"So, I just want you to know that I'm here with the angle of what makes Haze different than just another first person shooter." Free Radical Lead David Doak nods politely.
See, I have this theory. It's not really a theory, really, and it's not my original idea. But every year we see people excited about some new FPS. We hear its features—the way it's doing things differently. And we're generally sold (anyone remember the Prey media blitz?) As Crecente wrote in his earlier feature, Haze is all about the asymmetric gameplay. One side is the Mantel, super juiced soldiers who have an incredible amount of battlefield awareness and general killing skill. The rebels, on the other hand, are more about versatility and adaptability than brute force.
At all times as a rebel, it's your job to figure out how to use Mantel's precious nectar against them, be it by:
1. Shooting the drug administration canister on their backs to make the soldiers overdose and go berserk. 2. Killing the soldiers and taking their drug packs, quickly modifying the technology into a grenade to make the soldiers overdose and go berserk. 3. Stabbing soldiers with a haze-covered knife to make the soldiers overdose and go berserk.
You begin to wonder why the rebels can only induce control the flow of drugs one way, despite using just about every weapon at their disposal. Why isn't drug withdrawal an issue in multiplayer? Why can't the rebels grab a haze pack before killing a Mantel soldier, rendering his opposition's aim shaky, strength lower and susceptibility to damage higher?
Maybe a Mantel soldier, finding his stash pickpocketed, could have a set time to find a spare haze pack before they found themselves temporarily incapacitated, you know, for a helpless living corpse humping. Because that's what we mean by evolving the FPS genre.
I think Haze is, unfortunately, that sort of one-trick pony FPS that fails to explore its Big New Idea to a level that makes it rise from the pack. But then again, as our own Michael McWhertor was quick to point out:
"It's better than a no-trick pony."