BioShock in SOVIET RUSSIA?! Actually a good idea!
Singularity starts somewhat oddly, seeming like a very hum-drum run-of-the-mill first person shooter, using a similar (if not the same) engine from BioShock. The game starts out with a "routine" fly-in of a huge island, with reports that odd happenings that have been showing some serious.... well, science-readings of some sort. You and Nolan North are stoking each other up about the odd reconnaissance mission you've both been sent on, setting up a little exposition to why you are headed there. You get a tiny glimpse of the odd effects that this island has come under, quickly realizing that shit has went down, resulting in your helicopter also going down to the ruins below.
The game does a good job of pacing and revealing story elements to you, while mixing in the gameplay elements alongside. You are given your first 'power' for the game's "Time Manipulation Device" at about the game's quarter-through mark, giving you plenty of time to get used to the rudimentary shooting and giving you access to most of the normal weapons by then. You are allowed two weapons at any point in time, which you can usually switch out at your leisure at any upgrade station, which are peppered rather smartly throughout the levels. Once you pick up a weapon, it appears in the upgrade station, which gives you access to it whenever you get to another one, as well as allowing you to upgrade it with the game's currency, Element 99. You find plenty of it on the main paths, and the developers did a good job of peppering little hidden caches of weapons/ammo/money everywhere, giving me a Half-Life 2 vibe that rather pleased me. Most of the twists in the story are somewhat hokey at times, but considering the story deals with time-traveling, I thought it was rather well done, without being too out there. The three endings to the game are more than just good-bad-evil, and they don't really make a huge lot of sense, but are all decent in their own rights. The game also doesn't shoehorn you into playing all the way through multiple times, since you just get a plain choice near the end, which the game conveniently checkpoints directly before. My only gripe about the gameplay was the Gravity Manipulation, which is the game's version of the Gravity Gun, but it was more useful in other situations than it was shoehorned into the gameplay, so it is more than forgiven.
The graphics are rather good at times, and rather sloppy at other times, depending on how closely you are looking at the environment. Most of the time, though, you don't notice slightly low-res textures on a non-descript hallway that you're probably going to blaze through shooting dudes anyway. The actual weapon models and effects are well done, and the attack animations of enemies look fluid for the most part, with the monsters moving so quickly or sporadically sometimes, it's actually not very easy to anticipate movement as well as in a lot of games. The T.M.D. graphic effects are rather well done as well, my favorite being the bullet-hang when you shoot a Deadlock orb. There are some blemishes on the game's graphical engine, which is probably a year or two old by now, but it definitely makes the most of what it has.
The game's sound is rather well done, even if it does appear to use some stock sound effects that may or may not be from other, more mainstream games. The music more than makes up for any recycled assets, being very unique and memorable all the way through. It rarely loops anything, unless you spend a particularly long time in combat, and usually you don't notice at that point.
Overall, the game surprised me, I had moderate expectations, and it surpassed anything I would have thought the game capable of. It is very fun, reminds me of several games that I had wished did Singularity's game elements as well as it did. I think that had it had a more solid multiplayer experience (which I admittedly did not even touch), it probably would have been a contender for a lot of people's games of the year. Despite lack of hype, though, Singularity shines and is definitely worth playing through at least once.