Reviews// Haze

Posted 22 May 2008 16:08 by
Companies:
Games: Haze
We all find ourselves, when trawling the shelves of Morrisons (and trying desperately not to touch anyone), reaching for things we wouldn't normally buy because it's 'two-for-one'. That compulsion is also the schtick (or 'high concept') for Free Radical's much-anticipated shooter, Haze. Two games in one! You've got your neon-clad, chest-bumping Mantel Troopers in one half of the game and your sincere, filthy rebel types in the other. Two sides of a conflict. Two styles of game-play. Sounds like a good deal, eh?

The basic premise goes thusly: it is the future, the military has been privatised. Operations that are currently dealt with in Middle-Eastern countries by jarheads under the employ of the 'Axis of Goodness' are now dealt with in other Third World countries by jarheads under the employ of multi-national corporations.

Not content with your regular brand of grunt, however, the Mantel Corporation has opted to soup its soldiers up a bit. Because narcotics have been a military tradition since the days of World War I (interesting fact ? cocaine was given to soldiers as a stimulant in the trenches) Mantel has decided to go with drug-based enhancement for its boys.

So it is that we find a bunch of Mantel Troopers off to an unnamed South American country to suppress some pesky insurgents. 'Why?' you may reasonably ask. You're a thinking type. Good for you. But you ain't gonna find out what's up at the start of Haze.

As things kick off, you're just going to know that you're in the company of a bunch of testosterone-fuelled meatheads with a seeming penchant for European club-wear (think Christian Bale in Harsh Times if he liked to thrust glo-sticks around to the sound of mid-90s Rave). After a spot of setup to this effect on the Mantel Land Carrier (like an aircraft carrier, but on land ? very expensive, I imagine) you'll see a plane go down. Off you go to investigate...

I was quickly indoctrinated into one of the features that sets Haze apart from its first-person shooter brethren ? Nectar, Mantel's performance-enhancing drug.

Nectar grants you a range of abilities lifts you above a regular Middle-American, gun-toting Joe Blow. The most apparent is the way it lights up your enemies. They take on a yellow luminance that makes them easier to pick out amidst the cover scattered around Haze's various missions. It's neat. It's especially neat when used in conjunction with the impressive zoom that Mantel helmets equip you with. Combining the zoom with even the most rudimentary of weapons to pick off enemies at great distance is satisfying in a psychopathic way.

Other abilities granted by Nectar include increased speed and strength. The strength, unfortunately, is only really evident when you perform a melee attack ? but what a melee attack! Sending your opponent sprawling with a thwack to the head using the butt of your weapon is most pleasing. You'll also find your healing is sped up while under the influence.

Probably the strangest ability imbued upon Mantel troopers by Nectar is the mysterious power to anticipate explosions. This is marked by a ripple spreading from the object that's about to go boom. Evidently, pharmaceutical companies are set to make impressive headway over the next few years in take humanity into the realm of pre-cognisance...
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Companies:
Games: Haze

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Comments

Showing the 20 most recent comments. Read all 25.
Tim Smith 23 May 2008 11:30
6/25
Condorman wrote:
In football there's a well used phrase "consolation goal", used when a team gets soundly thrashed and scores a goal right at the last minute. I was suggesting that if someone from Free Radical saw your review they might feel in the position of someone scoring a goal in the dying seconds of a 7-nil thrashing.


As a fan of Bristol Rovers, I'm sadly well aware of the 'consolation goal' and thrashings in terms of your definition.

I can understand your footy-based analogy. Point taken. However, the lack of context in the first two postings did indicate that you were accusing SPOnG of pandering to Free Radical. That - like seeing Bristol City in the Championship play-offs - is guaranteed to raise my hackles.

Our policy has always been not to read anybody else's reviews before writing our own. We've certainly not pandered to any developer or publisher.

Condorman wrote:
I wasn't insulting the editorial on your site for a second. Having said that though, I think I might stick to Eurogamer in future, where the editorial staff don't feel the need to wave their grammatical penis (or "phallus grammaticus" to use the original latin) in the face of the only reader who felt like leaving a comment.


Okay, but I would say that your first line in your second post:

Condorman wrote:
"Do you know what the word 'consolation' means? Or is it the word 'review' that you're having difficulty with?"


was just a little on the "Oi, Tim, you are an idiot who doesn't know words!".

Can't expect a bloke not to respond in kind to that kind of a thing, can you?

I'm more than happy to debate a point with a reader who - as you did - bothered to leave a comment.

All the best

Tim

"Phallus grammaticus" :-)
Condorman 23 May 2008 11:36
7/25
Well I actually didn't realise that you were the editor, so I kind of responded as if you were just "random guy from internet".

I'm sure you've met that guy before, he's an ass!
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schnide 23 May 2008 11:42
8/25
Condorman wrote:
I wasn't insulting the editorial on your site for a second. Having said that though, I think I might stick to Eurogamer in future, where the editorial staff don't feel the need to wave their grammatical penis (or "phallus grammaticus" to use the original latin) in the face of the only reader who felt like leaving a comment.


Personally, the fact that editorial is willing to engage in discussions with it's readers is one of the reasons that I come to Spong every day, and rarely any other site.

(That's meant to be a good thing, by the way)
Tim Smith 23 May 2008 11:46
9/25
Condorman wrote:
I'm sure you've met that guy before, he's an ass!


I hate that guy.

Cheers

Tim
PreciousRoi 23 May 2008 11:56
10/25
hah!

I love it, keep on swinging...
Tim Smith 23 May 2008 11:57
11/25
schnide wrote:
Personally, the fact that editorial is willing to engage in discussions with it's readers is one of the reasons that I come to Spong every day, and rarely any other site.

(That's meant to be a good thing, by the way)


I feel quite moved by that, and I've not even had my first vodka of the day.

Cheers

Tim

Now I have.
Spinface 23 May 2008 11:58
12/25
I guess it's about time I stuck my oar in, having written the review in question.

Firstly, I haven't read any reviews of Haze (other than my own). Since it went up, though, I have taken a look at Metacritic to see some of the scores. My feeling is that Haze is getting a bigger kicking than it deserves.

Haze is, unfortunately, less than phenomenal. That doesn't mean it's not a really solid title, however. It just doesn't live up to the hype. I can't help but wonder if the oodles of hype have provoked the bad scores in reaction to it... But, like I said, I haven't read them yet, so I can't say for sure.

In any case, I'm standing by the review I gave it - flawed, but still decent.



Tim Smith 23 May 2008 12:02
13/25
PreciousRoi wrote:
hah!I love it, keep on swinging...


Say what now?
PreciousRoi 23 May 2008 12:13
14/25
oh, that grammatical wingwang of yourn...couldn't help envisioning Eddie Murphy from RAW swinging his microphone over his shoulder.
JimmyD 23 May 2008 12:17
15/25
Having read most reviews around and finally getting my hands on a copy yesterday I thought your review was teh most accurate I've read. Yes its flawed but it's still a game I'm more than happy to own. Haze has suffered by people being overly critical (some reviews have flat out lied about it) and there are other sgames liek gta4 and halo 3 which have received the opposite treatment of getting reviews that they simply didn't deserved. I can't understand how a game like gta4 with so many flaws can get so many perfect scores or high 90's. It's hard to find unbias reviews any more but Spong seems to be one of the few out there.
Tim Smith 23 May 2008 13:27
16/25
PreciousRoi wrote:
oh, that grammatical wingwang of yourn...couldn't help envisioning Eddie Murphy from RAW swinging his microphone over his shoulder.


I have a icecream, I have a icecream... do you want some of my icecream?

(not Raw).

Tim
schnide 23 May 2008 14:11
17/25
Spinface wrote:
Since it went up, though, I have taken a look at Metacritic to see some of the scores.


Question - why aren't SPOnG's scores reported on Metacritic?
Tim Smith 23 May 2008 14:20
18/25
schnide wrote:
Question - why aren't SPOnG's scores reported on Metacritic?


Now, there lies a long and dull story. It is, however, a story that I in the midst of putting a happy ending on.

God, I could work for a platform holder with that kind of non-answer [self-slap].

I am going through the process of proving the Metacritic that SPOnG reviews meet all of its criteria.

Cheers

Tim
DoctorDee 24 May 2008 07:18
19/25
Condorman wrote:
I think I might stick to Eurogamer in future, where the editorial staff don't feel the need

You've hit the nail on the head there... the difference between us and Eurogamer. At SPOnG, every single person involved with the site plays video games.

At Eurogamer, the guy who funded the whole thing, he doesn't play games - his sons do. Their non-executive director, Greg Ingham, who made millions of pounds out of video games at Future Publishing, he's never played a video game for recreational purposes in his life.

I don't mean to pick on Eurogamer specifically here, we know the guys there, and they are good guys. Greg is certainly my mentor, and an old friend of mine. Almost all the "major" gaming sites are the same - they are run by people who don't give a f**k about games except as a way of making money. Our site is run by people who love games and gaming, as a way of enjoying ourselves.

So we view the forums here as a way of engaging with people with whom we share a hobby and interest, rather than just a way of increasing page count by having swathes of inane fanboy drivel. If those people want to argue about etymology, that's fine with us.

As for Haze, I haven't played it yet. But I will be this weekend. Once i've oiled my decking ;-)


tyrion 24 May 2008 13:16
20/25
DoctorDee wrote:
Once i've oiled my decking ;-)

"Oiling the decking" - euphemism at its finest!
DoctorDee 24 May 2008 16:27
21/25
tyrion wrote:
"Oiling the decking" - euphemism at its finest!

You know, as I typed it, I could hear you "verbing the noun".
I drilled the wall, then I hosed the patio, and finally I oiled the deck. Pausing only to stroke the cat.

Joji 30 May 2008 11:01
22/25
Problem with Haze is it took to long to get to shelves, slowly simmering on hype and vids. In that time we've had Bioshock, Portal, Call of Duty 4 and Halo 3, all better games that do some cool stuff. All those games make me glad I have a 360.

And Haze has.....nectar. The Spong review was good and fair though, but I guess most PS3 owners will bag it. Each to their own, but it still seems like an average okay shooter.

By the way, Tim, is it still okay for us Sponger's to submit game reviews?
Tim Smith 30 May 2008 11:08
23/25
Joji wrote:
Problem with Haze is it took to long to get to shelves, slowly simmering on hype and vids. In that time we've had Bioshock, Portal, Call of Duty 4 and Halo 3, all better games that do some cool stuff. All those games make me glad I have a 360.


Killzone 2
Too Human
Spore
Fable 2
Halo Wars
darkSector
Home
GT4 on PSP

and... of course... GTA IV

Not sure if waiting for a game is really the problem.


Joji wrote:
By the way, Tim, is it still okay for us Sponger's to submit game reviews?


Joji, SPOnGer reviews are always welcome.

Cheers

Tim
Joji 23 Jun 2008 22:44
24/25
Okay, cheers Tim.

What I meant, is that time is kinder to some genres of game than others. FPS games are rife these days, all lookling for our dollars and pounds, and each would have to try something different to succeed.

I guess what Haze is doing wasn't enough, when compared to a Portal or Bioshock.
config 24 Jun 2008 08:59
25/25
DoctorDee wrote:
As for Haze, I haven't played it yet. But I will be this weekend. Once i've oiled my decking ;-)

I have, and I quite enjoyed it. I've only tackled the single player campaign, and while it's an accomplished FPS it's a bit short and gives me that nagging feeling that substantial chunks of the narrative (and thereby accompanying "levels") have been torn out to speed the game to delivery.

However, I found the balancing spot on - I regularly felt pressured by the enemy, often hanging on with little life/energy, but managed to just make it past them and recuperate.

I haven't played the on-line stuff yet - if past FRD games are a template, it should be a treat. Timesplitters multiplayer was fun even when playing against AI.

Now, if it would just stop pissing it down and blowing dust in the wind, I 'd get to oiling my decking...
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