Developer: Free Radical
Release Date: 05/20/2008
Available Exclusively On
It’s not a mystery that developers around the world struggled with the HD era of gaming. Development went from a few dozens to hundreds almost overnight and the advancement of shaders, more complicated lighting effects, higher resolution textures, larger worlds, more dialogue, it was a huge undertaking that put many companies out of business, and Haze is a casualty of this struggle.
You play as a private security mercery named Shane Carpenter who is tasked to eliminate a rebel group for some reason, and it’s never said why. You are a supercharged soldier hopped up on the stimulant known as Nectar, and as the title says, halfway through the game you are an outcast and deemed Code Haze. The Nectar is used to force the soldiers to see the world in a way that the company wants them to see it and in turn your help the rebels take down the Mantel organization. Surprisingly, the story is the only interesting thing going for this game. It had a couple of really good moments, and only if the developers had more time to work on this, Haze could have been one of the best shooters of the HD era of gaming. But, like most games back then, the publishers were pushing for money and time and thus the game fell through.
The shooting, and sadly coming from some masters of FPS games, is awful. There is zero feedback in the gun, the controller, or hit detection so every enemy just feels like a bullet sponge. The guns feel the same and there’s just no satisfaction or character in them such as in a game like Resistance for example. Why there is no rumble function for firing weapons is unknown, but it sucks big time. Aiming and shooting become a chore due to the poorly laid out control scheme which I completely had to change. It doesn’t help that there are very few weapons. A shotgun and an assault rifle were the only weapons I used throughout the entire game outside of a few areas that called for a rocket launcher. There are supposed to be rebel weapons and Mantel weapons, but they are both the exact same with just different ammo counts. They both feel exactly the same which is ludicrous. There are a couple of interesting ideas like being able to create Nectar grenades to confuse soldiers and make them fight each other. Meleeing enemies and taking their weapons is also a good idea, but it’s all executed so poorly and feels half-baked.
The level design is also bland and uninspired. Boring jungles, boring gray buildings, and hallways, and the game just look half-built. Many buildings are void of any furniture or character. I mean, why are there so many buildings in this world without desks or paintings? Does everyone just live on the floor? Then let’s get into vehicle sections. I don’t think these were ever playtested. The vehicles are floaty, too vulnerable, and scripted vehicle sections actually destroy the vehicle and force you on foot. Imagine any other game with a scripted vehicle sequence like Uncharted and having your vehicle blow up and you just walk on foot through that section while the rest of the sequences trigger. It’s broken and awful and should have been cut completely.
Visuals you say? Outside of the boring design, I guess the game looks decent for an early PS3 game. The game runs well at a good framerate, but it could have looked better. The multiplayer servers have long since shut down, but you’re not missing much at all. For the bargain bin price, I can only recommend this to those wishing to fill a PS3 void that they missed or are just curious. Haze is one of the most infamously awful games and left a stain on the video game timeline forever. It’s short-lived, but you’re better off playing one of the other many amazing shooters on PS3.