Haze Preview - 07/08/2007

Haze is Free Radicals first Playstation 3 game and it looks great, but what lies ahead for this strange shooter?

First of all I’ll give you the background story. Free Radical was founded in 1999 by Dave Doak, with many of its members having worked on Goldeneye 64. They're well known for the popular Time Splitters series, but for Doak's first go at developing for a ‘next-gen’ console he opted to primarily develop on the PS3 and recently issued a statement that when companies develop for the Xbox 360 and then port over to the PS3, it can have negative results. Whereas if you develop on the PlayStation first, then port to other systems – you reap the benefits. Although this could be another one of those ‘You can’t win anything with kids’ statements, Dave hopes to prove his theory with the forthcoming Haze.

The game is set in 2048, in a world where everything is controlled by a company who go by the name of ‘Mantel Global Industries’. Everything from the world army, to everyone’s toasters are handled by Mantel. You play Shane Carpenter, an elite soldier who works for this company in order to ‘Fight The Good Fight’. As the leading private military corporation [PMC] they can offer the best weapons, gadgets and vehicles, but to put the icing on the cake they also offer Nectar. Now Nectar is a substance that has been developed for soldiers to use, and when it is injected into the back of the neck it acts as a performance enhancing drug. Mantel troopers, during the use of this drug, are faster, have quicker reactions and have far better aiming. Their foes light up, and it’s much easier to notice incoming grenades aswell. There is a downside or two though. Soldiers can overdose, which blurs the screen, noticeably worsens aiming and ultimately makes team-mates and enemies indistinguishable, resulting in hell for yourself and everyone around you.

Now Mantel are fighting against a rebel force who go by the name of ‘The Promise Hand’ hence the red hand for a logo. It’s said that these rebels believe that Nectar has one major negative effect that most troopers are unaware of. Their theory is that when administered, soldiers automatically believe that Mantel are fighting for a good cause, and keeps them in line and bloodthirsty. Shane finds this out about half way through when he stops taking Nectar and sees 20 or so bodies lying dead on the floor before him. When on the yellow stuff, he thought nothing of this, but as soon as he stopped taking it he realized that he didn’t like killing people just because Mantel say so, he wanted to do the right thing. So, he joins The Promise Hand.

Now, you may be thinking how can a normal person have any chance against these Nectar-injected super soldiers. Well you’d be wrong! The rebels have a few tricks up their sleeves too. After taking a lot of damage, they can ‘play dead’ meaning they fall to the floor for a number of seconds. Mantel troopers, as I mentioned before, feel as if everything is going their way. So if a Rebel goes down after he shoots him, an alarm goes off telling him he’s dead and he should move on. Then, the rebel gets back up and kills him. Another neat thing that they can do is steal guns from the soldiers. The last thing a soldier expects is for someone to kick him in face, nick his gun and kill him with it. The next few are more Mantel's fault then anything. Rebels have the ability to shoot or cut open [with a secondary weapon, usually a knife] the canisters that hold the Nectar, which stuns the troopers for a matter of seconds leaving them with an easy kill. Or, they could attach it to a grenade and double the impact.

The graphics are looking sublime, running on a PS3. The smoke effects are astonishing; they’re probably the best smoke effects on a console game right now. Oh, and if you were wondering from some videos released a while back, that Haze is a jungle shooter, you’d be wrong again. Haze is set in lots of different scenes from city to jungle, but the jungles that have been shown do look the part.

If you’re still in need of some Haze love, google Haze Developer Diary. As free radical have , at the time of writing, released 3 diaries. Which are all good. In the most recent one, Dave Doak mentions online functionality. He says that there will be some objective modes as well as the standard deathmatches, and that at this moment in time it’s looking like 1-24 people online! 2 modes that have been revealed include escorting a V.I.P and assaulting a defensive position. Not to mention the four player online ‘jump-in jump-out’ co-op campaign.

Pre-Verdict: With what’s looking like great graphics, and an involving storyline, plus the co-op modes, Haze is looking like it could be the main rival to Halo this year.



Free Radical Design
PS3 - 360 - PC