May 23, 2008 § Leave a comment

So time for my inaugural blog post. I’m tempted to go on at great length about myself, but then….it can’t really be said that I’m a very interesting person, so I’m just gunna jump right in with something that’s been bothering me recently.

Free Radical’s “Haze” was supposed to be one of Sony’s flagship first person shooter franchises for the PS3. A pretty sizable marketing campaign has been put behind it, sites have been doing coverage on it for months, hell, even Korn have written a song for it (though by watching a recent interview with the lead singer concerning the song for the game, he doesn’t seem to be very clued up on the state of gaming nowadays). Unfortunately though, I hear it’s wack.

It’s a shame really, because i like Free Radical as a developer. The Timesplitters series in my opinion was the underappreciated gem of the PS2’s library, with literally hundreds of different challenges to try out beyond the simple story mode. Timesplitters 3 took the series in a new direction, it added a much needed, cohesive narrative to the story mode, whilst still retaining the extensive multiplayer modes we’ve come to expect from the Timesplitters series.

Above all though it never took itself too seriously. Cortez, the main protagonist, is an incredably macho hero, to the extent that every line he utters is a mockery of the over serious leads of every action move ever made. The game is literally littered with laugh out loud moments, and every utterance of the phrase “Tiiiiime to split!” is an occasion to be rejoiced. There was nothing special about the actually shooting mechanics which, by and large, were very average, but the game had a sense of style that was instantly appealing. The game was in essense, a huge amount of fun.

Which brings us to Haze. I should probabely point out at this point that my only hands on experience with Haze has been the demo that was release don the PSN a couple of weeks ago, however all the reviews I’ve read thus far have told me all i care to know about the rest of the game. So Haze DOES NOT have a sense of humour. It is a game which takes itself very seriously, both with it’s characters and voice acting, as well as it’s whole plot and theme. Beofore we had Cortez mocking the macho action hero, now we have you as a part of that same type of team, with your squadmates yelling such cringeworthy phrases as “Boosh!” There is no tongue in cheek humour here, and when you (surprise surprise!) switch sides halfway through the game it turns out the supposidly “good” enemies are just as annoying, constantly reminding you of a promise you’ve made to…whoever.

There’s a point I’m trying to make here, and I think now is the time to come on out and say it. Game should not be taking themselves too seriously at this point in time. There has been no game to date which has delievered a story telling experience that is on par with any of the greatest movies of all time. It just seems to me that, until such a time as the medium has matured and script writers for games really start reaching the boundaries of what storytelling in games has the potential to be, any game that does try to tell a serious narrative cannot be taken seriously at all.

All I really want as this point is Timeplsitters 4. Boosh indeed.


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