Review: Project Snowblind (PC)
Maybe you didn’t know this but Project: Snowblind started out as an expansion pack (and/or sequel) to Deus Ex and was going to be called Clan Wars. For whatever reason, this plan was veered away from and the game took on a life of its own. The game became Project: Snowblind and a Deus Ex-styled game made it to store shelves. Can Snowblind deliver a unique experience without being called Deux Ex 2?
Let’s be honest; Snowblind doesn’t try to be deep in the story department. The story that ties Snowblind together seems to be little more than a vehicle to put the player in various do-or-die situations that allow you to use that new ability, weapon or utility you recently acquired. The story has it all; intrigue, revenge, betrayal, peanut butter… it’s all there. There is an overt Asian style to the game (does it matter that it takes place in Hong Kong?) which is commonly associated with all things cyberpunk.
Overall Snowblind revels in the fact that its a shooter. As mentioned above, the game seems to tie together various situations just to put gamers in groovy environments against seemingly insurmountable odds. Get this; it works! There’s just something about the pacing and mission variations that keep things fresh and inventive as the game progresses. I never found myself getting bored of the action, whether I was tasked with tracking down a hacker in the middle of an all-out street war or liberating a POW camp set up in an abandoned opera house.
Don’t think that guns are all there is to this game. Oh no, you don’t control just some schmoe that can pull a trigger. You play an enhanced super soldier, complete with built in mission map, mission objectives and, best of all, augmentations. As the game progresses new ‘augs’ become available to you. These augs do just that; augment your abilities. Many times you’ll get a new aug that is required for the next level. However, these do come at a price. Your augs require power to function and that power is limited. As you progress through the game this store of power becomes larger, allowing you to use more augs more often. Either way, it’s an effective method of shaking up the standard run and gun action and give you some new fun tools to play with.
Let’s not forget the weapons. New weapons are divvied out much the same way as your augmentations. You’ll start out with some fairly standard armaments, such as a silenced pistol and carbine (assault rifle), but enemies that you encounter on down the line require more to take them down than a silenced bullet to the head or a full clip of carbine goodness. Although the weapon selection isn’t too inventive, it does provide you with enough variety that you don’t get bored pulling the trigger. Considering your enemies aren’t too awfully smart (and seem to spot you even if you’re hiding in the dark) it’s more a question of ‘do I have enough ammo’ rather than ‘I hope I can outsmart the bad guys’.
Also available to you are some fun utilities that let you do some ‘alternate’ damage. Grenades in various forms (poison, EMP and frag, just ot name a few) plus a great little weapon called the Icepick. The icepick lets you control various pieces of electronic equipment (anything from security panels up to combat bots), namely those items controlled by the bad guys. There’s little else in gaming as satisfying as taking control of a combat bot and clearing out a parking garage full of antagonists.
Your controls for Snowblind are the customary WASD setup (which, of course, can be remapped at your pleasure) and, for the most part, are fairly intuitive. Your augs and various utilities can be accessed with a simple click of the Tab button and can be engaged with the Alt key. All in all it’s garden variety.
Multiplayer is actually quite fun with plenty of fun game types and maps. Granted, the maps used in multiplayer are mostly rehashes from the single player but there’s enough detail to keep things fresh. The overall pace of multiplayer is a little slower than most games which requires you, the player, to be a little more strategic during firefights. Does it make sense to climb that ladder to get that extra ammo or will you be exposed too long? Perhaps it’s just better to switch to a weaker weapon and search out a refill elsewhere. All weapons (in single player and in multiplayer) have alternate firing methods so there’s plenty of death to be dealt.
The visuals and audio in Snowblind aren’t anything to write home to Mom about but they do get things done. Textures are of decent detail but I felt the player models could have had some more detail. Everything has an Asian feel (which is very apparent in your enemy’s look) with plenty of neon and rain to keep that cyberpunk aura about things. Framerates are pretty decent due to smaller map sizes and weapon and explosion affects to the job. Snowblind really feels like a console title ported to the PC, overall making the game feel like it’s not as deep as other titles. The audio is serviceable, with voice acting being mediocre and game sounds, such as weapons and ambience, merely getting you by. Snowblind could have done so much more in this department but, alas, we’ll take what we can get.
Snowblind is a fun shooter with enough variety to keep FPS enthusiasts busy for awhile. If you’re looking for less thought and more reflex, this game could be for you. If, however, you’re looking for a deep experience with more of an RPG feel, go rummage through your Dad’s garage and find that dusty Deus Ex disk. Snowblind is a thin shooter with some neat moments and, sadly, nothing more.