This weekend, intrepid PSU reporter Rob Zwetsloot got his hands on Haze at the Play.com Live event. Known among his peers to view FPS single player modes with mild indifference, will Haze lift his apathy?
Looking around the middle level of the show, you can’t help but notice the presence of Haze. A few separate booths circle a food stand emblazoned with Haze boards, and helpful Ubisoft staff greet you and introduce you to the demo pods of the game.
The demo itself contained four levels of the single player campaign, set in forest and desert environments. We spawn as the protagonist, Shane Carpenter, with an Assault Rifle and a side arm among our AI controlled team mates. A brief cutscene sets up the level, and in this particular one it seems we’re looking for a crashed aircraft.
Looking at the screen, the HUD is clean and uncluttered. A thin compass shows your heading and objective location at the top, while nectar and health are shown in the bottom corners. Weapon information concerning rounds and magazines are shown on the gun you are using, with outline of selectable weapons in top right corner and remaining grenades in top left. Also, like the Metroid Prime games, you can see a small part of your visor on the bottom corners of the screen, but this does not affect your view in any way.
Using your weapon is a standard affair. You get an onscreen cross hair for rough aiming, and can press L1 to go into aiming mode, similar to Call of Duty. The main rifle does a decent job of mowing down the bad guys you’ll encounter, and your AI team mates seem to be proficient enough with it to not require you to be Rambo.
The crown jewel of the weapons we encountered was the default side arm you receive. Equipped with a scope, it’s similar to the Magnum from the original Halo, albeit with the power of the Magnum from Gears of War. Effectively, you’re carrying around a hand cannon with a sniper zoom, and because of this, we ended up entering many an area and sniping soldiers with it. Shots from this thing tended to floor any opponent, and the gun itself had a meaty recoil to match. We likey.
In close range however, it’s better to change to your assault rifle, as the rate of fire on the magnum is very low. There is a melee attack in the game, but the range of it is not very large, and is more used in situations where you turn round and someone is right freaking there. A developer told us that this is because “we didn't want people to get into those button mashing melee contests”, and that we should “think of it like a special move, like a Dragon Punch”. To get the most out of it, timing and distance must be very accurate, but the rewards are worth it.
Going back to weapons for a moment, you have so many magazines, and when you reload any rounds left in the discarded magazine are not kept, much like Battlefield or Flashpoint. You can, however, pick up more magazines like you would ammo in some games. You can also pick up weapons from fallen Promise Hand men. They’re rifle has many more rounds per mag, and you can then obviously pick up your foes magazines. This comes in handy if you run out of ammo for your main rifle.
So how does it play? Well for those who don’t know, one of the key features of Haze is the nectar, a performance-enhancing drug that you and your buddies can take. It increases your speed, highlights enemies, and gives you a greater resistance to damage. You can merely tap L2 to administer a quick dose, which will fill up about two-thirds of your Nectar metre, or you can hold it down to increase your dose.
When you’re sufficiently high enough on the stuff, enemies are highlighted in yellow, and your in game speed is increased. Both of these are good, as the character's movement in the game is very sluggish when not pumped up with nectar. Also, in some areas that ... (continued on next page)
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