-Crystal Dynamics (2004)
-Also on PS2.
And Lo, Shawn entered the living room and sayeth, ďHark! Media Play offers discounted games at only eight ninety nine.Ē Thus is the story of my Project: Snowblind acquisition.
There are a lot of crappy shooters out there (Red Faction 2 immediately springs to my mind) so itís a rather tricky affair finding a good one in a bargain bin. Thatís why I was amazed to discover that Project Snowblind was actually okay. Snowblind takes place in a semi-Tom Clancy like future were thereís a Chinese civil war underway. You play the game as Generic Videogame Archetype C, a soldier with a U.N. like organization thatís trying to flee the country. Unfortunately, Generic Videogame Archetype C is nearly killed in an attack on their base. Fortunately, heís given super cybernetic implants that make him near superhuman, which leads you nicely into the gameís action.
What separates Project: Snowblind from the average first person shooter isnít really anything. Okay, your soldier does get the aforementioned nifty super moves along the way to spice things up a bit. They consist of a special vision mode, a powerful electric blast, a shield, a time slowdown, and a deadly erection. Sorry, I was just seeing if you were paying attention there. If and when you decide to use your powers is all up to you. There werenít many times that really called for any particular ability, although thereís a laser gun that is pretty dependent on the vision mode. Most of the time I just ended up using the slow down time option simply because it made me feel like a GOD! The one problem I had with the powers is that you have a limited amount of magic juice to use at a time and I would have preferred it if it would have lasted a wee bit longer on each usage.
The best part of Project: Snowblind is the varied assortment of weapons youíll pick up. Many of them feature nifty alternate attacks, with my favorite being a gun that shoots a particle cloud that seems almost sentient as it floats around finding enemies to electrocute to death. The worst weapon is a gravity type gun that is ripped right from Half Life 2. Itís a neat idea, but it mostly only shoots boxes around, which is about as dumb as it sounds. The grenades youíll get are even better than the guns. One of the best was a grenade that turned into a little robot. I would enjoy throwing all of them at once to have a little army of bots. I loved my little spider-bot babies! The melee attack was a little less than impressive. It consisted of a simple punch that was completely devoid of any feeling like an impact.
The graphics are sweet for a last generation Xbox game. The main character looked pretty ugly, which is a shame, but the enemy designs were well done with several of them appearing rather frightening. The Chinese influenced level designs are great, although similar in scope to many other first person shooters. While I wouldnít say get the game based solely on graphics, I would say they sure help the overall experience.
The sound is serviceable with several of the weapons effects being pretty generic. One of my favorite parts of the game was all the conversations youíd overhear as you played. They ranged from the standard first person shooter taunts from enemy guards to some hilarious extra conversation sprinkled here and there. The overall dialogue in the between mission cinematics is another story because of the campy writing and voice acting. There were some nice cinema graphic effects, but over all the story was pretty damn ridiculous.
Frankly put, Project Snowblind is fun yet it never really reaches that indistinguishable difference between a good game and a great game. The levels are pretty straight forward, the action is fun but not insanely fun, and all the extra stuff isnít as deep as it could have been. Itís like baked Doritos. Sure itís good, but it still lacks that special fried quality that only real Doritos can provide.
Multiplayer: Reviewing Project: Snowblind marked the first time Iíve signed onto an Xbox Live enabled game and there was no one else online. The next time I tried it, there was one guy running a death match. While it was an entertaining experience, I donít think Iíve got in enough play to give the multiplayer enough time to contribute to the factor of the score. Donít get this game if you want to play big multiplayer battles, unless you have a lot of friends that own it and are willing to get on Live to play it with you. Thereís also split screen and system link action for those of you without Xbox Live, but I was really hoping for more online action.
If youíre a lonely Project: Snowblind player and are starved for some action on Xbox Live, be sure to email Paul and see if you can arrange something!