Haze Doesn't Run in HD

By Mike on 4:34 pm

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One of May's anticipated titles is the PS3 exclusive shooter Haze. There's a demo available for it on PSN. I didn't review this particular demo but I think it's worth another look. First of all, let me say that I hate most of the stuff UBIsoft puts out, particularly after getting stung with Lock-On: Modern Air Combat with it's slide show performance and Starforce copy protection. Not all their games are bad such as the Il-2 Forgotten Battles series or Assassin's Creed. However, Haze is shaping up to be a typical UBI game. Now, UBIsoft is the publisher, not the developer, but the publisher is the one who ultimately controls what goes out to the public.

As for Haze, I was rather unimpressed with the demo. It's a typical shooter asside from the pretty useless Nectar system. Nectar is a bioenhancing drug that gives you temporary super human abilities such as sight, speed, and health recovery. You go around shooting terrorists. This is a pretty standard dystopian future story stripped right out of countless games like the venerable Doom or Half Life. The gaphics were what caught my eye though. They were pretty poor and very blurry for a PS3 title. I've noted this before on some games but Haze is worse than others. Why are they so bad? Derek Littlewood, the creative lead on the game gave the answer in an interview with Ripten. The game runs at 1024x576 rather than 1280x720 (aka 720p). Therefore Haze is not in high definition but rather enhanced definition. This is a slightly higher resolution than the European PAL format of 576p but it is a non-standard resolution. The PS3 therefore has to upscale the video to 720p or 1080i/1080p. This is what makes the graphics blurry, especially on my monitor which is 1440x900. That means for me the game has to be upscaled twice. Once by the PS3, once by the monitor. This new information goes against what was written on the Playstation Blog which stated that it does run at 720p.

A lot of gamers say they don't care, they just want to play the game. However, I think it's deceptive to say a game runs at said resolution when it actually does not. It's also bad on the developer's part for not making a game that can run in HD on an HD console. Haze is certainly not going to tax your PS3 since the graphics are inferior to titles such as Uncharted which does run at 720p. Overall, May has been a pretty crappy month for gaming. Yes, I'm aware that GTAIV was a good game this month but that's not my cup of tea to begin with. Hopefully June with MGS4 and Secret Agent Clank will be a better month.

Update: IGN has been receiving some criticism for giving Haze a 4.5 out of 10. After playing the demo, I kind of agree with this. IGN is often criticized for being "paid off" by Microsoft and being 360 fanboys but I really do think Haze deserves it. The graphics aren't stunning and the gameplay is pedestrian. There are worse games than Haze though but it's not something I'd spend $60 on. Rent only.

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