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Game Profile
PlayStation 3
Free Radical Design
GENRE: First Person Shooter
May 20, 2008


 Written by Kris Rosado  on April 24, 2008

Final Glimpse: Impressions of Free Radical's Nectar Induced Shooter

Oh Haze, you were expected to be out last year? on two separate occasions and now your publisher, Ubisoft, is telling us that you will be coming out on May 20th definitely. So let's see what all that release date fuss was about and see if even more importantly, gamers should still care about you.

Like every other shooter, there is some cobbled together story about a war or revolution against an oppressive regime. Like half of those shooters, you end up turning on your former comrades and mercilessly slaughtering them because we haven't yet figured out how to create an A.I. that remembers the good times we had. But Haze takes war games a step further by introducing the use of hallucinogenic drugs in the form of ?Nectar.?

Players will be taking the role of Shane Carpenter, a soldier of the Mantel Global Industries. Mantel Global Industries created the Nectar under the guise of a nutritional supplement and distributed it to the Mantel soldiers. The effects of the Nectar remove death and destruction from a soldier's mind, instead replacing the disturbing images with over-glorifying ones of the carnage they commit. Halfway through the story, which takes place over the course of three days, Shane Carpenter becomes aware of the effects of Nectar, he then turns rogue, joining up with the rebel group, Promise Hand to fight the corporation he once was a part of. The plot of Haze seems to be echoing anti-war themes of the Vietnam War, most notably the conspiracy of the military's use of BZ on our troops during the war to create fanatical soldiers similar to the Mantel troops.

Plot aside, Haze will be bringing us a unique approach at to how we will be playing an FPS. The use of Nectar to boast combat skills to super-human levels via the Disparity Rendering System is certainly an interesting concept. Every time you inject Nectar, your HUD's peripheral perception becomes ?hazy? while you're central vision becomes increasingly focused allowing you to see and hear everything that happens around you not to mention that gamers with a DualShock 3 will feel a vibration. Nectar will also allow you to use special abilities such as: Nectar Focus, Nectar Foresight, Nectar Perception, and Melee Blast.

Nectar isn't the only advantage giving element, sometimes a little straight thinking human ingenuity goes a long way as well. When playing as a rebel you will not have direct access to Nectar, so to balance things out rebels have their own abilities such as: Play Dead, Weapon Stealing, and the deadly Nectar Grenade. Playing dead allows you to trick your enemies into believing you no longer are a threat, meanwhile you are really just regenerating health. Weapon stealing is just like it sounds, you steal the opponent's weapons ala some quick Jackie Chan-ish moves. The Nectar grenade is actually the move I am most interested in using, basically it is a normal grenade with a Nectar administrator attached causing a yellow gaseous explosion that makes Mantel troops who are exposed to it; to essentially overdose on Nectar. An overdose of Nectar results in psych-outs and even death. Thanks to the use of the Conspire A.I. system, your opponents will all have access to these moves as well and will even be able to react slightly unpredictably to situations (it is still an A.I. after all).

Haze will also feature the FPS essential multiplayer in a variety of yet to be named modes. One we do know of is the four-player co-op mode which will allow players to be on either side, Mantel or Promise Hand, and gives players the opportunity to unveil hidden story elements. You can get a taste of the four-player action in early May when the demo is set to hit the PlayStation Store.

Final Thoughts
So should gamers still care about Haze? Absolutely, by combing an interesting plot and some equally interesting game mechanics, Haze definitely has the potential to become one of the greatest FPS games. Now let's just hope that all those delays were to add some polish and not just to be coy about exclusivity.

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