Singularity is a FPS with a twist; that twist is time travel and manipulation. The hero of the game is a Special Forces soldier sent to an abandoned soviet era research facility located on an isolated island. What he finds is an anomaly caused by the research materials used there that sends him back in time. Unknowingly he saves a life from a burning building and changes all of history from then on, resulting in a Soviet controlled world dominated by the weapons produced at this facility. Now you must fix the timeline and set everything right.
The time travel dynamic certainly makes for an interesting story, despite the bad sci-fi that comes with it (full of paradoxes and unanswered questions). The first level of the game is horribly generic until the sci-fi aspects start to really get flushed out; from there the story and the game pick up significantly. While I’m not sure the time travel element was used to its’ full potential, I enjoyed the general story that made use of it (it is best described as a plot device rather than something of notable substance).
Singularity doesn’t particularly thrill on the visuals. Now, the presentation is more than acceptable, but aesthetically it is essentially what we have come to expect from an FPS game with a darker sci-fi story this generation. Lots of browns and grays, crumbled buildings and rusted metal. Fairly typical post-apocalyptic fair. It suits the mood of the game just fine, but is nothing new or very exciting.
After you’ve traveled back in the time, the first time, you receive a handheld device called the TMD. The TMD is really the focus of the game, and is the sole device that makes Singularity more than just another generic shooter. Just barely managing to be more than a gimmick, the TMD allows you to manipulate the time of certain objects, aging them or making them young again; the results are a bit more violent when used on people. The game uses this both as a weapon and as a means to build/solve puzzles in the game. Said puzzles were never very difficult, in fact most were a little too easy, but overall the TMD worked well.
The game’s other weaponry was more of the common collection; assault rifles, sniper rifles, etc. That said, the weaponry selection was varied and each weapon certainly maintained some uniqueness. They all had benefits and disadvantages, such as the gatling gun which was powerful but inaccurate and slowed you down. I enjoyed the selection and appreciated the each weapon felt different, something that I think many FPS games fail to do well.
Combat, and the enemies you face, reminded me a bit of Dead Space. The monsters, which are altered forms of humans, feature mostly melee based attacks and are fond of trying to rush and overwhelm you. Some of them are also very difficult to kill and you must use the TMD to slow them down to do so (think Stasis in Dead Space). Believe me, comparing a game to Dead Space in any fashion is almost certainly a compliment. Controls can be a bit tricky though, as there are a few odd changes from what is more or less the normal layout for an FPS game these days. You’re bound to hit the wrong button from time to time, but that’s about it.
The game also features three separate endings, which was a nice touch. Each ending can be reached by simply re-loading the last checkpoint (another point in Singularity’s corner, nothing is worse than having to replay an entire game for a alternate ending), and is worth checking out. Unlike some games that offer different endings that aren’t all that different, Singularity’s endings are notably so.
One last bit worthy of commenting on are the in game “slideshows.” These slideshows offer most of the stories back story, such as information on the facility or what happened in the world of the alternate timeline, etc. These were exceptionally well done and I really enjoyed watching them; don’t skip past the film projectors!
Ultimately Singularity is a solid sci-fi shooter. It offers a story that is interesting enough that you will want to pursue it till the end, but as Basil says to Austin Powers in “The Spy Who Shagged me” in regards to the issues with time travel, it’s best to just not think about it. If you can ignore the parts that don’t seem to make a ton of sense you will enjoy it a lot more. Beyond that the game offers some interesting gameplay, if lacking any significant challenge, which is a nice change of pace from the majority of FPS games cluttering the shelves. You probably won’t wish you could travel back in time and undo your purchase.
Final Rating: 7.5/10
CBR Break Down:
Console Played On: Xbox 360
Time to completion: roughly 6-8 hours
Gamer Score Earned: 460/1000
Price Bought at: $7.50
Current Price: $14.49(Amazon)
Recommend Purchase Price: $15 or under