Singularity

8.0 Overall Score

Written by on July 29, 2010 in

by guest reviewer Ken Crockett

In Soviet Russia time has you!

Singularity is the new FPS from Raven Software with a shooter and sci-fi theme. You attempt to unravel a conspiracy and must fight your way through the ever-shifting environment. You work to uncover the mysteries surrounding the island of Katorga-12, where a 1955’s Soviet Russian experiment ended in a catastrophe. You use the “Time Manipulation Device (aka TMD) and fight enemies from the past and current time frame.

The game takes place in present day on a little island off the coast of the former Soviet Russia called Kortoga-12. According to the story, in 1955 Soviet Russia found an element only found on this island, called E-99. The element is so powerful that it can accomplish many things from allowing time-travel, to anti-gravity, to powering homes very efficiently. You play an American Black Ops soldier called on a mission to this island because a U.S spy satellite inexplicably goes dark  after detecting a large radiation spike on the island. You are surveying the area by helicopter when, all of a sudden, it crashes. You awake on the island and are making your way through to find your partner when suddenly a burst of light and energy hits you, and you’re suddenly in 1955.  Without giving out too many spoilers you save a man and are whisked back to 2010 to find the time you remember much different.

So that’s about all I can say without giving away too much of the story. The story itself is very engrossing and, for me, was probably the one thing that kept me coming back to the game. Throughout the game, the controls and gameplay mechanics seemed inconsistent and caused quite a bit of frustration.

First, I found there to be a confusing amount of controls in this game. Just about every button on the Xbox 360 controller is used in some sort of fashion, with a couple buttons that while they do two different things actually control the same “item” in the game. I come from more traditional gun and run FPS style games like Halo, TF2 and the like. I would liken this game much to Bioshock as it has the same look and feel to the game, but in this writer’s honest opinion the controls in the latter were much better. Many times playing Singularity I would hit RB and accidently deplete my ammo to blast an enemy instead of LB to use very little to accomplish the same thing.
I found the game mechanics also very frustrating. This isn’t the type of game where if you’re damaged you just have to duck and eventually you’ll recover, but maybe that’s what makes this game stand out from the rest. There are plenty of first-aid kits around so you can stock up and use them to heal when your health runs too low. However, I found that during certain parts of the game where I was surrounded by enemies and my health dropped very quickly, that I could be dead in just seconds without a chance to use a first-aid kit. While trying to defend myself and find an area to hide to get a better view of the enemies, the last thing on my mind was to tap the Up button on my d-pad to heal myself. As soon as your health is depleted, regardless of how many first-aid kits you have, you’re dead and go back to the last checkpoint. Some may like this in a FPS.  I would consider myself a seasoned FPS player, but I played this game on normal and found it frustrating, this being the type of mechanic I would expect in a harder difficulty.

Multiplayer puts you in rounds where you play as the time-effected enemies who have mutated over the years thanks to the exposure to E-99.  Most of the creatures are ones you will find in the single player game, each with their own ability to choose from. However it feels that the multiplayer was shoehorned into the game.  I feel that when playing a multiplayer game, the mechanics and feel of the single-player should cross over and not feel like it’s possibly a whole second game.  For instance, the teleport ability you have if you’re one of the mutants isn’t really a teleport.  It’s more of a gliding across the map, and you can’t teleport through walls, etc.  If the characters can do it in single-player, it should be something that can be done in multiplayer so it adds to the disconnect you will feel between the modes.

These are the things that stood out and were frustrating to me while I was playing this game.  The story is fantastic and actually enabled me to look past some of the gameplay flaws once I finished the entire game.  A word of advice, and I apologize if it’s cryptic, but when you beat the game, reload the game again from the continue screen, and choose the other option and you can see what would have happened if you chose the other options, as well as add to your achievements.

Singularity is rated M for Mature and is currently on store shelves.

A copy of Singularity was provided to The Married Gamers for the purposes of review and evaluation.

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