Review: Singularity

FIGHT THE PAST – SAVE THE FUTURE – STOP THE SINGULARITY

Developer: Raven Software
Genre: Sci-Fi First Person Shooter
Platform(s): PS3 & Xbox 360
Release Date: June 29, 2010
Compatability (PS3): n/a
Compatability (Xbox 360): 1MB Mininum Space | HDTV 720p / 1080i / 1080p | Online Multiplayer 2-12
Rating: 8.5

It is not hard to see where Singularity takes its inspiration from in terms of design. The parallels to BioShock are strong, and while jarring and immediately apparent, never overrun a game that can stand on its own merits. Thankfully Singularity has enough diversity and solid game design to be a entertaining and rewarding game. Not all that is found in singularity seems fresh or fully developed but for the majority of the eight hour campaign you will find yourself interested in the story and the numerous gameplay mechanics at work. Before the game was released there was some hesitation about the game because of the generic look. After completing the game I can say that it does not feel like your typical shooter but more of a love letter to BioShock and a means to tell an enthralling time bending, plot hole stricken, suspension of disbelief, story. While nothing is truly original about the title it is strong and offers a fun single player and an interesting, if not fully developed, multiplayer.

The campaign in Singularity starts you in present day. You are a member of a special forces unit tasked with examining a small Russia island that strange anomalies have been reported on. Quickly however, you are shown that the island is anything but ordinary and a fifty year old projects fallout kick starts the games narrative. I don’t think it a spoiler to say that you will travel through time at numerous instances in the game. The ability to go back in time and change the course of events plays a key role in the story. Without ruining anything if you go back in time anything you do will change the present you have come to know. The game acknowledges this fact to great effect. If you go back in time and kill and important historical figure, upon returning to your time the world might be unrecognizable. The story for the most part is tightly woven but as with any story dealing with time travel, plot holes and logical fallacies are present. I was not too upset about these however because; what else would you want from a time travel story? The game wraps up nicely with a twist that, while interesting, is not all that shocking. There are three endings in the game and they are all interesting and could all be great springboards for a possible sequel. The Multiplayer has two modes, team deathmatch, called Soldiers vs. Creatures, and Extermination, a sort of territories type of game. The multiplayer modes are slim, but fun none the less. The multiplayer will not take over your MW2 or Halo time but it is fun to mess around with. I would at least check it out.

You will fight loads of enemies. Ugly enemies actually.

The crux of the game falls upon the shooting mechanics, both with normal weapons and with the TMD or Time Manipulation Devise. The regular weapons are good. There is your typical fare; an assault rifle, shotgun, sniper, minigun, etc. There are also some interesting weapons like the delayed explosive shot of the grenade launcher that sends out little grenade balls you can steer into enemies. The shooting itself feels solid with a nice weight given to all the guns. It plays like a lot of FPSs today with snap targeting iron sights and a limit of two guns at a time. The other aspect of the game is the TMD. This is where the BioShock references get a lot stronger. There are a number of different powers that the TMD is capable of both in and out of combat. In combat the TMD can be used to age enemies to dust, de-age or ‘revert’ enemies that for some inexplicable reason causes them to turn into hideous monsters, set a portion of space as a time stopped zone, and act as you primary melee. The powers are both fun an necessary to complete the game. My personal favorite being stopping tome and shooting enemies caught in the field, only so see the bullets hit them after the field has fallen. Outside of battle the only power you really ever use it to age or revert and object. Usually it breaks down to messing with the time of a box and using the box to advance in the environment.

The game has two different upgrade systems that might look familiar to any BioShock fan. First there are general weapon upgrade boxes hidden throughout the game. These boxes allow you to improve either the power, accuracy, or reload rate of any of your weapons. They can be upgraded an any of the weapons lockers around the game that also allow you to change the load out of your weapon. The other system is the augmenter system that allows for a number of different perks. These parks get broken down into three categories. The hero perks are those that augment your character with health and other upgrades, the TMD perks that make some powers stronger, and TMD equipment that adds different abilities like increased weapon accuracy. The currency governing these upgrades is the amount of E99 you have. E99 plays an important roll in the story and more or less is the Adam of the singularity world. You can find E99 spread throughout the world in canisters. The augmenters and weapons lockers are a little spread out, it would have been appreciated if they would have been more of them but this is a small complaint. The systems both work fine but are nothing we have not seen before.

Even though Singularity does not have graphics from out of this world, it is still a worthwhile experience to play.

The graphics in Singularity are great. Everything has a decrepit post apocalyptic look when it needs to and a clean new look at others. The time jumping in the game must have lead to a few sleepless nights for the artists as we are shown two entirely different looks for the same basic area. At some points in the game you get a look at the singularity that resides over the island and I have to say that it looks gorgeous. While you only ever see it from afar when you do your eyes are drawn to it. The character models are mediocre. They neither wow nor detract from your enjoyment and are what one has come to expect. The only oddity is that some characters seem to look somewhat cartoony yet other look more realistic. It is a weird problem but one that is noticeable. The sound is strong overall with great ambiance and background sounds to draw you in. Little creaks of pipes and the sound of rushing wind give the environments a sense of life that other games miss. The sound is another part of the game that fights mediocrity and wins. The graphics and sound are good but once again, nothing too special.

Overall Singularity is a fun game. The gameplay, while not very original, is solid and allows for a number of fun moments. The story is stronger than one would expect from a shooter but not as rewarding as the original BioShock. The endings are all interesting and different which makes you want to see the continuation of the story. The TMD allows for some frantic and difficult encounters throughout the game. The few boss fights are different enough from normal encounters to feel fresh. By the end of the game you will feel as though you have been on an adventure through time, and I think that is what Raven was aiming for.

Reviewed by jamespugh5 – August 4, 2010

Graphics
Good for the most part with the exception being some of the character models.
 
Sound
Great ambiance and background noise draws you into the experience.
 
Fun
A great time bending story combined with strong shooting mechanics and an awesome TMD utility make the game interesting. Singularity is anything you have not seen before. It is a worthwhile experience.
 
Final Score

 

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Responses

  1. I’m stoked to play this game.. Great review guys.

    • Thanks man. It’s a lot of fun. The game kinda came out of nowhere for me.


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