New This Week: Haze (PS3) and Wii Fit (Wii)

Two new system exclusives are set for release this week. These games are pretty much polar opposites, and they make for an interesting foil.

On the one hand we have Haze. Developed for the PS3 and published by Ubisoft, the game was in the news yesterday when it developer Free Radical confirmed it wouldn’t be running in true HD. Haze takes place in a dystopian society in the near-future (hrm, sounds familiar) where a soldier’s work is white-washed by the performance-enhancing substance pumped into his body through a specialized combat suit.

The game was essentially supposed to be an answer to a couple of huge Microsoft-platform-exclusive FPSes. Early review scores for the game indicate that it will fall far short of matching the achievements of Gears of War and BioShock though, as it currently has a rather average Metacritic score of 54. I haven’t played the game, and probably never will. But the general consensus seems to be that while other shooters like Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and BioSock are taking steps to reinvent the wheel, so to speak, Haze is an exceptionally medicore shooter.

The Onion’s A.V. Club probably has the most cohesive conclusion about the game based on the reviews I read:

More narratively cohesive than the Halo trilogy, but less inventive and compelling than Resistance: Fall Of Man, Haze does finally give us a self-aware portrait of videogame soldiers, and a foil for all the head-butting, “boo-yah” behavior that’s been the norm for far too long in the medium. Too bad it’s paired with one of the more pedestrian FPS games to come along in recent years.

Clear on the other end of the spectrum we have Wii Fit, which brings exercise and playing video games together in some sort of unholy union. Thing is, critics are pretty impressed with it. And these are people who (sometimes) make a living of sitting motionless while consuming their media of choice.

Now, you should know by now I’m biased against the Wii for ushering in an unprecedented age of shovelware and minigame compilations. The platform itself just isn’t for me, which is fine because it’s not targeted toward me. However, I can still appreciate what it is that Nintendo is trying to do. They are making leaps toward changing the way that we interact with our videogames. I respect that. But based on the reviews I’ve seen, the Wii Fit software is not really a video game at all. It is an exercise regimen. If you’re looking for a fun with the Wii Balance Board, which seems to be the real star of the package, you may want to wait for more games that are designed for it. In addition, you may want to hope that the forthcoming games don’t suck.


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