developer: Raven Software
|ESRB rating: M
release date: Jun 29, 10
|» All About Singularity on ActionTrip|
When a name like Raven Software comes up, we think of a variety of solid games such as Quake 4, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, Soldier of Fortune, Star Trek: Voyager Elite Force, Star Trek: Voyager Elite Force: Virtual Voyager, Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix and more. See? All solid games. Nothing avant-garde, but still all very decent games. Their recent work includes games like X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Wolfenstein. Hm, those were good, I guess, although it's obvious that the people at Raven never quite pushed in envelope in any of their work. Now, we get a chance to check out Singularity, the development studio's latest foray into the realm of first-person shooters. Raven is by no means a stranger to the genre.
Singularity takes a bash at a rather creepy tale involving plenty of action, time-travel and fighting against an assortment of supernatural beings. Not in the slightest way original, but hey, what can you do. The game chucks you onto a mysterious island referred to as 'Katorga-12' where the Russian scientists discovered a new element called E99. This occurred during the height of the Cold War or, to be more precise, in 1955. During that same year an unforeseen catastrophe known as the 'Singularity' took place on the island, triggering a series of incredible events that changed the face of the island and mutated a majority of the inhabitants, thus forcing the Russian government to cover up the existence of the entire area. Nate Renko, a Black Ops soldier, is sent to determine the cause of unusual radiation emissions that originate from the island itself. Crash-landing on the island, Nate regains consciousness and pretty soon he stumbles upon a device that will allow him to travel through time - more accurately, between 1955 and 2010. Nate presses on as he desperately tries to uncover the secrets of Kartoga-12.
Did you hear something?
Ah, this is where I kissed a zombie for the first time...
All things considered, the storyline isn't too bad, even though it relies on one clich' after another (Is there a game that doesn't do that?). The plot structure itself, on the other hand, may not be as consistent as it should, particularly later on in the game when the player frequently travels between the future and the past. Much of the stuff just doesn't make sense.
In all likelihood few players will care about that stuff, seeing as the gameplay adequately compensates with numerous features that keep things interesting all the way. To be fair, Singularity doesn't do much beyond what we've experienced before in other first-person shooters. In fact, it shamelessly scrounges familiar facets from successful games like BioShock, Half-Life and so on. The atmosphere also reminded me a bit of F.E.A.R. 1 and F.E.A.R. 2. So, basically, you'll find that it's a mix of BioShock and Raven's FPS Wolfenstein, while the gameplay mostly resembles BioShock and Half-Life.
Numerous skills in the game allow you to detect and take out enemies in different ways, while other abilities give you an opportunity to manipulate objects in the environment. For example, the TMD (Time Manipulation Device) is used to decompose or restore objects that were wrecked or have simply decayed over the years. Although this feature was put to good use, it never really pushes the gameplay into new and exciting areas. Also, don't expect any particularly challenging puzzles or problems waiting to be solved, because the game is mostly about standard FPS action.
Yeah, as far as the classic FPS stuff goes, Singularity rarely falters. There's a satisfying choice of weapons, pretty cool ones too, including various types of rifles (snipers too), shotguns, handguns, etc. The thing that keeps the game appealing is the player's ability to combine the standard array of FPS style weaponry with the TMD, which leads to some pretty fun moments. At the same time, you solve the occasional puzzle, although, as I've stressed before, it doesn't denote any exceptional brainstorming. It's just an aspect that adds more to the diversity of game features, however conventional they may be.
Runs smoothly and remains an exciting experience all the way, with cool and diverse gameplay mechanics, plenty of different skills and weapons to try out;
A number of plot inconsistencies, even with all its features and commendable gameplay diversity, Singularity is nothing more than an average first-person shooter void of any unique characteristics that would make it stand out in a highly competitive genre.