sup909's Singularity (Xbox 360) review

Combine Half Life and Bioshock and out comes Singularity.

What happens when you take Modern Warfare controls and speed and throw it into the Half Life puzzle physics/scheme and tell a story with the nuance Bioshock? You get Singularity, a time bending, puzzle solving shooter that has you playing with physics, shooting time mutated enemies and running with fun customizable weaponry.  
 
 As the main character your find yourself on the island of Katorga-12 investigating a radiation explosion. You quickly find yourself thrown into a world where things have gone terribly wrong and you need to navigate through the world to set things right. The pacing and atmosphere of the game is almost straight out of Half Life, including a stream of fire shooting into the sky with a world falling apart around you.  Another element straight out of Half Life is the  TDM device that essentially gives you the gravity gun from HL2. What makes this so much fun though is the TDM is essentially a fusion of the gravity gun from HL2 and Plasmids from Bioshock. While the TDM doesn't allow you to manipulate everything within the world, it offers  a fun mechanic to use on enemies and for puzzles in a non-frustrating way.
 
The shooting mechanic on the whole is very solid. It is a modern warfare style down the rails shooter with some decent weapons that are slowly introduced to you as you progress. My only complaint with the weapons is that I really had no incentive to use anything beyond the assault rifle and the shotgun. My use of these two weapons in fact is perhaps even solidified by the fact that there is an upgrade system in place. Upgrading the weapons is straight out of Bioshock, where you have to collect upgrade pieces and visit stations in the levels to install upgrades. The mechanic is fun and while the weapons themselves do not physically change it does offer a nice progression to the weapon system. The downfall however, as I hinted at is that it almost guaranteed that I focused only on specific weapons throughout the game.  
 
Keeping with the Bioshock elements the game also tells much of the story through the of tape recorders scattered throughout the levels and writing written on the walls. It is simple, but effective. What i was perhaps most enamoured with in the game was the time traveling element. While used sparingly, your character at times has to travel back to 1955 to achieve certain goals. What was actually most fun about this element though was that once you returned to 2010 the world would change, often times drastically based upon the events of the past. It is preset, sure, but still fun.  
 
Now the game is not without faults. Overall identity is a bit thin. The game opens as a horror shooter, but quickly changes its identity about an hour in to a standard shooter.  The story I found hard to follow as well. Throughout the entire game I was on a path to try to change the past, but the reasonings as to why I was going this specific path was never clear. I was obviously able to go back to the past through the game. Why not just go back and correct the actions that took place? Why was I going through the progression that I was? Not everything in the world could be manipulated by the TDM either and the explanation used was thin. While I understand the technical reasonings for this, the in game reasonings were not well spelled out. 

The story is not really the reason to play this game though. Singularity is a technical spectacle. What makes the game so great is the fact that it was able to meld some of the best parts of past shooters into something that actually works. The TDM is a combined gravity gun from HL2 and plasmid from Bioshock. The story is told through the tape recorders of Bioshock and the wall writings of HL2. For some reason it just works and while the story itself is odd at best, the game comes together and the ending itself is actually fairly satisfying, leaving the gamer in limbo as to the overall effects of your actions on time, history and the world. 

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