In the world of Haze, armies have been privatized, and one army in particular – Mantel – uses a powerful pharmaceutical called “Nectar” to keep its soldiers in fighting form. You start the game as a rookie member of Mantel, fighting a rebel group calling themselves the Promise Hand.
Fighting as a member of Mantel has its ups and downs. Juicing up on Nectar makes your enemies glow, allows you to take a lot of damage, to deal out death with a simple melee attack, and generally kick some ass. The down side is that, when you’re not juiced, enemies are really hard to see. It is, also, possible to overdose, sending you into a murderous frenzy in which neither friend nor foe is safe.
But those who aren’t members of Mantel have their own advantages. The ability to adapt ammo to any weapon, to play “dead” and effectively camouflage themselves from Mantel soldiers, and the ability to set traps using conventional weapons, to name just a few. None of this really does a whole lot for the campaign mode in Haze, but it does for the multiplayer modes on tap. At least, that’s what you’d hope.
Here’s the problem -- despite all of the creativity used to build the two sides in this game, Haze still plays like an incredibly average first-person shooter with some very sloppy design issues. Play as a member of the Hand and you feel incredibly naked, not to mention having to deal with very confusing level design that leaves you wandering around lost more than driving any sort of action. Play as a member of Mantel and, unless you’re juiced up, you’re pretty much just as useless. Hand members are almost impossible to see without using Nectar to enhance your vision. Then you have to deal with the stupid, story-driven game play segments that interrupt your abilities. These sections are so frustrating that you’ll want to heave your expensive Dual Shock 3 through the nearest window.
Perhaps these areas are so hard to accept because the narrative they’re meant to support is almost insulting in its delivery. The “good guys” you’re supposedly fighting for are so overtly evil from the second the game starts right up to the painfully obvious “twist” that you find yourself praying for it to finally happen, so the real game can begin. Only to find out that the real game isn’t much better than what you already went through. Throw in a bunch of other glitches and weird design choices, including enemies that appear but can’t be harmed until they’re “activated” and lengthy, trial-and-error driving segments with horrible controls and you’ve got yourself one lackluster shooter.
The online component of Haze generally plays better than the campaign which can also be played with up to three other players cooperatively. There’s nothing remotely compelling enough in the online modes good enough to take the focus away from the disappointing single-player mode.
• Decent online component
• Creative abilities
• Bad level design
• Crappy driving segments
• Decidedly average action
• Recycled plot
• Stereotypical character design