Free Radical ain't fooling with the multi-player side of Haze
. So serious are the Nottingham-based developer and Ubisoft on the subject that I was recently dragged down to that London and the luxury of the PlayStation Rooms to sample it alongside the four-player co-op. Oh, how I kicked and screamed...
My findings with the co-op can be found here
, but for a tour of the multi-player, keep your eyes moving down the page.
Firstly, you should know that the multi-player component of the game is no tacked-on affair, as can often be found with the online elements of shooters that have a deep single-player campaign. A cursory glance at the options and tactics available to you as you get busy trying to fill your opponents with lead, steel and drugs bears that out.
On the one side you've got the Mantel Troopers. For the uninitiated, they're the corporate pay rolled private army of a corporation paid to suppress a rebellion in the deep dark depths of South America. They're also the guys with the funky-looking neon helmets/rave-wear in just about every piece of promotional materiel you've ever seen for Haze
The Mantel Troopers are also on drugs. Nectar, to be specific. It's a performance-enhancing concoction created to make better soldiers. For democracy and all that. It's a nice yellow colour, a bit like honey. Sounds pleasant, eh? Well, possibly not as far as the game's story goes, but we're not concerned with that here.
For the purposes of multi-player, Nectar is very nice indeed. It does numerous helpful things such as make your enemies ultra-visible, increase your speed and strength and boost your healing capabilities.
When I spoke to Derek 'Sizzlin'' Littlewood, the project leader on Haze
, (quite) a while ago, he said that Free Radical expect less experienced players to favour the Mantel Troopers online. Having given it a whirl, I concur.
The problem in this instance, of course, is that we were all 'less experienced', given that we were playing a game that isn't out yet. That, however, is a problem for the rebel Promised Hand soldiers that we'll get to later.
Playing with the Mantel Troopers is a joy. They particularly stood out in the swamp level I played. The swamp does what it says on the tin. It's damp, wet and a bit miserable. Like Satan's armpit, but with guys in neon tactical gear running around and shooting guns. Throw in a foggy atmosphere that almost seems to congeal around you and you've got a darn good use for the glowy look your opponents get when you're jacked-up on Nectar.
In those murky depths we were playing Team Deathmatch. Kill their guys, don't kill your own. Simple stuff. The controls as a Mantel Trooper are relatively straightforward. Shoot, chuck a grenade, squat, zoom... all the usual stuff for an FPS.
As well as the afore-mentioned heightened visibility of the other side, the warning ripple that moves out in front of an explosive when you're on Nectar proved pretty useful, too. I barely got blown up at all! I will be surprised, however, if it remains as easy to stay un-exploded once I'm playing against opponents with more than an hour or two's experience.