Customer Review

26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 2008's Biggest Disappointment, 22 Jun 2008
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Haze (PS3) (Video Game)
Early previews of Haze, (the once promising but heavily delayed PS3 exclusive) seemed to give away all its secrets. Sadly there are no twists or surprises for anyone that has paid attention to Hazes excessive previews. The much publicised defection to the rebels; Promise Hand would have been far more enjoyable without prior knowledge. The twists following are non-existent, with only a discovery in a cargo container providing any highlight for lead Shane Carpenter.

From the opening moment, Hazes visuals are disappointingly shoddy; the jungles look weak, especially when compared to Uncharted: Drakes Fortune. Its laughable this is the best Free Radical could manage. There is nothing here, apart from a few fancy, ultimately pointless effects that couldn't have been done on the previous generation. Animation is also a joke, especially when reviving a fallen comrade. Bodies also levitate in mid air. Vehicle sections are just awful, so broken they should have been left out entirely. In fact only the shooting is solid throughout; and in parts above average. But surely this is to be expected from the makers of TimeSplitters. Strangely, Haze doesent have a very large weapon selection.

The whole game would be seamless if it wasn't for split second blackouts that occur after every "cut scene". This is one of Hazes most frustrating elements and clearly used to hide loading times. Rather than use cut scenes to set up the story, Haze insists on telling every scrap of narrative from Shane Carpenters eyes. This can work, as Half Life 2 proved. But the plot is clunky and amateurish at best, the half second blackouts completely ruining any immersion this approach so desperately tries to create. There are too many moments where a cut scene would have worked better. And they can't be skipped, much like Assassins Creed. In the days of Call of Duty 4 and Bioshock, where so much is experienced by the player, these forced "cut scenes" feel prehistoric.

The voice acting and sound is also a major failing. Carpenter has a different accent in-game to the demo video shown. The same, quotes are used every couple of seconds. "This way", and "No surrender" are heavily overused. By far the most cringe worthy however:
"Is there a medal for being the most bad ass gangster, cause that me".
Even worse is the fact many quotes are used by both Mantel and Promise Hand. It's only a small point, but when both sides are spouting the same macho cliché, it's difficult to believe they are fighting for anything different. Music is average at best.

In the early levels whilst fighting for Mantel, it's even obvious when there are no enemies, as the gun disappears from screen. For me this ruined any tension or suspense. Early previews also suggested that overusing Nectar can lead to hallucinations and side effects, with Carpenter struggling to separate friend from foe. This does sound exciting, yet my first overdose happened without having used Nectar?? This section was even played twice, with it happening at EXACTLY the same point. So nowhere near as subtle or refined as Free Radical have suggested. Nectar is even too scripted to be considered a game-play mechanic. Its also a massive disappointment. The yellow glow caused by this drug is essential to even see the enemy. There are some nice touches, like when on Nectar; the sniper aim is much steadier. Landmines are very well designed. The levels, most notably the cargo ship have flashes of brilliance. But sadly this is too little, far too late for such a high profile game.

Switching sides thankfully provide new gameplay options, but Haze remains a mediocre experience. New options include the ability to play dead. Nectar grenades can also be removed from Mantel soldiers and used as a chemical weapon.
The games climax (aboard the Mantel Land Carrier) had the potential, in spite of everything to give Haze a memorable climax. Yet, much like the rest of the game, it disappoints in a big way. Once aboard, the level involves lots of backtracking, with atrocious signposting and design. Example; wandering back to the start of the level, and finding (purely by chance) that a door has now opened. The ending is also abrupt and unsatisfying for such a narrative driven game. In fact, many levels end suddenly, leaving the impression large chunks have been cut to finally get this game on the shelves.

Haze would have been a terrible game if it'd arrived suddenly and without hype. It just hurts when such a big game fails to deliver, once again.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Dec 2008 13:37:00 GMT
Trigger says:
Good review, and I pretty much wholly agree. This game was such a dissappointment considering all the hype and potential, but especially given it's from the same developers of the excellent TimeSplitters series.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Mar 2009 12:33:59 GMT
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In reply to an earlier post on 7 Mar 2009 11:03:49 GMT
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Posted on 17 Jun 2009 13:09:50 BDT
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