Singularity is a new game published by Activision and developed by Raven Software, famous for Hexen, Heretic, Jedi Knight and a list of other classics. They’re also developers of the recent X-Men Origins:Wolverine, which is definitely worth playing despite the movie was, and the recent revival of Wolfenstein, which wasn’t very good. Singularity is available for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 as of June 29th, 2010. I picked up Singularity PC, but for the most part your Singularity PS3 or Xbox 360 experience should be very similar.
The focus of Singularity is the TMD or Time Manipulation Device. You may see echoes of this gameplay mechanic from the dismal TimeShift, but have no fear, this is implemented in a much better and more intuitive manner. Once you find the TMD, you head back to 1955 just like Doc Brown told Marty McFly, and that’s where the real Singularity gameplay begins after the introductory levels serve as a tutorial of sorts. You now alternate between the present (2010 in the game) and the aforementioned 1955 on a small island southeast of Russia.
An Alteration in History – Story Elements
Years earlier during the reign of Stalin, a new element is found called Element 99 or E-99. This element is the core of Singularity; it powers the Time Manipulation Device, it caused the Singularity event mutating the inhabitants into the bulk of your enemies and boss enemies, and it threatens the present with an alternate history dominated by communist Russia and it’s E-99 bombs which have wiped the eastern seaboard of the United States off the map. That’s a lot to take in, but it’s a fairly well done story(I am currently ¾ of the way through the game.)
Time Manipulation Device
The TMD mechanics in Singualrity are very nice, which is good since they are the focus.. All options are available to you at the same time, mapped to different buttons or keys. You can slow time, force mutations, and shift an object back and forth through time amongst other interesting functions. The standard combat is pretty plain-jane, but works well. Aiming, especially through the iron-sights, is smooth. You can temporarily slow time through your sniper weapon scope. Then, to top it off, there are some inventive E-99 infused Singularity weapons, including one which allows you to steer the bullet for maximum gibbing carnage.
All in all, to this point, Singularity is solid. There are times when it feels like a hodge-podge of other games. Bioshock with the tape recorder story elements. A bit of fallout 3 with the mutant waseland feel. Of course, you also have your Alyx Vance-like female sidekick, who in a may or may not be double-crossing you. It even has a bit of Deadspace in there when a boss grabs you and you must aim for specific targets in order to be released. All that being said, they picked some great games to model after; that doesn’t seem like such a bad thing to me. The other thing to point out is that the graphics are a mixed bag. Textures often times don’t pop up correctly and some are just so low-res they stand out as particularly awful against the ones that are good. Despite this, I recommend giving Singularity a shot. It’s at least a rental, if not a purchase. Singularity is in stores now for $59.99.
Raven Software Wiki