Haze (Playstation 3*)

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From the same developer that brought gamers the critically acclaimed TimeSplitters series, comes Haze, a first-person shooter set in 2048, when soldiers no longer swear allegiance to their country but to megacorporations. Players begin as a newly enlisted soldier fighting in Mantel Global Industries' war against the Promise Hand rebels. Mantel serves as something of a peacekeeping force around the world, outfitting its troops with high-tech weaponry and dosing them up with a powerful performance-enhancing drug known as Nectar. Nectar turns soldiers into killing machines, simplifying targeting, and allowing players to move faster and see targets more easily. As with all drugs though, Nectar has its side effects: it blurs vision, it prevents players from seeing dead bodies, and it makes soldiers lose control and indiscriminately fire at both enemies and friends.

There is something not quite right about a peacekeeping force so dependent upon drugs, or a corporation so willingly providing a fix, and the twisting storyline eventually finds gamers fighting with the Promise Hand rebels instead of against them. Though they are technically inferior to Mantel soldiers, the rebels use teamwork and tactical thinking to hold their own. They can harvest Nectar from fallen Mantel soldiers and use it to make enemies overdose or go on a self-destructive killing spree. Driving sequences offset the FPS levels, and online play provides a number of other options including a four-player co-op mode.