Haze Reader Review
Haze was a game which was overhyped all too much for its own good. What gave it the hype? Was it the craze that the creators were Ubisoft or maybe jealousy that Playstation hadn't had any half decent first person shooters since Resistance: Fall of Man. Calling Haze a piece of garbage or mediocre is harsh but it's to all forgiving to call Haze a good game.
Mantel's motto is to "fight the good fight" which is yes probably the best part of the story. The fights can be exhilarating and thrilling with the only drag of awful artificial intelligence which cannot be said to drag down the whole area of the battles. The missions are never repetitive and have so much variety you will never see anything derivative or repetitive. One mission you could be taking out a mortar crew and using them to your own measure and on the next you could be in a helicopter blasting all in your way with a massive machine gun. The environments aren't beautifully rendered yet there is alot of variety which really help along the variety of missions, suffice to say the game play does get repetitive after a while, and even so with a friend. The action can get a tad tedious enough as to say you'll never be at the edge of your seat. If you could describe the story in means of playability and storytelling, the game would probably win the playability part because of the variety of missions. But if you look at the storytelling side, calling it terrible is a mismatch but it's good enough to keep you engaged along with the missions.
Haze puts you in the shoes of Shane Carpenter. Your family is dead and there is nowhere to go. Mantel a global corporation, takes you in at a young age, not knowing anything about the outside world. You're trained up to be a Mantel trooper and fight the good fight. Fighting evil, what turns out to be good people later on. Being in captivity in a small country all your life and not knowing what the rebels wish to gain, eventually you question, not only that but the newly invented drug to enhance all soldiers in all areas called Nectar begins to go wrong. But while you are in question of the corporation's purpose, people overdose themselves to much with Nectar and start going crazy turning on friends and foe alike. Then you find the rebel leader Skincoat all on your own in a thatched hut just in a position where the games story could possibly end where you can just finish him. He explains the situation and how Mantel really on the whole isn't any good to the world which on the whole is true. You join and take out your old friends one by one and aim to take down Mantel. For good!
There is some variety with enemies although there more focused on the Mantel side rather than rebels. Mantel has flamers and machine gunners which are huge but fit the part to carry these huge weapons as well as Mantel Elites with huge armoured plates. But what could have been seen was some sort of mechanically designed robot for Mantel. Rebels have no variety what so ever except from female to male gender. This gives you a measure of how desperate the rebels are of achieving their objective. Rebels could have used some sort of black ops type soldiers to suit the rebels knifes and stealth too.
The originality in the game lays in the two sides awesome gimmicks if you'd like to call them gimmicks. The Mantel side has the Nectar drug by pressing L2 where if you are a Mantel Trooper can use it to enhance your speed, health and damage as well as a cool vision which puts all enemies not even in your sight in sight in red colour to help find your targets. But the rebels may not be as good, but well in my opinion it is better. In any game is it possible to cheat death? Well you can as a rebel. When pointed out and you're being punched or shot you can press the designated L2 button to play dead. This works very well in campaign especially since the artificial intelligence is already dumb enough. Online it works more than most of the time but some cautious players make sure by shooting you just a bit more however it looks real because online it displays you as killed and then when you get off the ground the kill is taken off the supposedly killer. Both techniques are well implemented and balanced to make a worthwhile add on.
The best part of the game is the fact you can play four player split screen, while the game isn't great. It's a good excuse to play one of the only four player campaign shooters on the next gen consoles don't forget few four player online shooters for that matter. Organizing the settings for more than two players is a mission in itself but once done it can be quite nice to play with friends.
The game play is a cross between good and great because the aiming and cross hair wok perfectly despite some people may prefer the aiming option of L1 as clicking an analogue has been more widely used in tactical shooters where as Haze works as a Run and Gun shooter in most respects. The aiming down sight with an analogue click on works fine in a cover based tactical shooters like Killzone but it just doesn't really shine for Haze where as Haze feels more like a run and gun game compared to Call of Duty. But on the positive side the shooting on the whole while not completely polished feels only just slightly outweighed to other games that really shine like Call of Duty. Weapons are fun to use on the game, Flamers, Machine Guns and all the other big weapons make some awesome sound effects and balanced damage compared to other weapons in the game. But on the inventory side with grenades, Mantel troopers receive grenades while Rebels are given minus or plus if you like Nectar Knifes. They can be hard to master with the weird crosshair although when used correctly they can turn a Mantel Trooper into a friend's worst enemy. This doesn't work especially well online for someone can steal your kill but in campaign mode it can be a real treat to not even shoot someone but rather use them as a slave at your disposal, by throwing a nectar knife you can turn them against Mantel, online players have no control and while they can press R1 to shoot, the player will shoot seconds after they pressed the shoot button. Think of it as a drunken online player! Of course they will go for you too but if you stay a few five metres away they'll just run like a headless chicken killing all enemies in their path until a few ten seconds is up and they die. Flamers are mediocre but given the right situation can be devastating, if it's an online victim you're forced to shake the controller to rid yourself of the flames. While this is tacked on it really proves to be a fun little mini game in itself. Machine Guns are too fair but given the right situation can be devastating with enough patience the gun will start and kill the enemy within a second except for the fact you might be dead by the time the gun starts. Snipers on the other hand while they may be reasonable in campaign are the roosters of online maps especially since you can't sprint. There are two snipers, one kills in one shot but has a slow rate of fire, where as the second takes two shots but is almost like a pistol in rate of fire. A surprise add to the game is the addition of vehicles. The so called Warhog which is such a coincidence that it sound just like its Halo counterpart as well as look just like it. Then you have the standard Rebel Truck which too has a back turret and two passenger seats like the Warhog. While these vehicles are easy to drive, there more easy to drive over someone than kill them with the turret. The vehicles have enough health to make them balanced enough with standard players online. Two missions include using the vehicles, one using the Warhog and the other with the Rebel Truck.
The graphics have seen worse in other games but you can't get very much worse on Haze, well that's too bad but Haze is certainly just above mediocre or just below average when it comes to graphics. Then again you can do alot worse. The graphics in missions vary but aren't frequently the same to be good. The first mission is almost horrible where the second mission is good for that matter although they are varied environments but some environments feel more focused on than others. The characters look a bit pixelated at times but in the enclosed screen not in cut scenes but where you stop playing. The characters suddenly look alot better. Online maps have seen better days but there just not detailed enough to call them epic.
Online is half decent and not many games can you play four players split screen online. Of course setting up four players is easy, right? Well it is for two players but you'll get frustrated trying to set up three or four players as seen in the campaign above. Although possible the settings will have to altered and changed a bit just to get four players then you'll have to change it back when you are the only one playing after your friends have gone home quickly to find out Haze was more trouble than it was worth. The online itself though is pretty fun, although some maps are pretty bland, some will be played most frequently while darker maps have slower frame rates and won't probably be touched upon. Some maps are pretty cool with one featuring vehicles but only one map, then you have a on ground and underground map which is pretty interesting, depending on where you choose to go. As far as scoring goes, there isn't much going on aside from score tracking but then you have headshots, flamer and machine gun kills but weirdly you then get down to how many bullets fired and how many manual reloads. Unfortunately score tracking isn't very fast and takes the scores in every half hour or so which is a disappointment when quickly checking between matches. If you're worried about your score and want to perfect it then you can choose unranked and hopefully play against beginners.
There are three game modes deathmatch, team deathmatch and then Assault. There isn't much variation but Haze seems to be best suited to straight up deathmatches and team deathmatches although Assault is pretty fun provided you understand the complex missions. Missions in Assault are varied and mainly based on campaign missions except there isn't any dumb AI well if you want them, which will come on later. You can have missions where you help push a oil truck forward pass a bridge while the Mantel troopers force the rebels back. There are about three or four missions in total on Assault but have to be played once or twice to get a full jist of the game mode. When I talked about AI, you can play unranked matches against bots which is probably a better way to play online than Ranked since few people play more than ten or so hours online before the game collects dust. You can fill teams up with bots and they'll get replaced with human players when they join the session, this is pretty good instead of waiting for real players to join which can take twenty or so minutes to get 16 players although even though there is dumb AI it isn't frequent enough to get annoying.
All in all, you can't really go wrong with Haze especially since it's only £10 or $15 nowadays but just because it's cheap doesn't mean you have to buy it. It's probably worth buying or keeping if you like a variety of missions and some few hours of online and your friends regularly come over and enjoy playing online if not all at the same time provided you have as many controllers. If you think Haze is bad, it really isn't that bad at all but it isn't good enough for you to pay any more than a couple of £5-$5 notes.
6 / 10