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July 15, 2010
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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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: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
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: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:
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: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
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: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
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