook the first time through if you are into the story or the action is intense.The story in Haze, which seemed to be a good basis for a game, really never took off and actually left me just wanted to rush through the game and get it over with. With the story not really grabbing my interest, your attention starts to wander during cut scenes and notice the little annoyances, like the acting and awkward models.

I do feel that the controls actually handle quite well while running around on foot and also allow for a player to customize them to their liking but vehicles didn’t handle as well as I would have liked or experienced in other games. Vehicle levels or areas of the game seemed more like a chore to me than other parts of the game. Vehicles when destroyed, re-spawn immediately and fairly close to where you were. While some may like this, I felt it made the game pretty easy.

The multiplayer offers co-op story mode via split screen or 4 player online, so that you can share your frustration with some friends. Online multiplayer also has up to 16 players, users choose a side and go at it in various game modes. I must admit that I didn’t play too much multiplayer as I wanted to stop playing this game as soon as possible and I felt that there was nothing in the multiplayer modes that would save this title.

For a game that was so hyped and met with delay after delay, I was hoping for a lot more polish and expected it to be a much better experience. Overall, it made me want to fire Resistance Fall of Man back up and play through a few levels to get the bad taste out of my mouth.

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