Saturday, June 14, 2008

PS3 - Haze

Haze by Ubisoft

Type: First Person Shooter
Save Style: Checkpoint (not enough of them)

Haze is an FPS that, at first, starts you off on what you think is to be 'the good team'. You're in a squad and you roam the levels in teams of 4. You're in a suit, but it basically has no armor. The trick is that you have this stuff called 'Nectar' that flows into your body (a type of drug). It allegedly keeps the soldiers better able to focus. You can inject more Nectar at times of battle to fortify your ability to fight. So, by injecting more, you get the ability to see life signs more clearly.

Later in the game, your carryall crashes and Merino (a guy you were supposed to capture) ends up capturing you. You come to find that Nectar is really a way to mind control the troops, or so you're told by Merino. Anyway, you end up out of the suit fighting for the 'other side' to eliminate the drugs.


The controls work well enough. It's not really the controls that are the problem for once, it's the way the game is built. Although, there is one control mapping that I find strange. Instead of placing the 'fire' button on the bigger R2 button, they place it on the smaller R1 (bumper) button. So, I'm forever pressing the R2 button thinking it's the fire button. I didn't bother to try to remap it. The R2 button is mapped to a melee attack. This really should have been reversed.


You can hold up to 4 different types of guns. You roam the levels and you kill or blow things up. There's no side roaming at all. So, the game is extremely linear. As you progress, you get to roam on foot and in some vehicles. There is no enemy heads up display. However, there is a health meter, but because you have no shields or armor (and can't pick any up along the way), Carpenter (your character) dies way too easily.

The ridiculousness of the Nectar is obvious. First, it's a gimick. Second, you're almost constantly injecting yourself with it because it lasts about 15 seconds. Ok, so who would make a drug that last 15 seconds? Worse, the body doesn't work that way. If you inject something into the body, it will last for at least an hour, not seconds. The reality of the Nectar is ridiculous, at best, and stupid at the worst. Ignoring all that, though, constantly injecting the Nectar gets in the way of the gameplay. Thankfully, you don't play the entire game in the suit. Read on.

The levels are strange in the beginning. The suit is malfunctioning at times, so the ability to use the Nectar comes and goes randomly. There's no real explanation for this other than it kind of leads into the Merino levels. Anyway, you roam around look for the 'enemy' and kill them. Sometimes the levels are set up with a goal and other times you just have to fumble through it. In some of the levels, it isn't always easy to determine what to do next. So, you end up redoing the entire checkpoint over and over.

The lack of free roaming side quests really makes this game a drag to play.


There was so much potential wasted in this game. In the beginning when you're with the squads, you really can do nothing as a squad. So your squadmates just die one-by-one. You can't do anything as a team. They're just there. So, having the squad is basically pointless. You're really off on your own. The team members occasionally chime and and make remarks, but they're not even particularly humorous.


This game uses checkpoints as the save mechanism. Even though you can save from the menu, saving your game simply allows you to restart from the last saved checkpoint. Worse, when the checkpoint saves, it doesn't save you fully stocked up with ammo. You end up having to re-roam the level time and time again to restock your ammo. Because there are so few checkpoints, this is the biggest flaw of this game. This is also what makes the game frustrating to play and difficult to get through the levels.

It's not that the levels are difficult, it's that you have to start over from the beginning of each level (sometimes 5-15 minutes of play is lost starting over at a checkpoint). This is a complete waste of time.

Merino levels

Once you lose the suit and have to play the game without it, the designers compensated for not having the Nectar by replacing it with the ability to play dead. Ok, the Nectar I can kind of see. But, the playing dead thing is entirely ridiculous. Having been a suited trooper, you and your comrades can't 'see' dead people on the Nectar. So, when you play dead, the suited troops ignore you. I'm sorry, but this mechanism is completely stupid. If the Nectar shows 'living' creatures, then even playing dead they'd be able to see you. By this time, the game's premise was so far fetched that I'm not sure where the story is going.


About what you would expect by this genre of game. The jungle maps are rendered reasonably well. The plants don't hold up at close distance, though. Overall, this game has more in common with Dark Sector and Time Splitters than it does Halo 3 or Gears of War. The graphics are reasonable, but not outstanding. Note that this game runs in 720p (as do most PS3 games).


The voice overs are fair. Sometimes they're humorous, but for the wrong reasons. The music works, but doesn't stand out enough.


This shooter is basically, been there done that. If you've played Doom or even Wolfenstein, then you've played this. The only reason you might want to play this game is, maybe, for the story. The gameplay itself is unoriginal and not even overly exciting. There's nothing new and groundbreaking in this game and parts of the story are completely far-fetched and ridiculous. The graphics are average, the sound is average, the levels are average and the save system is average. The only reason why this game is challenging at all is due to the (lack of) checkpoints.


  • Gameplay: 6/10 (mostly due to the ridiculous story)
  • Audio: 7/10 (voiceovers kinda strange)
  • Graphics: 8.5/10
  • Story: 5/10 (not compelling enough, kind of ridiculous)
  • Bang-2-Buck: 2/10 (buy only if less than $10)
  • Replay: 1/10 (I won't replay this)
  • Overall: 5/10 (Average shooter with an average score)

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