Russians are once again the bad guys as they mess with not only a highly unstable radioactive compound but create devices that mess with time and people in this first person shooter by Raven.
Graphics & Audio: 18/25,
Singularity for the PC and PlayStation 3 are identical except for controls with the game both looking and playing the same on either system. Singularity is brought to us by Raven Software and Activision on the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 systems and is a straight forward first person shooter adventure game.
Singularity takes place on a fictional Russian island between Russia and Alaska that a special ops team is searching in modern day times with you along for the ride. Your team starts the show at a disadvantage when an electromagnetic pulse crashes your helicopter and splits up your team.
Your first level is getting together with team leader Devlin and hunting through the island for clues, weapons and anything else useful. The game takes flashbacks both visually and realistically by tossing your character back and forth between modern day and an incident that threw the island into ruin back during the cold war.
Your main protagonists in Singularity are demented radioactive creatures that have a penchant for tearing your limbs off but they are equally easy to kill with a few well placed bullets, especially to the head. The game is pretty straight forward and reminds me much of games like Bioshock and even Red Faction with their linear levels and simple puzzles.
The game plays a lot like older ones like Doom and Quake with its toss monsters in front of gun, wait for shooter to rid screen of flailing enemy then repeat when you trip the next trigger. The game may have a few areas that are unique and different than this but much of the game is a simple hunt for clues that reveal the story line and mainly get rid of anything that is not a fellow human.
You’re given a few weapons in the course of your shooting and even some unique devices that use the radioactive element the island was inhabited to mine and research. One toy you will find interesting for awhile is the Time Manipulation Device that can move objects back and forth in time rapidly.
When you lock onto an object, say a crate, you can turn the time forward and have that crate start to decay into pieces and then move the pieces through a previously unreachable area and reverse time to reincarnate the crate. This of course is not exactly logical but it makes for a slightly different basis for some of the puzzles and fighting like being able to use the same feature on a living enemy.
Much like Bioshock, Singularity tosses in a few puzzles here and there but nothing that is that difficult or even that memorable when you have passed the challenge. The games main theme is run from one point to the next shooting anything in your way with an occasional pause for a puzzle to add to the gaming fun.
The game does take a lot from previous games in the same type starting with older ones like Doom and Quake then continuing to the present with a very similar style from Bioshock. Singularity is not all that creative and does borrow from these games a bit too heavily which is probably why reviewers have given it such average ratings.
Gamers may like it as a different run and gun first person shooter as it does have a different story line and strays well from current first person shooters. In the end the game is a mixed bag of similar styles and different gaming types that have created a game that stands a bit apart from other first person shooters currently flooding the gaming scene.
Graphics and audio are also a mixed bag as you have the graphics of the usually excellent Unreal Engine but textures and some problems with video may not make the game as enjoyable. I found problems with viewing the game for long stretches due to tearing and out of focus textures while moving my character but others may not find this as distracting.
Textures are good but unlike more polished games the entire package is not as well finished as it could have been, the games textures and something else in the engine causes a blurred effect while moving the on screen camera around. I am not sure this is as pronounced now that Raven has issued a patch but it is still there and quite noticeable to me, I start to get nauseated when playing for any length of time.
Due to the effects of the graphics and this blurring or whatever it i, if you have problems with eye strain, nausea or even seizures from games you may want to steer clear of this one. The graphics look pretty good but like Bioshock they are muddled and very dirty looking for the most part but they do work.
Audio is fairly good but does also have that unfinished quality for voice acting, general sounds and effects as well as the theme music that plays throughout the game. You get the feeling again that the game could have spent a little more time in the programming lab instead of meeting some deadline to ship.
Singularity includes a multiplayer area but this seems much like a tacked on feature just because most games have multiplayer, there is really not much new or unique here either. You have two types of multiplayer games, team death match and soldiers versus creatures with both being about what you would expect.
Team death match is the soldiers of the game fighting against creatures to get the most kills before time runs out without any worries about objectives. The soldier versus creatures is much like other games, AVP or aliens types, where soldiers battle to take control and defend points while creatures try to take them away.
While a creature does not have any projectile weapons abilities like phasing through walls and putting up shields or these rope like energy weapons sure even things up. With the variety of abilities to both sides and having one creature that can attack and take over a soldier things are quite hectic and confusing but fun in its own way.
The multiplayer as well as the single player really does not have anything we have not seen multiple times before in other games and this would be the lower rating from reviewers. Gamers interested in the FEAR, Bioshock type games will undoubtedly find something here to tide them over but as things stand the game is above average but nothing to make very big waves.
Singularity on the PC plays identically to the PS3 so the game system you wish to purchase would depend on the availability and the controls you prefer as both games play the same. Singularity is a pretty good game and one that will certainly tide you over until the next crop of AAA titles comes out this fall but is not much more.