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Singularity Single Player [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

The game is pure fun. While it might not be the most in-depth or technical shooter that you ever play, you will have a lot of fun with the weapons and abilities that the game offers up.

The Pros: 

Fun gameplay. Interesting weapons. Proper uses of time manipulation (finally). Compelling story. Interesting characters. Solid voice-acting.

The Cons: 

Short single player experience. Texture pop-in issues on the PC version. Predictable story "twists." Weak feeling "morality choice" at the game's finale. Rating : 

Time Manipulation is an idea that I have always thought would work perfectly for video games. The ability to slow time down and dodge bullets, or run in and hit people from behind while they are frozen in time. Of course there are much more elaborate uses as well, but these are the main ones that I’ve been waiting a long while for. Singularity finally allows for this kind of gameplay, and plenty of other interesting twists on the usage of time through localized time distortion.

Singularity takes place in two time periods simultaneously: 1955 and 2010. At the start of the game the US military is sent in to investigate the small Russian-owned island of Kartoga-12, after a satellite of theirs goes dead while flying above its airspace. Obviously whatever it is that can cause damage that high into space requires investigation… When you arrive a series of events find you separated from your team, and flung back in time to 1955. This begins a chain of events that, through-out the game, you’ll need to undo and re-do before your final battle. The story can feel a little convoluted, as you’ll be criss-crossing between parallels worlds and different time lines, but it does help to keep things interesting if you're paying attention and keeping a mental road-map.

As for the graphics, the game look sharp. The textures and detail on all the models, locales, and weapons are clean and thought out. The most interesting parts for me were the models for the weapons, while they do adhere to the classic archetypes there are distinct changes to how they work and how they look that made them interesting. Unfortunately, the game did suffer some texture pop-in issues through my play-through on PC. Had that not been an issue, then there really would have been nothing to complain about graphically. Even with minor graphic hiccups though, there is plenty to love about this game.

The main draw to the game, of course, is being the ability to shape time and use it either defensively or offensively. Shortly after your first hop through time you’ll encounter the TMD (Time Manipulation Device) which allows you the initial ability to age items and people, or revert them to their original state. This is used as a gameplay mechanic through-out the game, for example: Aging a box to a degraded state so it'll slip through smaller holes, then reverting it to like-new condition to prop up doorways. There are also several upgrades you'll unlock for your TMD as you progress that grant you far more interesting abilities. Some of them, like the ability to revert humans to their primal state, I didn't find useful (as the primal state being still comes at you and is generally stronger). Others I found myself using in every encounter in the game just to see in how many ways I could utilize it. One example would be the ability to create a bubble of slowed-time. The bubble allowed me interesting gameplay moments. I was able to freeze four people in spot, then walk through and head-shot them all. When time would resume they all crumpled instantly. Another favourite was throwing an explosive into the mix; watching everyone frozen in time shortly after the burst of flame. Followed with the satisfaction of watching as time resumed and sent everyone scattering.

It's features like this that really help the game to stand out from being a standard shooter. The time bubble was absolutely my favourite, but there are plenty of other abilities and weapons that are unlocked through the game that people will thoroughly enjoy. One example that I will highlight is the Seeker. It's a weapon that fires what look like 40mm grenades and has one of the most interesting alt-fire modes I've ever seen: the ability to control the path of the munition mid-air. The extent of the control is an insane amount of fun. I found myself slaloming the bullet through obstacles, winding around cover, or even just soaring high into the air before dropping on top of someone's head.

With guns and abilities like these as examples, and plenty of others which you'll find in your own play-throughs, Singularity is a truly fun experience. Sometimes it's hard to find something that you can just have a whole lot of fun with, especially if you review a lot of video games. Singularity is pure fun, and whatever issues it may have (short single player, and texture pop-in issues) aren't enough to detract from the fun of the game.

The bottom line is that it is the sort of game that should be played.  Due to how short the title was (about 5-6 hours on the medium difficulty setting) I probably wouldn't recommend a purchase based on single-player alone. Though I would strongly recommend at least a rental. The guys over at Raven and Activision have done a brilliant job with a genre I've been waiting for someone to take advantage of for years.