Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Singularity (PS3)


Company: Raven/Activision

"Great Scott, Marty, we've made a time machine."
"You mean to tell me Doc that we made a time machine out of Russia, that's heavy."
"Not as heavy as the convoluted plot of this game."
"Look on the bright side Doc, at least its not another lame zombie game."

Time travel, one of the most unused plot devices in the video game world. There is so much you can do with it. But ever since Max Payne, we've been content with just slowing down time. Singularity aims to stop all that with their new survival horror FPS.

You play as Renko, the strong, silent "Gordon Freeman" type soldier for the US. You hear news that Russia (one of the most used enemy governments in video game history) built an island, Kotorga-12, in the 1950's to do experiments on an element called E99. An explosion on the island caused all experiments to cease and the plans to go under. But in 2010, strange radioactive lights are found over the island and America sends in Renko.

Shooter games that involved Russia in 2009-2010

4. Call of Duty: Black Ops
3. Singularity
2. Goldeneye
1. Modern Warfare 2

The game is a blend of different techniques from popular games. If you took the gadgetry of Half Life 2, the smooth shooting mechanics of the Call of Duty franchise, the puzzle solving skills of Portal, and the bullet impact of Unreal, then there's a good chance that none of this game will throw you for a loop. The real treat is that the enemies are not zombies or hell demons. You fight mutant creatures that have time-infused powers. This requires you to use your time freezing powers in order to stop them. Some enemies need to be forced through a time push to prevent them from disappearing, while some enemies need to be put in a time stop bubble that gives you free reign to hammer on them. All this is done through your limited TMD which gives you these powers. One of my favorite powers is turning a baddie into a mutant and having it attack its own people.

The game is split into 2 types of combat: mutant fighting, which is more like Resistance and soldier fighting, which is more like Call of Duty. For guns you have your standard rifle, pistol, shotgun, chaingun and grenade launcher varieties, which can all be upgraded. You can also upgrade perks for healing, defense and your TMD powers. All these things revolve around and blend into a story that is more bells and whistles than actual substance--but you will have fun playing it nonetheless.

But the game is not without faults. Singularity is a survival horror game, but I was only truly scared three times during the single-player campaign. The game starts off wonderfully with a great background story, atmospheric elements and an eerie undertone that would make Silent Hill fans proud. The middle of the game loses that and replaces it with puzzles and shooting mechanics. The story only has about four places where actual plot is laid down and explained. Like most shooters, the only way to end a threat is to drop a huge bomb to fix the problem. Character development and atmosphere seem to die down immediately after they're established.

Games where setting off a bomb fixes the threat:
1. Resistance 2
2. GRAW 2
3. Halo
4. Singularity
5. Medal of Honor

The graphics are a lower quality than Medal of Honor or Call of Duty: Black Ops. Some of the facial and clothing textures are bland. The environment is clean looking and well fleshed out. One odd thing you will notice is that the Russian soldiers sound like angry French Homer Simpsons on crack.

Ultimately, Singularity is a smooth and enjoyable ride, from start to finish. It really shines in some gameplay elements, but those are few in the game. Other than that, I would not mind saying that this IP would make for a great sequel.


Time travel has always been of great fascination to me and I am glad Singularity decided to explore it. According to Einstein, it is scientifically impossible to manipulate time. God on the other hand has traversed that realm. He has seen both the beginning and the end. He knows all the paths we can take and how our decisions alter reality. He is always present with every human, and yet His presence is very personal. God always uses his omnipresent ways to show his care for creation. He watches over time, interferes with it to present Jesus to the world and even guides it to show He is in control. What effect does God's power have on you?

Content: M rated, for massive gore, profanity and violence


+ Good blend of shooting and TMD mechanics
+ Sequel potential
+ A smooth thrill ride overall

- Not the prettiest game
- Intense moments are at the beginning of the game


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