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I don’t usually write video game reviews, but when I beat ‘Singularity’, I couldn’t 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
Publisher: Activision
Released: June 29, 2010
MSRP: $59.99


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 didn’t 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 :heart: ).  Now that my roommate and I have all the current consoles, if you wanna talk about a game, I’ve probably played it. ;)

So, that’s a little about me and my background in games. On to the review!

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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 you’re doing. If I feel like I’m ‘fighting the controls’ I don’t 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 you’re not overwhelmed by what each button does (since there’s a TON of buttons to remember by the end of the game).  Each button also does what you’d expect it to do. ‘A’ is jump, ‘B’ is crouch, etc. (Mirror’s 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. There’s a good set of weapons to choose from (although I ended up using only the Autocannon (Minigun. Yes!) and Shotgun) and there’s 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 they’re 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. It’s 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’: It’s good, but it doesn’t bring anything new to the table.

I don’t really agree with this consensus. While it’s easy to say, it’s ‘Bioshock meets Half-Life’, I’m 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. That’s a gross oversimplification) is very impressive to me. It’s also a really solid shooter, probably the best shooter that’s come out this year so far. It’s not the best *game* of the year (that honor goes to ‘Mass Effect 2’) but it’s a really good shooter that I think people should check it out.

Some mild annoyances are 1.) Near the end of the game you’re so powerful that the game almost feels broken. There’s really no challenge left at all. I was also stocking up health packs and conserving magic for a huge end boss…which doesn’t 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 isn’t 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 they’re no cheats to get all the weapons on the onset or anything cool like that. That’s 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 don’t even k now the game exists. The reason I knew about it is because I like Raven Software (they’re 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 it’s like Activision basically sent the game out to die. When it doesn’t sell well (and how could it with no push by the publisher…at all) Team Raven is gonna be blamed for it, and that’s just not right. When ‘Red Dead Redemption’ was released, you couldn’t 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 doesn’t guarantee it, but I’m upset that ‘Singularity’ wasn’t given the chance to shine. Activision has been actively promoting ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops’ since late March. That game doesn’t 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 that’s 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?

:star: Final Verdict: B+ :star:

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, y’all. Talk to you soon! :heart: :hug: :heart:

Mike Crichlow

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Add a Comment:
 
:iconidarkshadowi:
IDarkShadowI Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
I enjoyed the game... has some things from other games like deadspace, bioshock and other games that i dont remember right now, but for me has the inovation of changing the time in some parts of the game, really interesting!
What I really love of the game was the weapons, very unique in their type... specially the remote controled bullet (remembers me Korn's Freak On A Leash)
But I really hate the end of the game...

Was funny till last
Reply
:iconmichaelcrichlow:
MichaelCrichlow Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2010
Yeah, the ending kinda disappointed me as well. But, I really liked the controls so I thought it was a really good game overall. I agree! It had really cool weapons! :D
Reply
:iconmonele:
Monele Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I like your reviews in general, so touching on video games is definitely something I'd enjoy :)
Reply
:iconecee77:
ecee77 Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2010
I will have to give that a try....I read some articles on it some time back when it was still in development, and thought they were onto a very interesting idea...
And since you say it's somewhat in the same vein as Bioshock, that motivates me to give it a try even more (I loved the first Bioshock, but have yet to play the sequel)!

I'm pretty behind on games since the funds ain't what they used to be, and my last major purchase was God of War 3, and I scored a copy of Heavy Rain and Mag on the cheap... I think my next purchase will be Mass Effect 2 since I still haven't gotten around to that one, and old Commander Shepard needs to get back on the scene (by the time I finished the first one, I didn't even really need the other 2 squad members to do anything in a fight, lol).

Thanks for the heads up on Singularity!
Reply
:iconmichaelcrichlow:
MichaelCrichlow Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2010
Awesome! Glad ya liked the review and hope you like the game. ^^

Defintely check out 'Mass Effect 2' when you gert a chance. It's fantastic! :)

Cheers! :D :heart:
Reply
:iconredshoulder:
RedShoulder Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2010
Haven't played this yet, but now I'm interested in it. I had seen some earlier coverage of it but I was not even aware that it had come out already.

I will definitely rent it and give it a go. Thanks for this review!

---
"The great curse of my life is that I'm still f@&!#*g alive!"
--Harlan Ellison
Reply
:iconmichaelcrichlow:
MichaelCrichlow Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2010
Cool! Yeah, give it a rent and see if ya dig it. :)

Thanks kindly! Hopefully I'll be able to do more game reviews in the future. :D
Reply
:iconredshoulder:
RedShoulder Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2010
One quick question: I know that time manipulation is one of the game's elements, but do you think it was handled better here than in TIMESHIFT?

I will definitely try to rent it and give it a spin in the ol' 360.

...But first, I gotta get through some of METAL GEAR SOLID: PEACE WALKER on my PSP! That game is great so far!

--
"Do not stand behind him...if you value your life."
--from GOLGO 13 (2008-2009)
Reply
:iconmichaelcrichlow:
MichaelCrichlow Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2010
I think it was handled MUCH better than 'TimeShift'. I downloaded the demo and didn't really like that game. I *really* like 'Singularity. Yeah, give it a rental and see what you think. :)

Cheers! :D
Reply
:iconredshoulder:
RedShoulder Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2010
Thanks--will do!

---
"Do not stand behind him...if you value your life."
--from GOLGO 13 (2008-2009)
Reply
:iconlightbombmike:
LightBombMike Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2010  Professional Filmographer
Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for helping to get the word out about it!
Reply
:iconmichaelcrichlow:
MichaelCrichlow Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2010
No prob, mate. Glad ya liked the review. :)
Reply
:iconlightbombmike:
LightBombMike Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2010  Professional Filmographer
OH, and I might as well address your two points.

1) Yeah, I definitely agree that the middle is the hardest, and by the end you are a super human in the middle of a cake walk. I think that happened sort of organically, and we kept it as a way to contrast just how adept you have become with the TMD to the craziness of the island. And hopefully, to have an arc to the player, from starting out grossly out gunned at the beginning, a stranger in a strange land, to being the master of everything by the end. A little growth to the gameplay to mimic the narrative. I think the execution could definitely grown that more dynamically, so that people felt that in a more positive way though. For a while we planned a big boss battle at the end, but the focus ended up being that we should give the player a choice, as ultimately Demichev and Barisov are the ones responsible, and ultimately, the "bosses" of the island. So a little different, but hopefully equally as rewarding.

2) Yeah, no level selects was a bummer. And not being able to start with the TMD at the beginning on a second play through I know makes people sad. But ulimately, those were decisions made due to time constraints and polish. Adding the TMD to the mix allows the player to break scripted sequences in many ways. If you had that in the first couple of levels, we would have had to design for that possibility, on top of just designing them to work without it. And ultimately, we wouldn't have had the time to polish that to the level we wanted. Same with the level selects. There was an intent to do that throughout the game, but again, that was something we sacrificed so our time could be spent on making the rest of the game shine that much brighter. Because making the guns feel better, or the level run smoother, is whats important. Without those being polished, you wouldn't want to go back and select them anyways! Plus, this just means you have to play through it again if you want to experience something a second time ;)
Reply
:iconmichaelcrichlow:
MichaelCrichlow Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2010
Ahhh. I see what you're saying, mate. You make some very interesting point there. Thanks for taking the time to comment and everything! :D

Talk to you soon. ^_^
Reply
:icontiiara:
Tiiara Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2010  Student Digital Artist
I played it some weeks ago. I really liked the basic idea of aging objects and stuff but I think it should've been used more in the game. There are only a handfull of times where you really NEED the device to complete some task. The most game can be done with just simple firepower. Don't get me wrong, the game was awesome. But it had a lot potential the makers didn't use. That's kinda sad, because the story was cool and most characters interesting. A bit more depth on the character developement and more infos on the other side characters and more physical puzzles for your aging device (I forgot the name) =3

Btw, I really loved ALL the Splinter Cell games and played them to an unhealthy extend but I never had any problems with the controls. Maybe because the first games until Conviction were all developed for PC instead for console =3
Reply
:iconmichaelcrichlow:
MichaelCrichlow Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2010
Cool comment! Yeah, I think the Splinter Cell games were not designed for me. It's super-cool you like them, though. Rock on!

Yeah, as you're going though there are ways that you see how they could have made the game better/more immersive. I thought it was still really cool overall with some great set pieces (like escaping the sinking ship and fighting the boss on the train). :)

Talk to you soon! :D
Reply
:icontiiara:
Tiiara Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2010  Student Digital Artist
I loved the ship sequence. There were some awesome moments, when you went through a corridor and the walls began rusting around you. I had a really bad feeling the whole time I was on the ship and I like it. :D
Another cool thing was the weapon (don't know the name) where you could switch the camera to the bullet and guide it in slow motion.
Reply
:iconmasterofshadows:
masterofshadows Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2010
i've just found the TMD and now the game is getting alot more fun. The sniper gun that lets you manipulate the bullets in-flight was really cool but it seems to have disappeared..
Reply
:iconmichaelcrichlow:
MichaelCrichlow Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2010
I think that gun is 'The Seeker'. yeah, 'tis very cool. Perhaps you'll get it again at a weapons locker. Yeah, the game definitely picks up once you get the TMD. :)
Reply
:iconkirfalas:
Kirfalas Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Haven't played it myself, I've finally started playing Bioshock 1 and 2 lately. But the review sounds good, I may have to give it a try later on.

I think your game review was very good though, I'd like to see more :)
Reply
:iconmichaelcrichlow:
MichaelCrichlow Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2010
Thanks very much! Yeah, the Bioshock games are amazing. I'll try and do more game reviews in the future. :D
Reply
:iconkirfalas:
Kirfalas Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Sounds great! :D
Reply
:iconmichaelcrichlow:
MichaelCrichlow Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2010
Give it a rental. It's a pretty cool game! :D :heart:
Reply
:iconlucascube:
LucasCube Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2010
Cool games are hard to find. Mass effect series and Dragon age are the ones I would say are the coolest ones I've played recently. Thanks for the review, I may give it a try.
Reply
:iconmichaelcrichlow:
MichaelCrichlow Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2010
Thanks! Yeah, the Mass Effect games are amazing. Give Singularity a rent and see what you think. :)
Reply
:iconkungfuiam:
kungfuiam Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2010
I would give it a C+ it tried allot of new thing but didnt really perfect them. on another note you should write more game reviews
Reply
:iconmichaelcrichlow:
MichaelCrichlow Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2010
Thanks, mate. Yeah, I may do more reviews in the future. :)
Reply
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