PS3 Reviews: Haze Review

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Haze Review

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Graphics:

 

5.4

Gameplay:

 

5.0

Sound:

 

3.0

Control:

 

6.0

Replay Value:

 

5.0

Online Gameplay:

 

5.0

Overall Rating:       5.1

 

 

Publisher:

Ubisoft

Developer:

Free Radical Design

Number Of Players:

1-4 (16 Online)

Genre:

First Person Shooter

Release Date:

May 20th, 2008

  When a game get billed as the next big thing before anyone even gets a chance to play it, suspicion and caution kicks in. It's nothing to be surprised over, as every generation has had games that were mega-hyped, but mega-failed to deliver anything of substance. Whether it's a promised Zelda-killer, a GTA-killer, a Mario-killer, a Halo-killer, or a Gran Turismo-killer, disappointment is almost always in-store. Among upcoming shooters such as Resistance 2, Gears of War 2, and Killzone 2, there lies a new intellectual property, and it's Ubisoft's Haze. Haze has managed to garner a fair share of its own attention, seeing as how the developers behind it have brought us FPS games such as TimeSplitters and GoldenEye.

   This publicity has also earned the game more than its fair-share of hyperbole. And the Free Radical game has often undergone questioning of when it'd finally be released, as release dates always seemed sketchy. Well, now that we've played Haze, we understand why the game's release date was always such an issue...Haze doesn't really feel like a complete product. The game's name is actually quite apt of describing it.

   From the get-go, Haze's story comes off as simple and uninspired - this is one story that you've experienced far too many times. You are Shane Carpenter, an agent of Mantel Global Industries. You and your fellow troops have a beef with a faction who call themselves The Promise Hand. As a Mantel troop, you have the advantage of access to this wonderful performance enhancer -- which isn't a blue pill -- called Nectar. Characters inject nectar into themselves which heightens a variety of their abilities. The most notable change is the ability to thermally detect enemies, as the nectar injection allows you to see an enemy's body heat - this'll help you spot threats from a distance.

   When you've spotted enemies, you can pick them off with your weapons. As you'd expect, well placed shots to the head will neutralize an enemy immediately, where as shooting at a torso may require a few bullets. No matter what weapon you use, be it a rifle or a standard handgun, you have the ability to use a more precise, zoomed-in perspective to take down enemies from afar. The zoomed-in perspective isn't simple either, as it's assisted by the abilities of your suit, making distant aiming with even a handgun easy.

   Additionally, nectar stabilizes your zoomed-in aim, as well. But before you think you can just juice your way through the game, you're limited to a capacity of five nectar injections. On the other hand, earlier on in the game, you can take one from a teammate if you're running low. Or you can wait for nectar shots to refill gradually as you play through a stage. Nectar an also do damage, as injecting too much can kill you, and have other negative side-effects that damper your abilities and perception (thus the game's name). A full injection lasts about a minute, which is long enough to get rid of a wave of enemies.

   With the Nectar premise explained, allow me to continue on about Haze's poor story. Be forewarned, the following may be a bit spoiler-ish, so turn away if you haven't the foggiest idea of Haze's background...still there? So, the story is absurdly predictable, as you can see the game's plot-twist coming from a mile away. Shane realizes that the organization he represents is evil, and switches sides to loosely ally himself with The Promise Hand, the faction whose hordes of troops he killed. So now, as a member of The Promise Hand, you inherit new anti-Mantel abilities, such as throwing knives infused with an excessive amount of Nectar for an overdose kill, playing dead, among other tricks.

   My complaints with Haze are that the game doesn't seem to break the mold of what most FPS games have already offered. Its firepower offering isn't new, as weapons do little-to-nothing to bring excitement to the table, unlike other FPS games. Which leads me to another issue that I have with the game; the shooting doesn't feel impactful. Where as in games like Resistance, every shot fired felt like it packed a punch, you don't get that same level of feedback with Haze - and I'm not even talking about force feedback from a controller. So there's this feeling that you're disconnected from the experience, and, in addition to the problems above, this creates a lack of immersion.

   Then there's the troubled A.I. The artificial intelligence feels largely the same no matter what difficulty level you're playing on. They don't perform any advanced techniques, they don't seem to be adapting to your presence, they duck for cover randomly, as opposed to when you're actually shooting them, and so on. The A.I. feels more like a pack of randomly generated minions whose purpose is to run-and-gun, (not that they are randomly generated, but they act like they are). If you're looking for A.I. on Uncharted's level, this ain't it.

   Multiplayer features aren't abundant, either. You have a choice of either 4-player Campaign co-op, 16 player Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, or Assault. That's it. More or less, you either play co-op, or a deathmatch variation. Not like multiplayer could've really saved Haze, as its hollow gameplay would've prevented enjoyment online. As far as other bits of value are concerned, Haze's core will barely last you 6-7 hours, so you're much better off doing something else with that $60.

   Then we have the game's boring presentation, which isn't the least bit engrossing as I'd hoped for it to have been, largely thanks to the hyperbole of "freeplay" interactive cut-scenes. Not only are the cut-scenes barely interactive (you get to swing the camera around during a cut-scene), but they aren't even particularly entertaining, and the voice-acting is dreadful.

   Visually, I barely gave the demo the benefit of the doubt weeks ago, I had suspected that perhaps textures could've been downsampled to keep the download size smaller. But because 1.5GB isn't exactly a small demo (one of the largest on PSN, actually), I was well aware that the possibility of the demo textures being a final product was good. Well, I was right. The same washed out textures from the demo are present in the final game, ruining practically every point of the game you look at.

   To make matters worse, on top of being nothing remotely impressive, Haze actually runs at a sub-HD resolution of 576p, which technically makes it an 'enhanced definition' game, as opposed to a 'high definition' title. With GTAIV running at 630p (a number that's quite higher than Haze) it was forgivable considering its scope, but with Haze, it's rather pathetic. Haze's only redeeming visual qualities are its decent lighting effects, and that it runs at a solid 30 frames per second with no aliasing or screen tearing issues to be seen. But the overall aesthetic product is a failure.

   As mentioned already, the game's audio isn't anything to behold. Normally, I suggest playing intense games with the volume up, and encourage people to look into surround sound setups just to enjoy the experience further. With Haze, I recommend doing none of that. The terrible voice acting mars the gameplay so much that Haze would've been better off with sub-titles, instead. Yes, it's that bad.

   If you were expecting the next groundbreaking FPS with Haze, your expectations will be shattered. For a budget title worth $30, Haze wouldn't have been a bad game - considering that it offers half the experience of most other FPS games. But for $60, you're burning money. Haze offers little to no substance, a poor story, gut-wrenching voice acting, and a non-existent sense of immersion. Avoid this one at all costs, at least until you see it at the bargain bin for $10.

5/27/2008 Arnold Katayev

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Comments (20 posts)

Fabi
Tuesday, May 27, 2008 @ 2:02:54 PM
Reply

Ouch...

I just don't get how Free Radical could have made this...

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Qubex
Tuesday, May 27, 2008 @ 6:38:16 PM

Agreed!

Q!

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Deleted User
Monday, June 23, 2008 @ 10:53:25 AM

Wow, this one hurt. I had been waiting for Haze for a while and loved the demo(which turned out to be by far the funnest part in the whole game which was a good marketing technique for ubisoft but come on...). I bought the game for my birthday. And the strategy guide.

The game sucked and I had wasted $80 plus tax on it. But heres where it gets worse: The next weekend Gamestop had a sale where Haze was $40 brand new and the guide was $10.

Lets just say I won't be forgetting about this one for a while...

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furbiesmustdie
Monday, August 17, 2009 @ 11:58:05 PM

aw come on it's not that bad it's just that it had such a huge amount of hype leading up to it's release. combined with the fact ign labeled it a "halo killer" it was destined for the budget bin.
but really all things considered i may even go as far to say i liked haze and just as long as you didn't pay more than $20 you should too. there is some fun to be had with the multiplayer if nothing else and the 4 player co-op will add and extra couple of hours.
6.5/10

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dillonthebunny
Tuesday, May 27, 2008 @ 2:39:47 PM
Reply

lol, I knew you wouldnt like it AK, but wow! haha..

Imo its really not that bad. from AK's point of view it is. but from mine its a perfectly fine FPS.

The storyline is better than a lot of FPS's out there. Graphics are fine.. ok so theyre not CoD, but theyre not PS2 either.

I completed the story last night and I really enjoyed the game.
Storyline aside, everything about this game is Average, yet it works well. online is the smoothest ive played since WarHawk and RFOM. theres more glitches in CoD than in HAZE online.

Being able to snipe the Nectre point at the back of the Mantel is cool, to watch them overdose is fun.. to play dead and to jump up and slaughter several solders is great too. I like the Online, theres a lot more to this game than first meets the eye.

But its not perfect, no where near.. I could go on, but I did that in the forums.

I say if you do see this game in the bargain bin and its cheap.. pick it up, if youre expecting trash, you might be pleasantly surprised, like I was.

Last edited by dillonthebunny on 5/27/2008 2:41:19 PM

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Reccaman18
Tuesday, May 27, 2008 @ 3:24:51 PM
Reply

I dont understand. I mean, this was supposed to be a solid game, but somehow, they managed to do nothing but turn one of the most promising games, into a load of crap.

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ArnoldK PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, May 27, 2008 @ 4:10:45 PM
Reply

Another problem is that the more saturated the FPS genre gets, the more developers will have to do to break the bold. What I would've considered average last year, or the year before, today I consider poor. The genre is evolving and a new "average" is being shaped - and Haze falls well below that new average.

18 months ago, as a launch title, Haze would've probably scored an easy flat-8. 18 months later, it simply doesn't measure up to the competition.

Last edited by ArnoldK PSXE on 5/27/2008 4:12:14 PM

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bamf
Tuesday, May 27, 2008 @ 6:49:58 PM

I reckon if Resistance was released today it would have scored high. I don't think FPS have changed much in 18 months only in the visual department. Although Haze visuals aren't that impressive, they deserve more than 5.4 I feel.

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ThePoetRazel
Tuesday, May 27, 2008 @ 6:07:17 PM
Reply

I'd say this is what happens when someone gets so carried away with an idea that they lose sight of reality.

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Qubex
Tuesday, May 27, 2008 @ 6:41:45 PM
Reply

Honesty and objectivity are the most important components of any cretive process, if you can't let go when it is obvious it is not working you are doomed to fail... and creatives have a problem doing this.

Q!

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mamiller93
Tuesday, May 27, 2008 @ 7:17:53 PM
Reply

I think it deserves more than just a 5.1 I think it deserves at least a 7.... I really like the plot and game.

Maybe because this is my second shooting game that I own, but still it is a pretty good game. Yes, after all of that hype, it is pretty bad considering the amount of hype out there, but if you put that hype aside, it is a good game. It does have it's bad sides, like the darkened parts of the game... to the extent I could not see where I was going.

I think someone really needs to try out the demo and decide for themselves... the demo is basically the game.

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ZubraZap
Tuesday, May 27, 2008 @ 7:25:48 PM
Reply

Is it really that bad? I'm not gonna judge it on the demo which is all I've played of it so far..

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Qubex
Tuesday, May 27, 2008 @ 10:56:47 PM

I played the demo and did not think much of it. The graphics are ok I would say, not that bad... I did like the forest foliage. Would have been more atmospheric to have included Rays Of God, and lots of them like GRID. It gives any scene a great deal of depth.

Q!

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ArnoldK PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, May 27, 2008 @ 7:43:39 PM
Reply

bamf: I'd argue that if Resistance 1 hit today, it wouldn't be very well accepted. It'd be visually outdated, and its multiplayer offerings (modes, no vehicles, etc.) wouldn't cut it.

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baseballdude_ [Administrator]
Tuesday, May 27, 2008 @ 11:57:17 PM
Reply

So, ratings are on a relative scale? In other words, ratings are based on how it compares to other games?

I always thought that the scale was set and that ratings weren't based on each other, but set independently of other games. Ideally, there wouldn't be much difference in the actual rating anyway, but still.

It's just good to know. I'm not much of a gamer, but if (when) I decide to upgrade my PS2, it's good to know for the new games I'll be looking for. :)

Last edited by baseballdude_ on 5/27/2008 11:57:44 PM

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ArnoldK PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, May 28, 2008 @ 12:38:04 AM
Reply

Of course comparisons have an effect on score. Why spend $60 on a product that falls well below the average? You're better off with a copy of Call of Duty 4.

It's sort of like cars. You don't price a Daewoo in the same price-range as a BMW. Not unless your Daewoo is every bit as high-end as a BMW.

Last edited by ArnoldK PSXE on 5/28/2008 12:39:15 AM

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tanner1
Wednesday, May 28, 2008 @ 6:54:45 AM
Reply

Disagree with u Arnold,rfom is by far the best game online totally smooth, 0 lag, 40 players great fun.U dont need vehicals,4 a start the maps aint big enough

Cod4 aint got no vehicals

Last edited by tanner1 on 5/28/2008 6:58:35 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, May 28, 2008 @ 12:41:47 PM
Reply

Reviews are based on the quality of the product itself and how it compares to the current competition. That's the simplest and best way to put it.

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Bottlecap
Wednesday, May 28, 2008 @ 6:40:26 PM
Reply

basicly haze brought nothing new, that we havn't already encountered. its a very average game. it will not have you jumping out of your seat like COD4

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PaiNT_kinG
Thursday, May 29, 2008 @ 7:51:40 AM
Reply

is it that bad,demo has been loading for like 4 weeks straight,damn you internet

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