By - Craig H.
Singularity is a new IP from Raven Software, the studio behind the new Wolfenstein and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Singularity is a science fiction first person shooter (FPS) that was originally scheduled for release in late 2009.Raven Software used the extra development time to their advantage and was able to deliver a solid FPS with an intriguing story and entertaining gameplay.
In Singularity players take the role of a black ops soldier, Captain Nate Renko, to investigate a large electromagnetic surge. While approaching the island of Katorga-12, the source of the surge, you are met with a second surge that disables your helicopter and sends you crashing to the island. The island was presumed uninhabited but you quickly find out there is more to the island then first expected. The island was used for years by the Russians after the discovery of “Element 99” (E-99), a highly unstable but powerful power source, during the Cold War era. The Russians were trying to harness the full potential of E-99 when a powerful electromagnetic surge, known as the “Singularity”, occurred that destroyed much of the island. This caused the island to be caught between two different time periods, 1955 and 2010. Nate will have to fight through both periods to discover the truth about Katorga-12 and E-99.
A short time into the campaign Nate stumbles upon a device known as the TMD (Time Manipulation Device). This device can be used to time shift objects between 1955 and 2010 (i.e. from dilapidated to new and vice-versa). These time shifting abilities can be used to solve small puzzles and punish enemy combatants. The puzzles in the game are little more than using the TMD to repair a set of broken stairs to open a new path, or manipulating various boxes to open doors or reach new areas. The TMD could have been used for so much more in terms of puzzles but sadly the idea was under appreciated. The more intriguing aspect of the TMD is how you can use it against your enemies. Using the TMD you can change your enemies into dust, turn them into creatures, slow time within a given region for protection from enemy fire, inflict damage onto those stuck in the region, and much more. The TMD is a versatile weapon that has many interesting uses when used in tandem with your standard weapons.
The weapons in Singularity run the standard FPS mold but add a few unique weapons to the mix. Aside from assault rifles and shotguns you will be able to wield specialty weapons such as a sniper rifle with the ability to slow down time, a weapon dubbed the “seeker” that lets you steer the bullet to the enemy once fired, and an exploding rail-spike gun named the “spikeshot”. Weapons are able to be upgraded and exchanged at various weapon lockers throughout each level.
Singularity has a well written and intriguing story that is climaxed by 3 different endings (depending on your final choice in the game you will see 3 different end game cinematics) and will take roughly 8-10 hours to complete. With most FPS games having sub-par stories it is refreshing to have one that you genuinely want to play to see how everything fits together. Beyond just the general cutscenes and in-game dialogue, players can choose to better understand what happened on Katorga-12 by hunting down dropped notes, listening to audio tapes, watching films, and decrypting writings left on walls. Players can decide how involved they want to be in the story or skip past these objects and still get the meat of the story by playing through the campaign. Though these objects are not going to keep the player from grasping what happened they are a nice touch for those who wish to be more involved with the story.
Just the like the story, the overall presentation of the game is very good. All of the environments and characters are well polished and the time manipulation is always entertaining to watch. Having the landscape change from new to aged as you traverse a level is a very sleek effect.
The multiplayer consists of just two different modes that play similar to one another. The first mode is called “Creatures versus Soldiers” which is a team deathmatch mode. The second multiplayer mode is called “Extermination” which is an objective-based match. In the Extermination mode teams are tasked with the activating enemy beacons. The match is won by either activating all beacons or activating the most beacons before the time runs out. Each of the available classes has multiple characters to play as. Soldiers are controlled in a first person view while the Creatures are controlled via third person perspective. Singularity's multiplayer modes, though both entertaining, are not strong enough to pull gamers away from other multiplayer games for long.
Singularity is a solid FPS with an intriguing story that will keep you interested till the end. The presentation and gunplay is excellent. The standard difficulty is challenging and a repeat play on the hard difficulty is punishing (expert FPS players only). Overall, Singularity is a very well made game that is a joy to play and is recommended to any FPS fan that is looking for a new experience.
· -Intriguing story that keeps you entertained for the entire campaign
· -Guns feel right and have a good variety beyond the standard FPS weapons
· -The combination of weapons and the TMD to dispose of enemies is extremely satisfying
· -High quality graphics and presentation
· -Multiple endings with separate end game cinematics
· -Limited multiplayer modes (Only 2 modes)
· -The TMD could have been used more effectively in puzzle sections
· -Limited campaign replayability after initial playthrough with no chapter select option