Created by Raven, Singularity doesnít try to be too clever
for its own good but rather, creates an addictively entertaining
first person shooter that is reminiscent of game such as Bioshock,
Half-life and F.E.A.R. Set in a pseudo universe where Russia
discovered an unusually powerful mineral in the 1950ís which they dubbed
Element 99 (E99) proved to be more meddlesome than its worth. Not only did this
mineral turn out to be a
powerful energy source but it also had the ability to manipulate
time. The research of E99 took place on the island of Katorga-12
<insert Bioshock clichťs> as the Russians attempted to create a
research utopia but unfortunately something went awry.
this disaster, the Russians decided to evacuate the island and close
the facility but 50-years later, a large radiation blip has appeared
on the radar, causing alarm for the Americans. Sending in an elite
team to investigate, the story of Singularity starts to unravel as
the player is to taken to two time periods, that of the 1950ís and
2010. Without spoiling the story, Singularity features a fun
storyline and through notes, recording and other means, you put
together an interesting puzzle of what was and what will be. Itís a
great story that thankfully doesnít take itself too seriously.
twist to Singularity is the TMD which is a time manipulation device
that is discovered early on in the game and allows the player to
some extent control time around you. It adds some great gaming
moments to the title as you can use this device for a variety of
things such as slowing time, recreating destroyed structures and
even ageing your enemies. Weapons are also available, thanks to E99
which include your standard weaponry from guns to shotguns and some
bigger spoiler free weaponry. Even though some have criticised the
graphics of this game, I think Singularity looks brilliant on the
XBox 360 with its highly detailed graphics, engaging environments
and enemies that seem to have come out of a horror movie. It adds to
the atmosphere quite well. The first few levels are the most
memorable as you see this giant radiation cloud spew red gases into
the air and the island looks quite desertedÖ not that it really is.
game is reminiscent of those first person shooters from yesterday,
as opposed to the serious games of today. Itís just good old
fashioned action as you shoot enemies mutated from E99, be
transported back to the 50ís to piece together more of the story and
of course use your TMD to interfere with time itself. Another
highlight of the game is that it can become quite frantic at times
which is made worse because of the limited ammunition and not
knowing what is around the corner.
game uses some frightening flashbacks (or time-backs if such a word
exists) that shows you what happened in the 1950ís and then all of a
sudden, the creature that attacked them is suddenly attacking you.
For those that want to get involved in the story more, itís well
worth the effort and through the notes and audio recordings, it
gives you a great insight into life on Katorga-12 and yes, itís been
done before in other games such as Bioshock but it works equally
well here. Apart from killing, Singularity has some interesting time
puzzles where you need to manipulate the environment to solve you
current dilemma. This helps break things up but once again, you just
never know what the consequences will be such as the larger than
life boss battles. Itís very well scripted.
is a good assortment of enemies in the game, each with their
strengths and weaknesses but as opposed to the Russian humans, the
mutants can really kick your ass at the most frustrating of times.
Nothing is worse then being enclosed in a tight space as E99 mutants
attempt to bust you up and when the ammo starts running low, you
need to switch to your melee knife attack. With that said, the AI is
pretty good and I would recommend people play the game on a higher
difficulty setting to give you that added challenge. The biggest
problem with the game is running out of ammunition on a higher
difficulty level which can be quite frustrating, especially as you
play the level again and again.
Similar to Bioshock, your TMD becomes an integral part of the
gameplay which can be improved at various upgrade consoles littered
throughout the game. This is another piece of gameplay candy to the
player as it keeps things fresh and motivates you to discover the
next power the TMD can perform. Itís also interesting how your
powers donít affect all enemies in the same manner. For example,
your time manipulation affects mutants differently which adds an
element of strategy into the gameplay. My favourite power is slowing
down time when you shoot your weapon, just like the movie Wanted
which is great for the sniper rifle. Very cool indeed!
fans of multiplayer, Singularity supports XBox Live and features two
fun modes called Extermination and Creatures vs. Soldiers.
Extermination is like your traditional assault mode, whereas
Creatures vs. Soldiers is team death match and is quite fun to play.
Itís almost like zombies versus humans which can get quite heated at
times. There are several classes available and the map design for
multiplayer is in-depth, without it being too large. For such a well
made single player game, the multiplayer aspect may be small but it
will definitely bring with it some fans.
Graphically, Singularity is a good looking game on the 360 and I
loved how the developers swap between the current time and the
1950ís. There is some great contrast between the time periods as
well, with the 1950ís being all shiny and new, whereas in 2010, you
are walking through a ruined research facility with buildings
falling around you. The flashbacks are well incorporated into the
game and the developers make good use of the lighting, especially to
scare the player. The characters are animated well, although it
would have been nice if the mutants were a little more detailed as
opposed to a blob like mutation. The 1950ís technology littered
through the game and is fun to use as is watching the videos with
the Russian propaganda against the Americans of the era. The Unreal
engine which this game uses still works a charm!
Singularity may be a game that has been there and done that but
those naysayers are wrong. Itís just a good old fashioned first
person shooter that has a fun story, entertaining gameplay and an
experience that is enjoyable from start to finish. It may not be the
most memorable game in the world but if youíre a sucker for those
classic oldies like Half-Life and Doom, the 21st century
graphics and gameplay will really get you suckered in.