Project Snowblind Review

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Graphics: 9.0
Sound : 7.5
Gameplay : 8.0
Multiplayer : 7.5
Overall : 8.1
Review by Andy Levine
Crystal Dynamic's latest first person shooter Project: Snowblind has a similar futuristic feeling to games such as Deus Ex. You follow the story of 2nd Lieutenant Nathan Frost in his nation's quest to reach peace with itself. Set in Hong Kong in the year 2065, technology has taken a leap ahead, offering you a whole arsenal of weapons and abilities that are unheard of by today's standards. From the very beginning, you'll find yourself blasting enemies with the latest military technology in this sci-fi shooter.

Like most games, Project: Snowblind starts off with the mandatory tutorial level to slowly ease you in to the adventure that lies ahead. You first learn that every weapon has two fire modes, primary and secondary. The primary fire performs what today we would consider normal; the assault rifles fire rapidly and the pistols fire with ideal accuracy. However, every weapon also has a secondary fire feature, which will offer a completely different effect. Some of these secondary attacks include an Electromagnetic Pulse Ball that will attack nearby enemies, sticky bombs that attach themselves to your adversaries, and even mini attack drones. While learning how to use the weapons is fairly simple, being able to use your bio-enhancements to their full capabilities can be rather difficult at times. Frost has been given special abilities that give him an edge over his opponents, but only if they're used correctly. Such skills include heat vision, allowing you to see enemies through walls, and ballistic shielding, which protects you from any means of attack. While you might think you should be able to breeze through your campaign, these augmentations can only be used for short bursts of time, and you will constantly find yourself needing to replenish your reserve.

Project: Snowblind sets itself apart from other first person shooter games because it doesn't always act like a first person shooter. To help diversify the gameplay there are several missions in which you're able to control vehicles, such as tanks and armored cars. Aside from the fact that this isn't the main focus of your military operations, it can still prove to be rather amusing. While the cars don't feel like they came right out of Gran Turismo 4, it's considerably fun to barrel towards your adversaries at top speeds and watch them splatter their insides all over the pavement. [We call this the “Grand Theft Auto” factor – Ed]

A successful console FPS is rare, but there are still a few titles that manage to make it into that category. Project: Snowblind, which is still far from being revolutionary like Halo or Half-Life 2, is nevertheless successful. You'll find it easy right from the start to learn the basic commands. But unfortunately your arsenal is too large for the number of buttons on a standard PS2 controller, so there are still some features that feel buggy. Selecting different augmentations in a firefight is near impossible, as is switching weapons. Although it's possible to go to the menu and switch weapons, this wastes a lot of time and really takes you away from the intense action of the game. There is a quick-switch button that allows you to switch to your last weapon, and this is somewhat helpful, except for the fact that it allows you to switch to weapons with no ammunition. Switching and activating your augmentations could be much smoother as well, but instead you need to make sure you have a perfect loadout before entering a firefight, considering you won't have much of a chance to switch anything afterwards.

Project: Snowblind is set in the near future in a war-torn nation, so you'll fight in dilapidated buildings that are near destruction, yet inside of them you can find all sorts of valuable technical equipment. While the levels are aesthetically pleasing, interaction is limited. Boxes can be smashed, several types of crates can be opened, and sometimes there are certain walls that will break down after being shot repeatedly. Other than this, most of the environment won't be affected, which leaves much to be improved upon. The levels feel claustrophobic at times, and you'll quickly have a feeling of déjà vu after several missions are over, but even with these flaws, the game is actually fun. Instead of controlling your squad on the battlefield, you only control yourself, allowing you to focus on one aspect: Killing everything you see. Probably the most fun part of this game is Nathan's ability to punch to people, because while being shot several times might not be enough to kill some of your foes, punching them is always going to be a one hit kill. Knowing this, a stealth element is added, coaxing you to sneak up behind enemy lines and beat them to death.

As far as visuals go, this game has to be one of the better looking first person shooters on the market, for several reasons. First of all, every scene is coated with a nice glow effect. Not only does this help cover up those rough edges every PS2 owner is familiar with, but it really helps accentuate the colors. Most of the cities you encounter are broken down, so streets flooded with debris is a must have. Some of the surrounding buildings are even on fire, which is truly the icing on the cake. The models, while nothing spectacular, are above average by today's standards, however, the animations in this game are sub par. Not only does everybody walk like a robot, including the robots, but the way your enemies die is, simply put, lame. No matter how you kill your enemy, whether it’s by grenade, fist to face, or pumping them full of lead, they will always end up falling on their knees, then flat onto their face. While it looks very choppy from the first level, after seeing it a hundred times you'll want to puke. While the guns themselves look fairly good, the firing animation is lacking. The high-powered assault rifles produce a very small muzzle flash and this makes them feel weak. While a screen shot of the game might look nice, the animations make the game feel unprofessional.

The sound in this game is enough to get you in the mood for killing, but that's about all. During intense firefights, an uplifting Asian techno-esque music plays. This might seem a little weird at first, but you'll quickly get used to it. The guns have a very dull sound to them, and they are nowhere near as loud as you would expect them to be. The voice actors lack enthusiasm, but nonetheless sound decent. What really helps the sound in this game is the way all of these aspects blend together. Between your squad members yelling, the multifarious firing of the guns, the burning of broken down buildings, and the upbeat techno music, you'll find that the sound is able to hold its own, at least for the most part.

The multiplayer aspect, whether via LAN or Online, can be fun at times, but for the most part it needs improvement. All of the maps have been designed to support 16 people, so playing this makes the LAN play boring as hell. Even online, once you get past the fact that most people choose to be snipers, you'll still spend a lot of time just wandering around. At times it can be fun if there's a firefight with half your team involved, but otherwise you shouldn't expect too much out of the multiplayer mode.

All in all, Project: Snowblind is a fairly decent first person shooter that can set itself above many other games in the category. However, a lack of enthusiasm in the sounds, repetitive and sometimes dull environments, and the terrible character animations keep this game out of the elite category. Nevertheless, Project: Snowblind is full of non-stop action that any first person shooter fan will enjoy. If you're looking for an action thriller in the sci-fi mode, Project: Snowblind might be just what you're looking for.