Having been wounded mortally in combat while fighting in terrorist occupied Hong Kong, 2nd Lt. Nathan Frost is rushed into the operating room and given 500 million dollars worth or Nanotechnology upgrades, effectively becoming the world’s premiere super-soldier. But where several months of training would have been helpful in learning the ins and outs of his new powers, Lt. Frost is instead thrown back into battle, operational bugs and all. But no one ever single handedly won a war without some setbacks, bad operating systems and rocket launchers aside.
In doing my research for this review (besides playing it) I couldn’t help but notice how much this game was like the Deus Ex games (also made by Eidos). Well come to find out, this game was going to be the third in the series, but due to the lackluster sales of Deus Ex 2, the third installment was given a new once over, the gameplay pushed more towards an all out action game and then of course, the name change. But the core elements are all still there. Nano augmentations, the ability to hack security systems and other “Deus Ex” staples. Now I really enjoyed the Deus Ex games, but allot of my friends simply did not like the complex storylines and the slower methodical gameplay. I think this title will change some minds.
Blown away, yes, I was blown away by this games controls. Finally, someone got a first person shooter game right on the PS2, and not just a decent job. Project: Snowblind’s controls are incredibly tight and user friendly, using both the analog sticks, the player engages enemies with a sense of movement and accuracy normally seen on a PC game. Yes, it plays that good.
Now graphically, I really did enjoy the game, the environments are varying and well designed from an architectural standpoint. The game gets away with you seeing the same bad guys over and over by dressing them in full helmets and body armor, and still there are several different terrorist models. Also, the game features a bevy of robots that will attack you. Again, designs taken from the Deus Ex universe. But there is something so cool about running down a street and this giant walking tank rounds the corner and begins shooting at you. The game also never suffers from the dreaded lag out, or at least they get away with it by disguising it with an interesting premise. Let me explain, as a heavily augmented super soldier you are prone to electro-magnetic pulse attacks or EMPs (true thing here people), when you are attacked by an EMP, the television screen goes crazy and you see allot of static snow (hence the game’s title). Your character is hurting and basically blind. It actually works well with the game, and ties in with the fact that your character is also operating in the field with untested equipment.
And speaking of equipment, what the game is not lacking in, is weapons. I’m deep into this game and already have a carbine, shotgun, rocket launcher, silenced pistol, sniper rifle, a nifty little toy called a kinetic kicker that moves objects for you (think gravity gun) and an icepick gun which is used to hack security systems. This, coupled with five different types of grenades and five augmentations to make you even more super and a person who can do allot of damage.
The augmentations actually bring an added element to the game, the eye augmentation for example allows you to see bad guys and mines from their heat signature, where the reflex augmentation makes everyone move like they are in water while you are not, think bullet time. But don’t think you can run around the whole game seeing people through walls and dodging bullets, any time you activate an augmentation, you use up bio energy and will need to recharge by finding additional batteries. Trust me, you can’t get through the game without using these augmentations, they are as cool as they sound and in several instances very necessary.
Now I think I’ve done a fairly good job of telling you that this game is heavy on the action, and it is, but it’s not always about running and gunning, some missions will have you disabling artillery encampments, some will have you rescuing prisoners and some will really lean on you to be sneaky and stealthy. So while the game is full of action, it does mix it up pretty well.
From an audio standpoint, the music is designed to illicit the tightest amount of tension as possible. When the alarm is sounding, you know it’s sounding and all you want to do is turn it off. The whrrrr of robots walking by, the gunfire rapport, the explosions, the voice work, all done really well.
The game has several well-done cutscenes that help move the storyline along, in comparison, no longer can you pick and choose your missions (Deus Ex again) but rather complete whatever scenario is next. Now often, there are secondary tasks that come up that you may or may not be able to accomplish, but ultimately it doesn’t appear to effect the game. What the game does have is that many times there are two or more ways to move throughout the missions. You could count on you muscle and walk right through the front door, or you could explore an alleyway and find a vent to enter which in turn gets you in the building undetected. So while the game does lead you around by the nose, you can choose how you address the tasks at hand.
There is so many more things about this game that I could go into, but let me say this: I have played allot of games in my time and I know when a game has had a budget and people at the helm know what they are doing. Project: Snowblind is one of these games. It’s not going to reinvent the genre or raise the bar, but it is a quality title that has allot to offer the action game fan.
Review Scoring Details for Project: Snowblind
Strong tight controls that seamlessly melt in your hand. The developers listened to the suggestions that were put out there and responded in kind. This is the best FPS game I have ever controlled on the PS2.
Well done graphics that leap off the screen. The bad guys look really good as does the places you go, heck, you even drive vehicles in this game. If I had one concern, it would be that sometimes the game is way too dark. Now I thought that maybe they did that to force you to use your eye augmentation, but the dark places really do outnumber the amount of times you can activate it. So push up the gamma on your television and have at it.
Again, that budget thing comes up, games that know how to make the mundane pop out of your speakers is a thing of wonder. Please have a nice surround system hooked up to your PS2 so you can put it through its paces. This game sounds awesome.
I found myself stuck in a particularly hairy situation that I could not get passed a couple of times now. But, repetition is the thing in this title, working at it, I have found that after a couple of tries, I can get it done. What really makes things tough is that you can only save at save stations located few and far between.
Like I said, this was supposed to be the third in a series, so there is some deja vu’ feelings in the way the game is presented. And super soldiers are certainly nothing new, nor is fighting terrorists. But for as often as we see these elements, it’s not as often that we get a game that brings it all together.
Yup, this game has online multiplayer capabilities. Games involve the usual, deathmatch, capture the flag and other team based games. What I found, at 2:30 am on Thursday, is that there isn’t much going on, online. But I did have a good time playing against others. There was some connection problems and some lag, but I can’t blame the game for my servers inability to keep my bandwidth nice and fat.
I liked this game and am singing its praises to all that will listen. I liken it to a big budget Hollywood movie, sure there isn’t anything super surprising or ground breaking, but it sure is entertaining. If you like FPSs or action titles, then I believe you have your action fix ready to rock and roll.