When high on the Nectar, you'll get enhanced vision that works like built in infrared goggles, allowing you to see enemies more clearly. Deadly melee damage, dangerously accurate auto-aiming, and the ability to sense danger by highlighting where hostile fire and attacks are coming from will also boost your killing power when drunk on Mantel's Nectar.
But it's the presentation of these powers - not the powers themselves - that makes Haze so intriguing. An eerie mist seeps into your peripheral vision when hopped up on the Nectar, giving the game a surreal and somewhat psychedelic look. There's also an interesting gameplay mechanic that requires you to walk the line between using too much Nectar and not using enough.
Besides blurred beer-goggle vision, an overdose on Nectar will cause you to confuse friends from foes. You also might find yourself unable to control yourself as you fire indiscriminately at anything that moves. Enemies can also mess with your mind by firing on the Nectar Administrator - a pack on the back of your armor suit that holds doses of the drug - forcing you to feed your fix against your will.
On the other hand, if you don't use your Nectar enough, Carpenter will go through withdrawal symptoms. During the demo we attended, we saw Carpenter lifted his visor up. Suddenly Haze's colorful landscape took on a grittier and starker look. That's because the Nectar infused armor suit puts a sugary, yet sinister, veneer over the world you see around you. When the visor's down, enemy corpses fade away. When it's up, you'll see the gory bodies that were created by your own hand. It calls the reality you see - or think you see - into question constantly and we expect that the whole question of what is real and what isn't will be incorporated into the story.
Besides Haze's gripping gameplay elements involving the Nectar, the game itself looks drop dead gorgeous. Sure, we could talk about draw distance, particle effects, and throw a bunch of other techno-jargon at you, but just click on the Images tabs and check out the latest trailer to see the game's sweet look for yourself.
A four-player co-op mode was also highlighted - and underlined in bold - at the recent demo we attended. But besides being able to hop in a four-seater vehicle and maybe killing a teammate that's gone kill-crazy due to an overdose, we're not sure how big a deal the four-player co-op is yet. Still, based on what we've seen, Haze looked mighty impressive. Expect more details about four-player co-op and multiplayer versus modes as the game's Holiday 2007 release date draws nearer.