Haze Preview

GoldenEye 007. TimeSplitters. These are first person shooters that you think of when you think of purity at what it does. Now, Haze, developed by Free Radical Entertainment, where several members of its team were responsible for the N64 hit, and for last generation’s premier shooter (besides Halo). Looking to be a Playstation 3 shooter to hit the mark perfectly, will Haze meet the expectations of players hungry to PWN once again?

I spent several hours with Ubisoft and Free Rad’s latest project over the last few days, and it does look like it’s shaping up very well. The first thing I noticed was how simple the controls were. Haze is a very traditional shooter. There are no alternate fire buttons, just your regular shot, and a melee button. Clicking the right stick down lets you zoom in for better aim. The framerate is a constant 30, and moving is very smooth and quick. The last shooter I remember that had controls this simple and easy to hop right into was Resistance. So, on the control side of things Haze is very impressive.

The enemies on the rebel side, move in packs. I never spotted any alone, and the few times I did, that’s because I’d killed all their buddies. They aren’t the smartest guys, but they aren’t demented like in Rainbow Six, and they have pretty good aim. Their arsenal of weapons isn’t vast, they are limited to their own take of an automatic rifle, with iron sights.

Graphically, Haze isn’t the greatest looking shooter. Textures could have been better done, and character models may have been sharpened a bit. However, special effects like explosions are great, the plants in the jungle are vibrant, and the framerate is constantly smooth. It doesn’t have the shine of something like Call of Duty, but it definitely isn’t ugly. Overall, this is a visually appealing game, from what I’ve seen.

Nectar is simple to use. When on it, enemies glow, so you can pick them out, your aiming is zoomed in so you can get those headshots from far away, you move much quicker, and your melee attack will wipe enemies off the map. In a few instances when your teammates overdose, they become a huge threat, and you might have to kill them to save your own life. It’s a neat addition, and is very original, and is one of the best things Haze has going for it.

I don’t want to give away too much, so I’ll end it here. From the little bit I’ve played and seen, Haze, although ultimately average, is a very fun and easy to play shooter, with some deep elements thrown in for good measure. Sometimes it’s good to go back to your roots, and that looks like what Haze is doing. Check back after its release for my review.

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~ by smithbubbajones on May 12, 2008.

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