Drugged up in LeipzigThe influence of the developer's past work on Far Cry, Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter and Timesplitters was all to evident in the playable demo of Ubisoft's first person shooter, Haze at the Games Convention today. Graphically, the game looks like Far Cry (mind you so do half a dozen other titles we've seen in Leipzig), but gameplay wise it was miles apart - yep, so the actual shooting element of the gameplay we've seen a dozen times before - but, thanks to the inclusion of the mind-altering drug, Nectar, Haze is a cutting-edge shooter with a captivating storyline and a number of unique gameplay elements.
The single player demo put us in the role of Shane Carpenter, a trooper who works for a private military corporation Mantel. The action begins with a frantic and intense gun battle against the rebels through a thick Jungle environment, with bullets whizzing in all directions and explosions going off all around you. Armed with an assault rifle and some doses of Nectar, you make your way, with speed, through the jungle taking at any enemies in your path.
Rebels emerge from within the undergrowth shooting frantically in your direction and the action is pretty frenetic, thanks to the tough AI who have an uncanny knack of being able to drop a grenade right at your feet, but as long as you've got some doses of Nectar at hand then you're sure to come out on top. One shot of the drug and the enemy lights up with an orange glow (remember that Ready Brek advert?) making them easier to spot amongst the dense vegetation. In addition your vision slightly blurs and the sound of a heavy heart beat adds to the tension and gives you a clue that the drug you've just taken may not be entirely good for your health. Nectar is in plentiful supply and can be pillaged from the dead bodies of rebels that you've killed; the AI in Haze is so good, we think it would be a struggle to complete the game without utilising the powers it offers.
Aside from being able to spot rebels far easier once you've taken Nectar, there are other skills that are activated, such as 'Nectar Foresight', which shows a warning pulse on screen just before a rebel has lobbed a grenade in your direction, giving you vital seconds to jump out of the way before it lands. In addition your speed increases and you become less susceptible to damage as well as being able to inflict more damage on your enemies.