Project Snowblind

Posted 9.11.2007

The Xbox had quite a few FPS titles on tap for players looking to blast plenty of bad guys, thanks in no small part to Halo. One of these was a shooter that had begun as a Deus Ex title focusing on combat, but eventually became a game with its own story to tell. Project Snowblind takes the player into the future of warfare as they fight through the streets of Hong Kong to stop a rogue general from sending the world into the stone age.

Disposable Soldier, Available for Action

Sometime in the near future, a well armed force known only as the “Republic” attacks Hong Kong in a bid for power, led by a Chinese general named Yan Lo. In response, an international army known as the Coalition is sent in to stop his assault. Nathan Frost, a soldier arriving with the latest batch of grunts to help reinforce their base there, is looking forward to doing what he can to help when the Republic stage a surprise attack. Unfortunately for him, he’s nearly killed in the firefight but it proves to be an opportunity for the higher ups to place him in a program that will make him the greatest living weapon on the battlefield by making him better…stronger…faster…you get the idea. Using the latest in cutting edge cybernetics to heal his injuries, Nathan Frost will become the Coalition’s last, best hope to turn the tide of the war.

The Art of Cyberwarfare

The intro to the game wastes little time in getting you into the action and used to the basic controls. Anyone familiar with an FPS on the Xbox such as Halo will be right at home, while newcomers will be able to get up to speed fairly quickly from the start. Saves are handled at checkpoints which are spaced out well enough not to be aggravating when you die from lead poisoning.

Snowblind provides an arsenal of weapons for you to pick up during the course of your adventures in war torn Hong Kong and Kowloon, ranging from machine guns to a rail laser gun that can shoot through walls. There are also occasions where you’ll be able to drive around in a car to run down enemy pedestrians or pound them to dust with a mounted cannon. While you won’t necessarily be able to explore the ruins of a war torn city on wheels with the kind of freedom that Halo or Darkwatch might allow you to, they do offer moments of motorized mayhem that break up the run ‘n gun action on foot.

But the greatest weapons will be the ones that Nathan was implanted with. At first, because of how quickly they had brought him back from near death and need his help, he’ll start out with only the ability to use improved vision that can help him target foes, see in the dark, and even pick up baddies behind walls if they’re near enough. As you fight through the hordes of Republic soldiers, more powers will eventually activate themselves at certain points allowing Nathan to do things such as move faster than bullets or discharge a massive storm of electrical fury to clear his personal space. Using any of these, though, draws on his store of bioelectric energy. Fortunately for him, both ammo and energy cells are in decent supply from both enemies and spread throughout the environment whether it’s inside a storage crate or sitting on a countertop.

The game takes Nathan through the rubble strewn streets of Kowloon to the close combat action of indoor locales as you guide him through underground passages, an opera house converted into a prison, a parking garage, or the halls of a hi-tech high rise straight out from science fiction to name a few places. In a nod to its hidden Deus Ex ties, in addition to the cybernetic superowers that you gain, there’s usually more than one way to get to where you need to go, whether its through an air grate or as a direct assault. Many places will also offer you the opportunity to use a tool to hack enemy electronics, whether its a computer security monitor or a walking gun platform that you can remotely control.

Enemies range from your typical foot soldier to sneaky cloakers that hit you when you least expect it before running away. Enemy mechs such as smaller machine gun mounted turrets on wheels, robot walkers armed with an arsenal of pain, or even tanks support the cannon fodder that will try and stop you. There’s no shortage of action and Snowblind does a good job in keeping your trigger finger busy.

For an older title, it doesn’t look half bad in creating many of the gritty, war-torn exteriors that fill each level. The sound effects build up each scene with high tech ear candy while the decent voice acting helps to deliver the action-film flavored dialog. But although the game can provide a pretty decent challenge, the soldiers that you run into aren’t that smart as they’ll sometimes just stand in one place while shooting away at you. And despite the many implants that will be enabled in your adventure, most of them won’t see too much use aside from a small handful as your weapons can easily do most of the talking.

Electronic Deterrence

The fast action is over before you know it, though, as armchair cybersoldiers can blast their way through this game over a weekend. There’s multiplayer available over Xbox Live! on the original Xbox which probably doesn’t matter at this point although at the bargain price that the game can be found at today, it’s still not a bad deal for the fun that it brings by taking you through a sci-fi vision of war in the not too distant future.

- World 1-1

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