I dont usually write video game reviews, but when I beat Singularity, I couldnt help myself. I was *compelled* to write down what I thought and articulate what I felt. So, is the game amazingly awesome
or some complete garbage? Read on, loyal readers. Read on
Singularity (PC, PS3, Xbox 360 [reviewed])
Developer: Raven Software
Released: June 29, 2010
Plot: The game takes place on a mysterious island known as "Katorga-12" where Russian experiments involving "E99" took place during the height of the Cold War era. Sometime during 1955, a terrible catastrophe known as the "Singularity" occurred on the island, causing the island's very existence to be covered up by the Russian government. The player controls Nate Renko, a Black Ops soldier who is sent to investigate bizarre radiation emissions coming from the island, only to crash land there. After regaining consciousness, Nate finds the TMD (Time Manipulation Device) and discovers that the island is constantly shifting between the time periods of 1955 and 2010.
He also encounters Barisov, the scientist in charge of the Katorga-12 experiments. He reveals that a man named Demichev on the island is trying to restart the experiments on a much larger scale, which could cause an unthinkable disaster. During the quest to stop Demichev, the player will have to deal with hostile Russian forces in both time periods, and the hideously mutated flora, fauna and former residents of the island, some of which have developed time manipulation powers of their own. Source
Before I get into the review let me explain a few things about myself. I love games and have for some time. My favorite game of all time is Donkey Kong Country for the SNES. (I loved that game so much I beat DCK 2 and 3 just to spend more time in that universe). I had a Sega Genesis as a kid (and thus was left out of all the game talk at school because everyone else had a Super Nintendo, which I didnt play until much later). I only recently got into First Person Shooters, but I absolutely love them now. The first FPS I ever played was Half-Life 2 (which I love
). Now that my roommate and I have all the current consoles, if you wanna talk about a game, Ive probably played it.
So, thats a little about me and my background in games. On to the review!
I *really* enjoyed this game.
The most (as in THE MOST) important thing to me is how a game FEELS. It must feel intuitive, fun and complementary to what youre doing. If I feel like Im fighting the controls I dont spend too much time on that game (which is why I never liked any of the Splinter Cell games before Conviction. They all controlled like garbage
but I digress). This game feels really good and hands control of the game over to you slowly so that youre not overwhelmed by what each button does (since theres a TON of buttons to remember by the end of the game). Each button also does what youd expect it to do. A is jump, B is crouch, etc. (Mirrors Edge had LB as jump and as much as I love that game, I wanted to throw my controller across the room every time I accidentally hit A to jump instead of LB ARGHH! You better not do that with the second game, Dice. *shakes fist violently at them*. A is the universal button to jump!)
In addition to it feeling *really good*, the mood and visuals for the game are gorgeous. Many times I would stop and look around just to see how pretty everything was (in a scary, nightmarish, post-apocalyptic kinda way). Although much of the game is dark (by design) colors pop (especially blues and oranges) and textures look really great. Theres a good set of weapons to choose from (although I ended up using only the Autocannon (Minigun. Yes!) and Shotgun) and theres a good variety of enemies as well.
One of the main aspects of the game is the Time Manipulation Device (or TMD) that you wear on you left hand. With it you have several magical abilities (I guess theyre really time-based abilities, but whatever. It *feels* like magic). So, you shoot weapons with you right hand and perform magic with your left. Sound familiar? Yup. This is strikingly similar to a little game called Bioshock.
And here is where the brunt of the criticism of this game comes from. Its basically like Bioshock (cause you have powers/plasmids. The mood/tone is also very similar) and Half-Life (there are physics-based puzzles) combined. There are also a few portals that you used in the game to teleport to different locations/times (wonder what game used those
). Thus, the main word a lot of people have been using to describe this game is derivative: Its good, but it doesnt bring anything new to the table.
I dont really agree with this consensus. While its easy to say, its Bioshock meets Half-Life, Im very aware of how difficult that is to actually do well. The fact that Raven Software executed the concepts well (which are not all derivative. Thats a gross oversimplification) is very impressive to me. Its also a really solid shooter, probably the best shooter thats come out this year so far. Its not the best *game* of the year (that honor goes to Mass Effect 2) but its a really good shooter that I think people should check it out.
Some mild annoyances are 1.) Near the end of the game youre so powerful that the game almost feels broken. Theres really no challenge left at all. I was also stocking up health packs and conserving magic for a huge end boss
which doesnt happen. That was a bit disappointing. The way the story unfolds is very cool, but kinda felt incomplete without a huge, takes-40-minutes-to-take-down boss at the end. 2.) When you beat the game there isnt a way to just play sections/chapters of the game over. You can play the last 10 minutes again (which is basically loading your last save in the game) or restart from scratch. Also, as far as I know theyre no cheats to get all the weapons on the onset or anything cool like that. Thats kinda wack. What motivation is there to replay the game?
Another point about this game is that virtually NO MARKETING was done for it. Most people I talk to dont even k now the game exists. The reason I knew about it is because I like Raven Software (theyre cool people) and I really liked their last game Wolfenstein. As such, I was looking forward to what they would do next, which ended up being Singularity. This whole situation is just aggravating because its like Activision basically sent the game out to die. When it doesnt sell well (and how could it with no push by the publisher
at all) Team Raven is gonna be blamed for it, and thats just not right. When Red Dead Redemption was released, you couldnt turn on the TV, listen to the radio or drive down the street without being reminded that that game was out. Games need marketing to do well. It doesnt guarantee it, but Im upset that Singularity wasnt given the chance to shine. Activision has been actively promoting Call of Duty: Black Ops since late March. That game doesnt come out until NOVEMBER!
Overall, singularity is a really fun, solid sci-fi shooter that may get swept under the rug because of lousy marketing. The Russian accents may sound ridiculous, but thats all part of the fun. You get to shoot teleporting beasts, giant arachnids and mutated creatures *in the face*. Ha! What could be better than that?
Final Verdict: B+
Have YOU played it (or any cool games recently)? What do you think? Let me know!!
ALSO, LET ME KNOW if you'd like to see more video game reviews in the future. ^_^
Much love, yall. Talk to you soon!
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