Snowblind Hands-On

We get hands-on with a demo version of Crystal Dynamics' upcoming futuristic first-person shooter for the PS2 and the Xbox.

During a recent press event, we had the opportunity to play a one-level demo of Snowblind, which is currently in development at Crystal Dynamics. Set in the year 2065, the game will see you assuming the role of Lieutenant Nathan Frost--a soldier in the Liberation Coalition who, after being horribly wounded during a battle with the evil Republic, was given experimental implants that have effectively transformed him into a supersoldier. We actually got to see only one of Frost's bio-enhancements in action, a cloaking device that makes him invisible for around 15 seconds--information on the others, it seems, is being kept under wraps at this time.

The game will have two specific types of levels, which are referred to as "total war" and "infiltration" missions. Infiltration missions, unsurprisingly, will see you working alone and having to evade traps, security systems, and suchlike. Total war missions, like the one we got to try out today, will place you in large battles alongside a number of computer-controlled colleagues. The level we played was set in a futuristic, Blade Runner-esque Hong Kong, complete with neon lighting effects. Both our enemies and our squadmates demonstrated some impressive AI as we progressed through the level, and they made good use of cover as they moved in on one other.

Frost's arsenal will include a number of different guns. All of the weapons that we tried for ourselves featured a limited zoom function that amounted to little more than the effect of steadying your aim, and every weapon in the game will feature both primary and secondary modes of fire. Another neat feature we noticed is that the targeting reticle in the center of the screen incorporates a visual representation of how much ammo you have in your currently selected weapon, allowing you to keep track of it without having to check the corners of the screen.

We didn't really get to see any of Frost's high-tech gadgets in the one-level demo, but one Eidos representative did tell us about a few that you'll gain access to later in the game. The riot wall, for example, will be a translucent portable shield that you can drop on the floor and then crouch behind. Another intriguing gadget we were told about is the "bot domination tool," with which you'll be able to control enemy robots for a limited time--at least once you've attached it to them and moved Frost into a safe position.

Among the other Snowblind features that we didn't get to see in action are drivable vehicles (which will include everything from regular cars to large mechs), and the specially designed multiplayer maps that will support up to 16 players on both the PS2 and the Xbox. We look forward to bringing you more information on these features as the game's January 2005 release date approaches.

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