PS2 REVIEW: PROJECT SNOWBLIND

I was pleasantly surprised at how good Project: Snowblind turned out to be. It shows what you can do with the shooter premise if you have just the right amount of imagination and talented programmers to realize that vision.

The future is a great place to explore since it doesn't have to follow any rules of any kind. It's a blank slate for the imagination to go wild, yet at the same time it comes with a built in template that can be tweaked at will. Project: Snowblind chooses to embellish the template of present society and explore the unstable relationships of countries with advanced technical capabilities that are used for evil.

Nathan Frost is the protagonist of the story. He's a highly trained solider skilled in the art of future combat which see him battling bots and other technologies with an assortment of weapons, gadgets and advanced thinking. It's a combination of having all these controls on hand and doing some rapid on-the-spot puzzle solving that really makes the game appeal to me.

There's not much for a story but that's no excuse to throw in a bunch of unrelated elements just to make the gameplay more varied like some games do. Snowblind manages to maintain the essence of the campaign throughout the game. Everything is related to the story as well as the look and feel of the gameplay. I won't directly compare it to Splinter Cell but it lives in the same neighborhood. There action is relentless but it's also broken up with puzzle solving, exploring, stealth and the use of gadgets.

Stealth only plays a minor role here and it's not from lack of trying. The guards in this game are some of the smartest I've ever encountered. They're not just heavy in numbers or hard to kill, it's the fact that they will hunt you down wherever you may be hiding that's unnerving. It tough to pull something over on these baddies so that's why you have to always be ready to shoot to kill. It doesn't matter how smart they are if you can outgun them. You'll have turrets on your back that will help keep you cover automatically and well as regular weapons you can control and aim as you run. Some missions are solo and some will involve a team. You can't control any other characters but they do provide a realistic portrayal of what you might expect from such a squad as they take matters into their own hands to combat the threats.

Enemies range from humans to plodding mechs to various human-controlled vehicles such as trucks and choppers loaded with firepower. The environments are fully interactive. You can take cover behind some obstacles but they won't be there for long when the missiles start flying. Gadgets come in the form of power-ups which give you various abilities such as an electric shield and a form of bullet time which puts everything in the game in slow motion except you. These can get you out of tight situations but they have to be used sparingly. With some strategy, skill and a little bit of luck you should be able to shoot your way out of most situations.

I was also impressed with the crispness of the graphics and how smooth the framerate was maintained with a screen-full of enemies while displaying such detailed environments. The levels are varied and interesting; each one more fascinating than the next. The lighting effects, particle effects and sound effects are spectacular and even rival that of the Xbox version. Up to 16 players can go online but I have to admit that while the single player mode is great, the online mode is average. It seems as though it was added as an obligatory feature.

Project: Snowblind is a great shooter. It will keep you on the edge of your seat. Highly recommended for either a rental or purchase.

Preview By Chris

Rumored as the once titled Dues Ex: Clan Wars the game, Snowblind is getting attention for Crystal Dynamics. The company can use some good attention after some rough things in the past. Now whether or not the game was meant to be the next Dues Ex game has not been confirmed or denied. Taking a look at the early screen shots it does have that feel to it. Perhaps the reasons for the early attention are the Sci-fi look of the game and the freedom while playing the levels? It has even been compared to the hit movie Blade Runner. Graphically, the game is going to be at night with that bright Neon lighted look. Maybe that is where the game is being compared to the hit movie? Snowblind is another FPS title; however, the game has a few neat features that most FPS does not offer.

Details are very limited on the story or even the basic plot, although the game looks like it will be you and your army against the bad guys. While looking at the screen shots and the press releases about the game, I found a few neat things about the game. The game will take place in the year 2065. Players will assume the role of Lieutenant Nathan Frost, a soldier in the liberation Coalition. During a battle against the evil Republic, he was severely injured and left for dead. Of course he was not dead at all and was used for experimental implants. Now Nathan Frost has some pretty cool abilities and is the perfect super soldier. While he is happy that he is still alive, he is a bit pissed that he was used as an experiment. So he decides to use his newly gained powers against those who gave them to him. We don't know all of his abilities. We do know he can turn completely invisible for up to 15 seconds at a time, which will come in handy sneaking past the enemies and other places.

The game also will feature interactive elements in each level of the game. If you see a car you can jump in it, start the engine and run over the enemy. For good measures you can then stop the car and use it as nice bomb or protection from enemy fire. Players will be able to over take the enemies gun turrets and use them as well. The game so far sounds really decent and again while the details are limited, we also expect to hear more of the online modes that will also feature some really cool features. Take a look at the early screen shots and look closely at the detailed buildings and other graphic effect. We will update the preview with more game details and game features as soon as we get them.

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System: PS2
Dev: Crystal Dynamics
Pub: Eidos
Released: Feb 2005
Players: 1 - 16
Review by Dean
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
4.0
GRAPHICS
4.5
CONTROL
4.5
MUSIC/FX
3.0
VALUE
3.5