Posted: July 7, 2014
Project: Snowblind isn't going to go down as one of the great legendary FPS games, but it is a very good game for the $1.50 I paid for it. The structure of the game is that of your usual single-player fps campaign (beating a linear series of levels), but it does some interesting things that make it worth playing.
The combat in this game is excellent. Each weapon is interesting and fun to use, but more importantly each weapon is useful for different types situations, meaning you'll be switching which one you use frequently. Furthermore, they all retain their usefullness throughout the campaign, meaning you won't be lugging around a bunch of useless weapons by the time the endgame rolls around. Each weapon also has an alt-fire, which expands their possibilities even more.
This game started off as a spin-off of Deus Ex, and even though the final product no longer shares that title or universe (and doesn't have any rpg elements, being a pure FPS), it does let you use the same of type nano-augmentations to give you the upper hand in combat. This ranges from making your self invisible, to shooting electric bolts, to becoming completely invulnerable. These augmentations let you try a variety of different strategies for approaching each battle and did a great job of spicing up the game (although I did find myself using the invulerability one pretty much exclusively it was made available). Also like Deus Ex, there is also a hacking element. You have a device called the "icepick" that lets you fire a dart onto anything that's hackable and then take control of that thing remotely. This allows you to take control of turrets and mechs, and using them to turn the tables on the enemies is hilarious and awesome.
The last thing in terms of gameplay I want to bring up is that the level design is excellent. Even though the levels are mostly linear, each area gives you a handful of options and alternate routes, meaning you could go in guns blazing, or you could try to find a sneakier path and do things stealthily. Overall, the gameplay is Project: Snowblind's strongest point, as the weapon design, level design, and augmentations blend together brilliantly.
Despite the excellent gameplay, there are a handful of areas Project: Snowblind falls short in, some of which were detrimental to my enjoyment of the game, some not so much. The biggest issue I had with this game is that the saves are handled using manual checkpoints you must find and activate within the level, as opposed to being able to save where you want or using automatic checkpoints. Normally, I don't mind checkpoints too much, but Project: Snowblind only has one or two of these points per level, meaning that if you die, you usually have to replay much more of what you just did than is desirable (usually about 7 or 8 minutes worth). What's even worse is these checkpoints are sometimes hidden in obscure, out of the way places and in some levels I couldn't even find them despite the game having a feature telling you what direction you should be heading to find them. These checkpoints really drag down the game, and whenever I found myself quitting the game, it was usually because I was tired of having to replay massive swaths just to retry one point.
On the technical side, Snowblind has a few glaring issues as well. I had the game crash on me several times during my playthrough. This was especially annoying because they usually happened once I finally overcame whatever section of the game I was stuck on (meaning I would have to replay that part yet again once I restarted the game). Annother annoying bug is that there is something wrong with the game's contrast, making everything look extremely washed out making stuff that's supposed to be black more of a gray. This seems to effect everyone's copy and I haven't found any kind of workaround or fix. Take a loot at the user posted screenshots on this game's Steam community hub, then compare them to the screenshots on the Store page, and you will see that something is very wrong. This is extremely annoying and even makes the game hard to look at in places, which is unfortunate, because you can tell the game has decent art direction and isn't supposed to look like this (videos I watched of the PS2 and Xbox versions seemed to be fine however). With that said, I was able to look past this and enjoy the gameplay (which again, is excellent), but this is something you should know about going in.
The storyline is a weak point as well, but it does have some merit. The overall plot is completely forgettable, basically serving as an excuse for you to shoot your way through each level (as an aside, nearly every cutscene contains a helicopter either destroying something or getting destroyed. This is not a problem). The most interesting thing about the storyline is that the big evil plot that you try to prevent is almost identical to one of the ending options from Deus Ex 1, but that's about it. With that said, the character themselves were actually pretty likeable and distinct, and there is some pretty good voice acting as well (the game also has a surprisingly decent sense of humor that pops up now and them). You won't care why you're fighting this war, but you will enjoy the company.
Overall, Project: Snowblind is pretty solid for a budget game, thanks to fantastic gameplay (even if it doesn't have much else going for it). I don't think I'll be playing through it a second time, but for $1.50, the ride was a fun one worth taking.