This game came out on 6/28/10 with little to no fanfare. Last I saw of the game online was a trailer from last year's E3. It's too bad too. A first-person shooter with time control mechanics sounds like a cool idea. And since our own Jim Sterling hasn't reviewed it. I though I'd take the opportunity to post a review of it myself.
Singularity Developer: Raven Software Publisher: Activision
Singularity starts with you crash landing on Katorga 12. An abandoned secret Russian research facility that was using E99. A rare element found on the island that has the potential to be more powerful than the A-bomb. You begin playing by exploring the deserted base in a very Bioshock-esque way. You discover history of the base through video projections, audio tapes etc. The graphics and atmosphere are good but unremarkable. Some of the enemies you'll face look pretty cool and the particle effects are nice, but again, it's nothing to write home about.
While the graphics aren't spectacular, the best aspect of the game are thing that matter most in a shooter, gunplay. The weapons are mostly stock (pistol, assault rifle, shotgun etc.) but there are a few weapons that have a cool twist to them. Like a grenade launcher that lets you manually roll grenade toward your foes, or the "Seeker", a rifle that lets you controls bullets in slow-motion. And the Time Manipulation Device (TMP) that gives you the ability to warp time in many cool ways.
Over the course of the game you gain new abilities for your TMP, and every one of them is fun to use. You can age/renew objects and enemies (aging enemies will turn them into dust). You can create time bubbles that slow time within itself. The ability to carry objects al a Bioshock's Telekinesis ability. Every one of these abilities are all a lot of fun and give combat plenty of variety (watching bullets tear through enemies skulls in slow-motion is particularly satisfying.)
The game is also very deliberately paced. There are plenty of tense exploratory sections with mild puzzle elements to counter the combat. And the pacing keeps both sides nicely balanced. Since this is a shooter, there is more combat than exploration, but there's enough slower-paced sections to keep things interesting.
Multiplayer is enjoyable too, if lacking and lasting power. There are only two game types: Extermination and Soldiers vs. creatures. Solders vs. Creatures, as you may have guessed, is team-deathmatch. One team are conventional soldiers, and the other are creatures you'll face during the single-player. The two sides play very differently. The creatures are controlled from a third-person perspective and are more adapted to melee where as the solders control more conventionally. Overall Singularity's multiplayer mode is a fun diversion. But it is only that, a diversion. In a nutshell, it won't take out away from Modern Warfare 2 for very long.
Overall Singularity is the game equivalent of a summer popcorn flick. The single-player is a fun, satisfying 8-10 hour campaign. Unfortunately there are many elements like audio logs, the TMP, scribblings on the walls that warn you of a potential spoiler and a few others that give the game a somewhat off-brand feel. Even though it doesn't break new ground, it does hold it's own based on it's own merits. Singularity is a satisfying shooter that any fan of story-driven shooters should check out.
+ The TMP is a lot of fun
+ well paced story driven game
- weak multiplayer
- where have I played this before?
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