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Project: Snowblind (PlayStation 2) artwork

Project: Snowblind (PlayStation 2) review


"While there's never really a place in Project: Snowblind where stealth is a necessity, it's always an option. And I have to admit, I do feel a certain sense of satisfaction when my creeping through ducts grants me the opportunity to gun down a couple of unsuspecting soldiers who were lying in wait for me to come nonchalantly strolling down that wide-open corridor."



For the longest time, it seemed that every modern first-person shooter I was playing dealt with World War II. While that's cool, as Nazis are pretty high on my disturbingly lengthy list of people who are fun to gun down, a bit of variety from time to time is good for the soul.

That's what I like about Project: Snowblind -- the variety. Taking place in the Hong Kong of 2065, you're controlling Nathan Frost, an elite peacekeeping soldier about to go to war (in the name of peace, of course). Opposing you is the personal army of a Chinese general desiring to put an end to technology in order to create a Darwinistic "survival of the fittest" world. Which means I was going to be shooting people who weren't Nazis! Yay!

Project: Snowblind does manage to illustrate variety in far more significant ways than such superficial things as what nationality of people provides the body count, fortunately. As stated above, this game is set in the future, which allowed Crystal Dynamics to give players some creative weaponry, such as the H.E.R.F. and Flechette. The former fires electricity, making it quite handy in close quarters against robotic enemies; while the latter is an energy gun that essentially serves as a futuristic machine gun of the gods.

Guns in this game are multi-purpose, having primary and alternate fire. The primary fire is just what you'd expect. The carbine rapidly fires weak bullets, while the shotgun provides a powerful punch at close range. On the other hand, while the alternate fire does eat through ammo quickly, it adds to each gun's usefulness. That carbine also can serve as a grenade gun, while your shotgun fires sticky bombs that affix themselves to whatever (or whoever) they hit...and then go BOOM. Having that happen to you is the sort of thing that can really ruin one's day.

Adding to the variety is the fact that Frost is a technologically-enhanced super-soldier. At the end of the brief and admittedly dull opening stage, he is critically wounded in an explosion. His life is saved by nano-technology, which has the benefit of bestowing all sorts of neat little powers. As the game progresses, you'll be able to access enhanced vision, the ability to activate a ballistic shield or become invisible and even emit an electrical blast from Frost's body. I found myself with more toys than I knew what to do with -- hell, I still haven't gotten around to testing a couple of them.

One thing I have done is take full advantage of the terrain of each of the game's levels. While they all tend to be pretty linear, there are a lot of little side-passages and ventilation ducts scattered through them in order to give an alert, sneaky player plenty of opportunities to get the drop on unsuspecting enemies. While there's never really a place in Project: Snowblind where stealth is a necessity, it's always an option. And I have to admit, I do feel a certain sense of satisfaction when my creeping through ducts grants me the opportunity to gun down a couple of unsuspecting soldiers who were lying in wait for me to come nonchalantly strolling down that wide-open corridor.

Or, if I really wanted to mess with their heads, I simply used their own weaponry against them. Early in the game, you're given a tool called an Icepick. These things can be used to hack into security panels to disable cameras and tripwires...and personally control machine gun turrets. Odds are that as you progress through the game, you'll set off a few alarms and find yourself getting chewed up by one of these things, so it's nice to be able to take control of one to give those enemy soldiers something to think about. By firing an Icepick into a robotic walker, you can operate it, too, and I can attest it's a lot better "giving" others its lasers and rockets than being on the receiving end!

With all the variety in Project: Snowblind, it didn't surprise me that I really liked progressing through its levels. While not a particularly long game (18 stages, with a good number of them being fairly short), it did pack a punch. Outside of the mundane opener, the only stage I really disliked was one where you rescue an imprisoned scientist after causing a jailbreak. It was short, easy and dull -- the exact opposite of levels asking me to traverse supposedly haunted sewers to reach the evil general's hideout or infiltrate a heavily-guarded base and destroy a quartet of rail cannons. Those two, as well as the majority of the rest, proved to be a lot of fun to blast through.

Unfortunately, I don't know how much they'd endure under the pressure of repeated playthroughs. While Crystal Dynamics gives players a ton of variety as far as gameplay goes, they give NONE in other important features. There is only the default difficulty. If you think this game is a bit easy (and with plentiful health kits and save points, that is a very definite possibility) and wish to play on a harder setting, you're out of luck. There also is nothing to unlock. No extra multiplayer settings, new uniforms, secret infinite-ammo weapons or anything else. Heck, you don't even get graded on your level-by-level performance, as in the Medal of Honor games. That just seems lazy to me. Why create such a fun game if you're not going to give players a reason to keep coming back other than, "Well, that was fun...I might pick it up again in a few months or next year."

I had a great time with Project: Snowblind, but it was a great time in the "play it once and put it away" sense. With nothing to unlock and no additional difficulty levels, it really is a "what you see is what you get" sort of game. What I saw was a fun FPS with a variety of weaponry and an even bigger variety of ways to use it on the enemy, which is great for that first couple of trips through the game. But having nothing beyond that to attract players does somewhat tarnish its luster, preventing it from being truly memorable.

Rating: 8/10

overdrive's avatar
Staff review by Rob Hamilton (April 10, 2010)

Rob Hamilton is the official drunken master of review writing for Honestgamers.

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zippdementia posted April 10, 2010:

Here's a secret: with my extremely busy schedule, I usually pop open a review, read the first and last paragraph and bookmark it for later for a full read and, if I really like the person who wrote it, critique.

However, this review I read all in one go despite the fact that I have two papers that need finishing by the end of the next hour. Now I'm writing a quick review for it. Obviously something you did worked.

I can't put the finger on what it is, though, unless it be simplicity. There's few jokes, no crazy descriptions, no "put-you-in-the-game" moments... but you do seem to know what a shooter fan wants to know and you tell it to them with a minimum (or complete lack, indeed) of bullshit.

You tell us what kind of guns there are, whether they have cool features, and whether we have multiple ways of tackling a level. One, two, three, done. You also manage to tell us what wasn't good about the game without losing the sense of neutrality this review embodies.

That neutrality adds a real believability to everything you say in the review. You come off as the every-gamer, just reporting in on whether or not he had a good time with this shooter. You don't sell yourself or your points as those of an expert and, while in some cases that could work against you, here it is really nice.

And you have an opening about Nazis. A+
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overdrive posted April 11, 2010:

I thank ye for the kind words. I'd go with "minimum bullshit" instead of a lack of it because of my opening paragraphs where I introduce my "variety" theme with what could be construed as the insane ramblings of a potential serial killer.

But what you said was exactly what I was going for, so if the judges feel like you do, I'll be a happy man. I think the thing I like most about this review is that, after the opening two fluff paragraphs, I feel I've done as good of a job as I ever have of efficiently delivering the knowledge. I think I packed a lot of info into 5K and maintained a clean flow. It's been a little while since I've felt as good about a review I've written as I do about this one. Hopefully (for my sake), that feeling isn't completely off-base.
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zippdementia posted April 11, 2010:

For my money, I hope I'm totally off base here and that the review actually makes people's eyes bleed from the pain of reading it, because then I might have a chance in the upcoming tournament.

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