Three video games that put up a fight
Haze (Ubisoft; PS3; rated mature)
A first-person shooter, Haze puts you in the boots of a mercenary soldier in the employ of Mantel Global Industries. Troops in this near-future story regularly dose themselves with Nectar, a substance that improves resistance to injury, and heightens the senses so that enemies and other threats glow. Injecting too much Nectar, however, causes uncontrollable behaviour like shooting your fellow soldiers. It’s an interesting premise, but the game fails to live up to its promise. What we get is one cliché after another, and another shooter that looks pretty but has no substance.
Soulcalibur IV (Namco Bandai; PS3, Xbox 360; rated teen)
The Soulcalibur series, the epitome of fighting games, returns with some pleasant surprises. The coolest is the inclusion of playable characters from the Star Wars universe: Darth Vader on the PlayStation 3, Yoda on the Xbox 360, and Vader’s apprentice Starkiller from Star Wars: The Force Unleashed in both editions. As well, now your armour degrades when you get hit. Taking part in Soulcalibur battles is less about button combinations and more about timing attacks and blocks, which makes the game easy to pick up and play. There is a story here, about two powerful swords that must be destroyed, but the Soulcalibur games are really about close combat. This game also gives players the ability to fight their friends on-line for the first time.
Dark Sector (D3Publisher; PS3, Xbox 360; rated mature)
In this survival horror game, you play Hayden Tenno, a black-ops agent who is accidentally infected with a powerful, mutating virus while on assignment for the CIA. Your right arm transforms into a bizarre appendage equipped with a glaive—a three-pronged weapon that returns, boomeranglike, to its thrower. While trying to track down the man responsible for unleashing the infection—and who can hopefully provide a treatment—you fight soldiers and other infected creatures. The art is dark and cool, the controls smooth and fluid, and the action violent and foreboding.