Review: Project Snowblind
October 15, 2006
Let It Snow
Crystal Dynamics / Xbox, Playstation 2, PC / Teen
While the first-person shooter genre has made large advancements recently with the release of Halo 2, Half-Life 2, and Metroid Prime 2 on their respective consoles, the Playstation 2 shooter market has been left remarkably dry. Project Snowblind may not be the best option for X-Box or PC gamers, but it certainly is the best for those with PS2s.
Gamers play Lt. Nathan Frost who, after getting ripped to pieces by a bomb blast, gets the Inspector Gadget makeover. He becomes a cybernetic super soldier enlisted to help stop an evil regime in futuristic China. The story isn’t very original and the poor voice acting only makes it worse but this is one of the few games where that doesn’t ruin the experience. Most of the time gamers will be immersed in the high quality shooting where the plot has little impact.
By far the best part of the game is the amount of cool futuristic and conventional weaponry that Nate gets to tote around. Standard First Person Shooter(FPS) fare like rocket launchers and shotguns join new innovations like the Icepick hacking gun, which can be shot at any security panel to control various security equipment in the area. Riot shield grenades, also useful, deploy quickly for a temporary shield from enemy fire. Rather than Halo’s two weapons at a time system, all these weapons are carried at the same time to be used in the proper situation. Very old school but, it can be difficult without an efficient management system like Half-life’s. It never becomes a major problem, though.
Joining the innovative guns are a variety of grenades from basic frags and flashbangs to spiderbot grenades that hunt down enemies, electromagnetic pulses (EMPs), and the wonderful nanoboost that brings Nate back to life at convenient times. The EMPs are what bring the snowblind part of the game. If Nate gets hit with an EMP, his cyber vision goes to static temporarily. While this effect doesn’t do any real damage it’s sure to freak players out in a tense firefight.
All this handheld destructive goodness is just not enough for the folks at Crystal Dynamics. Part of Nate’s millions of dollars in hardware are several useful bodily modifications including ballistic shielding, invisibility, and a bullet time style reflex boost which can be used easily in a tight spot. All this firepower and gadgetry from the innovative to the classic make the gameplay experience a fun romp through a ruined Hong Kong, and this is what sets Snowblind apart from games like the less superior Killzone.
Another feature is that all three versions of the game are online with a variety of modes that continue the fun long after the single player experience ends. This unfortunately eliminates a splitscreen multiplayer mode, but those playing online will not miss it.
Be warned this is not Halo: vehicles are present but their physics are horrible and they are generally useless. Also this is not Half-Life, the physics toys, such as the ability to pick up objects and the kinetic displacement gun, find no practical application in the game and are going to collect dust in players arsenal.
Sure the story is bad, the A.I. is not too bright, and every other presentation aspect is average, who cares? The gameplay is pure adrenaline soaked action. Overall this is the top FPS choice on PS2 and is a good fast paced second option for PC and X-Box owners who have gotten bored of their big-name titles. The shooting is truly tons of fun and will keep gamers engrossed for hours, just don’t expect much more stimulation beyond that.
By Zack Rovinsky