jdub_xl's Singularity (Xbox 360) review

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A Timey Wimey Adventure

Singularity is by definition; a game that should not be good. It borrows almost every idea, gameplay mechanic, and basic structure from other games. It places you in very simple situations that require you to use the games time mechanics 
in very contrived ways. It also has the same very basic shooting mechanics of nearly every other first person shooter.
Yet somehow, even With all these things stacked against it, Singularity manages to be a fun time tripping adventure.
 
Singularity takes place on Katorga-12; a secret Russian controlled island. Led by Joseph Stalin in the 1950s, scientists found a special multi purpose element known as E-99. While experimenting on the element for war purposes, scientists accidentally discovered that E-99 can actually manipulate time itself allowing the user to go forward or backward in time and also alter the age of various items and creatures. This led to future experimentation that ended in a catastrophic explosion that killed nearly everyone on the island. 

In the year 2010, The American governemnt picks up an anomaly on their radar and sends you and Nolan North to investigate the activity on the island. Before you can safely land, your chopper is hit with a unknown blast and you are sent crashing down as well as stranded from your team and Nolan North. As you make your way through the begining of the game killing mutated monsters, it's not long before you are uncontrollably sent back in time and start changing future events without even realizing it. 
 
After a quick trip to the 1950s you become equiped with the TMD; a wrist worn device that allows the user to manipulate time at will. This device becomes the games most useful device for both combat and moving through the enviornment. As you move further into the facilities of Katorga-12 you find audio recordings, notes, and other clues as to what 
happened 50 years ago and what aspect of the deadly experiments still exist in the present day.  
 
The TMD is your key to the city for Katorga-12. You start off with the basic power to age and renew enemies and objects but as you make your way through, you will gain some pretty impressive advantages over your enemies. The most useful power for combat is Deadlock. With Deadlock you create a time bubble around a selected area and freeze anything inside. 
This allows you a limited time to unleash hell on whoever or whatever is trapped inside. This is also used in some puzzles, as are all the other TMD powers such as your ability to pick up, carry, and throw heavy objects and your ability to age or renew all sorts of environmental obstacles. You also find broken health and ammo crates that you can age back 
to working condition and open for goodies. 
 
As promising as it may seem, the puzzle aspect is pretty disapointing and is really held back by how contrived it is. Aside from picking up and throwing things, You can only manipulate things that have been made out of or covered in E-99 in some way. This gives the game a very linear structure that most other games in this genre seem to be stuck in. There are just far too many "fix the stairs" or "fix this crate and lift the door" scenarios for its own good. 
 
The TMD is much more impressive when it comes to combat. Traping people in a Deadlock bubble and blowing off their heads and other limbs while they were helplessy frozen never got old and aging soldiers into monsters and turning them on eachother was fun as well. Aging people to dust was also a valid strategy. The only problem with this is doing cool things takes a lot of TMD Energy. TMD energy replenishes way to slowly on its own and there are not enough TMD packs to go around. Luckily you find a lot of Upgrades to use to make TMD consumption and restoration easier to swollow. There are a bunch of upgrades for both the TMD and your weapons as well as the players own natural abilities asuming you collect the necessary ammount of upgrade tech and Weapon upgrades.  
 
 Aside from the TMD powers you have a wide arsenal of guns waiting for you to find. These range from the standard pistol to the time slowing sniper rifle to the standard shotgun and assault rifle. Notable standouts include the "Seeker", a gun that allows you to control the exploding bullets fired and lead them to your desired target. There is also the "Spikeshot", a charging railgun with explosive bullets. lock on to a soldiers head with this one and they will have one less head in a few seconds.
Singularity is a game that borrows almost everything from other games yet I still found myself enjoying the experience very much. The time weaving story keeps moving at a good pace and is filled with all sorts of timey wimey events. The combat is fun, the game looks great, the TMD works well, and The enviornments and setting is interesting. All these things add up to a game that is maybe not unique but still a fun experience none the less.   

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