Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Publisher: Eidos Interactive
Project: Snowblind was originally conceived as a multiplayer-focused third game in the Deus Ex series, Deus Ex: Clan Wars. But after the less than expected commercial performance of Deus Ex: Invisible War, it was decided to set the game in its own universe. Nevertheless, it remains a spiritual sequel to Deus Ex and retains many visible and conceptual links to its progenitors.
In Project: Snowblind, the player assumes the identity of Nathan Frost, a soldier in an international peacekeeping force known as the Liberty Coalition. After being critically injured during an enemy attack, Frost is implanted with experimental nano-technological augmentations and enhancements, turning him into “the soldier of the future”. Frost must use his new powers to help lead the Coalition to victory against overwhelming odds.
The game takes place in the year 2065 in Hong Kong. The city is suddenly attacked by a hostile force known as the Republic, led by a rogue Chinese general named Yan Lo. An international peacekeeping force stationed in Hong Kong, known as the Liberty Coalition, is tasked with defending the island from the invasion.
The story follows Liberty Coalition 2nd Lieutenant Nathan Frost, who is critically injured in a surprise attack by the Republic while attempting to save the life of a wounded soldier. He is rebuilt by the Coalition using experimental nano-technology. Using the powers granted to him by his nano-technology augmentations, Frost spearheads the Coalition’s counter-attack against the Republic, eventually rescuing a defecting Republic scientist named Dr. Joseph Liaw. Dr. Liaw informs Frost about a plot by General Yan Lo known as Project: Snowblind.
Yan Lo, who believes that technology has made humankind weak, plans to detonate EMP bombs in New York, Paris, and Hong Kong thus shutting down much of humankind’s technological civilization and plunging the world into another dark age.
In an attempt to stop the General’s plot, Frost launches an attack on Yan Lo’s secret underground bunker, fighting past the General’s nano-augmented elite guards and confronting the General himself. It is here that Frost learns that the General is an augmented super-soldier just like himself, created twenty years ago using earlier bio-mechanical technology. The painful side-effects of his physical augmentations have driven the General insane, and fueled his hatred of modern technology. Frost and Yan Lo battle using many of the same augmentation powers, with Frost eventually emerging the winner. Yan Lo overloads and explodes, but not before taunting Frost and informing him that Project: Snowblind will still proceed forward.
In a last ditch attempt to stop Project: Snowblind, Frost launches a final assault on the facility where the EMP bombs are being prepared for distribution, aided by all surviving Coalition soldiers. Frost succeeds in destroying the facility, while the soldiers stayed at the entrance, holding off the enemy reinforcements.
The ending cutscene shows Nathan Frost and the remaining Coalition soldiers walking to the nearest Coalition base, which was fifty miles away.
Similar to the Deus Ex series, the focus of Project: Snowblind’s gameplay is giving the player a variety of choices on how to approach any given situation. Although the game is generally linear, most levels feature multiple paths through any given area, allowing players to either rush in guns blazing or attempt to find a more stealthy side-path. Unlike Deus Ex, the game is entirely centered around pure combat, but nonetheless provides the player with multiple options regarding every battle. Every weapon in the game has a secondary fire mode, several of which create exotic effects such as a swarm of drones that will actively seek out and attack enemies. The player can also throw a variety of grenades with different effects, including a riot shield that creates a temporary stationary energy wall for the player to take cover behind. The player can also use a special “Icepick” device to hack enemy cameras, turrets, and robots and use them against enemy forces. The game also features several driveable vehicles. Finally, the player’s character possesses a variety of nano-technology augmentations that can be used to grant them various powers.
One of the main focuses of Project:Snowblind’s gameplay are Nathan Frost’s nano-technology augmentations. Although most of Frost’s augmentations are inactive at the beginning of the game, they become activated as the game progresses, granting Frost additional powers.
- Frost’s complete list of augmentations are:
- Vision: A harmony of night vision, x-ray vision, and infrared vision. Dark areas are brightened, enemies and mines give off a bright yellow glow and can be seen through walls. It also lets frost see the viewing range of security cameras, and where they are looking at that time. This power is especially useful later in the game when Frost acquires the Rail Laser, which can fire through solid objects like walls.
- Reflex Boost: Slows down time allowing the player to dodge bullets and make better decisions. This can be useful when combined with Vision upgrade, letting the player see the enemies positions and better plan their attack.
- Ballistic Shielding: Frost is covered in a white shimmering net-like material, and is invincible while the shield is active. The shield eventually exhausts its meter, and it will decrease more quickly if Frost is shot.
- Cloak: Renders Frost invisible for a short period of time. If he fires a Primary or Secondary weapon while cloaked, the cloak deactivates. Punches do not deactivate the cloak.
- Electrical Storm: When activated, the HUD fills with blue-grey static as a huge electrical blast emanates from Frost’s body, severely injuring or killing enemies in range as well as disabling electronics.
Project: Snowblind’s multiplayer mode features several of the gameplay elements found in the game’s single-player campaign, including drivable vehicles, the ability to operate and hack cameras and turrets on the battlefield, and the ability to use augmentation powers.
The game has received criticism for its short length and multiplayer, as usually only a few servers are active at a time. However, most reviews tend to be positive, in the 80% range. It is also known for its lack of replay value, as the game has nothing to unlock once completed and has only one level of difficulty through the single-player mode. It was also a disappointment to some fans of the Deus Ex series because it lacked provisions for a stealthy playstyle.