Haze, the latest release from Ubisoft and developer Free Radical Design and exclusive PS3 title, was a game I thought I would really enjoy since I’m such a sci-fi shooter lover. I played the demo, I decided to play more. Do I regret that decision? Read on, dear friends, read on…
Alright, I can’t fake it here, this was a major disappointment. The thing that really bothers me though is how easily this game could have been better, well, the story anyway. The premise is this: you’re a Mantel soldier born into a world where “things aren’t right…until you make them right.” Sigh. Moving on, so you are in a propaganda pumping organization that enhances their soldiers with “Nectar”, a super drug that gives you Far Cry: Instincts like powers. It’s fun hitting a button and getting all super vision, but seriously why not just use infrared goggles…Silly. So you and your team have to go into the jungles of “Boa” to retrieve a lost shipment of Nectar, and en route you get into weird philosophical arguments with your fellow sergeant about why you are in this country, why the natives don’t know what’s good for them, and why Nectar is so great. You pretty much feel weird about the whole Nectar thing, and if the shitty bad writing didn’t tell you, your character’s over-top-voice acting sure will.
After you lose the shipment and get all creeped that your reality is starting to get a bit less black and white than you had thought, your team is sent in to capture the leader of the resistance: Skin Coat. Yeah…he is said to wear the skins of his enemies…in coat form…buttons and all…Social commentary in science fiction is oh so much more effective when it’s not ridiculous. Skin Coat. Skin Coat. What kind of evil rebel leader name is that? Not much of one…
Anyway, you know where the game is headed before the game even really starts so I don’t even have to tell you what happens next but yes, you go over to the other side: The Promised Hand. Fighting against your crazy Nectar pumping buddies! And this time you can use what you know about them to your advantage, like overdosing them on Nectar and fun things like that. Well, they would be fun if the game wasn’t so boring that you wanted to stop playing it as soon as you possibly could.
Yeah, the dumbness (that’s not even a word) of the heavy-handed plot just smacks you in the face so much, you can’t enjoy yourself. Why did this game have to be so damn obvious? Why couldn’t they just pull it back a little, take their time, and really pace and place the story so that you didn’t know what side you were on, what good or bad was, and really frak with your perceptions! Because…the story/single player campaign is just a weak, brittle vehicle to get people on the multiplayer. Up to 4 player co-op, lots of online multiplayer action, but guess what, you either have to have an exceptional FPS experience that forces people on their hands and needs to play it online (Call of Duty 4) or you have a game that gives a great campaign experience and its multiplayer awesomeness is a delightful side effect (Halo 1). Not a half-assed Far Cry knock off with a shitty story that makes you so mad you don’t even want to play multiplayer! You want to spit on the disc for wasting your time. See how the anger just bubbles up when you have to play a game like this for too long?
Then there’s this beast:
When I saw it I was so excited, I thought “Oh joy, Warthogerry!” but…nay nay…nay nay…This thing sucks, not because it’s clunky, but because boarding the damn thing is so difficult! Press square it says, seemingly fifteen presses later I finally mount up. Maybe it was just my controller being laggy, wireless and all, but I doubt it. I says glitch! Also, the AI was so lame they wouldn’t drive it for me and took forever to get in the damned thing after I did. I was perturbed…
There were some weird load times too, and silly checkpoint dialogue that just made the whole experience so distorted, I mean I don’t mind knowing when I hit a checkpoint or two, but make it seamless, make it flow! Especially on a PS3!
Okay basic gameplay was fine, guns were fine, I really liked the grenades (my biggest gripe in shooters are when the ‘nades suck, I hate that) but with no story to really grip or drive me, what’s the point?
This game failed on the primary levels a game needs in order for me to adore it. I wasn’t thrust into awesome never-before-seen action immediately, I was given a sermon (a short one) with over-the top voice acting on all sides. I hated my character and wished I could punch his face. I just felt let down as soon as I heard the name Skin Coat. I mean really…Can developers read some Philip K. Dick or something? Can we get some subtle storytelling, some kick ass pacing, some gods damned unique energy here! So I stopped playing this game and I don’t want to play it again. It makes me tired thinking of playing this game.
Instead of Haze, I’m playing darkSector.
And that game, my dear friends, is a game that went above and beyond on every level to satisfy me and boy do I adore it. But I’ll save that for another day.
Til then…Don’t play Haze.