Proving the first-person shooter genre still has ample amounts of life, Free Radical's next experiment is Haze, a futuristic FPS with traces of F.E.A.R. and the team's learned experience from the excellent TimeSplitters series. There is a lot riding on this new entry into the genre, including the promise of a groundbreaking story and a new game engine.
The last time we saw Haze, you could control your squad as you moved through the levels. Since then, that feature has been stripped out and replaced with A.I. squadmates, leaving you free to run, gun, and have some fun.
While the story is supposed to alleviate the linear FPS feeling, what Free Radical really hopes to mix things up with is the drug Nectar: You can pump it into your system at any time to give yourself a stat boost, affecting abilities such as Perception, Foresight and Melee Blast. Perception will highlight enemies when they are near you, Foresight will warn you when there is a grenade nearby, and Melee Blast will give you a temporary bonus to your melee attack. These only work for a limited time, and you need to be careful to not abuse the drug.
SCREENS: This is what your game looks like on Nectar. Click the image above to check out all Haze screens.
But even though that sounds cool, there is one thing we are looking forward to more, and that is drop-in drop-out four-player co-op support. Couple that with multiplayer staples like capture the flag and deathmatch and Haze is looking pretty ambitious for an original game.
As for the story designed to set Haze apart from the pack, we know next to nothing about it, and a lot is riding on it to deliver on Free Radical's promises to gamers. So here's our guess: After working for the Mantel company army, you decide to turn your back on your employers -- because you find out they are evil, bad people -- during the second act of the game, and with your moral compass, side with the rebels -- who you were fighting during the first act -- to put down the evil, bad corporation. Of course this is just speculation.