Free Radical Design, creators of the legendary FPS series TimeSplitters and just one of the great companies to be formed from the GoldenEye development team. But we now know them as Crytek UK, so what went wrong? Did they succumb to the harsh reality of the financial depression? Did they take too long with a title? Did their publisher let them go? The answer lies with one title, one title that broke the Splitters, stopped Battlefront III and ultimately, destroyed Free Radical. A game that transformed the lives of many, that destroyed jobs and… okay enough. It’s Haze.
Haze is set in the future where some big corporation called Mantel has taken over everything and some rebel group called Promise Hand is trying to set things right! The thing is, these Mantel guys have this thing called Nectar which is basically a drug. It helps them see stuff, perform better, be stronger but it also screws with their minds or something. This is where you come in, Shane Carpenter, who you’ll call Ed because that’s what I want you to do and Shane is what I call my cat. Well anyway, he’s a Mantel soldier and at some early point in the game he realizes that DRUGS ARE BAD! He then switches sides!
For starters, the whole gimmick of Nectar instantly falls flat on its face when at an early point in the game, you lose the ability to use it. It doesn’t really add any other effect to the way you play the game either, it just makes you run faster and the enemies light up like New Years Eve. Aside from that, there’s no real other need for the whole gimmick, other than the fact you can ‘take advantage’ of Nectar when you join the other side. But really there’s only one thing you need to know. When you’re on the Mantel side, you’re practically invincible and the Rebels are as weak as paper, when you’re on the Rebels’ side then all the Mantel soldiers are weak as paper.
I can understand being a sneaky guerrilla rebel would have its advantages over a high-tech supercharged, armored small army of sorts, but the problem is, there’s no really tactics or things you can really take advantage of. If you start getting blown to bits, you can just dive on the floor and play dead but other than that, it’s your usual FPS. Shoot to kill. There’s no gameplay change, and I almost feel like Radical felt that too much change at once would hurt the players feelings! Oh no, poor poor gamer! He hurt his little feelings because he didn’t want to have his play style change. Poor poor gamer!
Other than that… what can I say about Haze? The environments are… meh. The jungle starting level is okay but after that it becomes muddy brown cliff bases or dodgy vehicle sections. There’s no characters to really relate to and nothing to spice up the action. It’s as generic as it gets, and I’m still actually boggled how it went this way. Free Radical, FPS giants, created one of the most generic and awful FPSs ever. These are some of the same guys who made GoldenEye, and there’s nothing here to show for it. The development for this thing started back in 2005 too, they had plenty of time to make their usual awesome FPS. More than enough time.
I would comment on multiplayer but it’s basically the same as single-player but with other guys piled in. Nothing unique stands out and there’s no real charm to it other than seeing how Free Radical messed up. Before I actually close this episode of GTNPA, I would like to say I do review good games once in a while. But I started this series in order to look back at the past, and maybe, just maybe, someone will read my little articles and fix all these things. Fix them all in a title like no other, a game like no other. A game that everybody plays…