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Singularity Review

Kuulei_N By:
GENRE Shooter 
PLAYERS 1- 12 
PUBLISHER Activision 
DEVELOPER Raven Software 
M Contains Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language

What do these ratings mean?

Time is on my side. Oh, yes it is!

You are a Black Ops soldier sent to investigate suspicious activity on Katorga-12, an island where extensive research has been done on a native and powerful material called Element 99, or E99 for short. What you find, though, is not a normal island. Lifeless bodies, sketchy tape recordings, and deteriorated statues litter the area, which all suggest that something went terribly wrong. Before you try to even grasp a sense of it all, you are attacked by something that isn’t human or animal. Someone really screwed this place up.

click to enlargeThroughout Katorga-12, you encounter a range of enemies: Some crawl on the floor seeking revenge after they have been blown to bits, others throw flammable objects, and even more will vomit green-ish spew. At one point, you are surrounded by these disturbingly-freakish things and you look down to see that all you have is a measly pistol. “What the f…?” is what I said, out loud in the dark, alone. Once I got my hands on an automatic shotty though, I felt somewhat safer.

Singularity is like any other shooter. You have standard weapons that shoot standard bullets, but soon you come across a Time Manipulation Device (TMD), which is a device that functions from E99’s energy. Once you get a hold of this weapon as well as others, gameplay changes from being dull to absolute fun.

The TMD comes with a range of certain abilities that bend space and time. Such abilities include Age and Revert, where soldiers rapidly age and literally fall to dust or are turned into a creature which attacks other soldiers. One of my favorite abilities is called Impulse, which sends a shockwave that pushes mutants back, allowing you time to reload or reconsider your strategy. It’s extremely deadly on the Spetsnaz, but I won’t spoil it too much as I encourage you to see it for yourself.

click to enlargeDespite intense moments when you’re surrounded by multiple bad guys and go on a button-mashing frenzy, the controls are fluid and work well with implementing specific abilities. Also, some creatures and Spetsnaz soldiers are vulnerable to certain TMD effects, which causes unpredictable battles. This provides a chance for you to come up with creative ways to kill them: Perhaps grab a riot shield right from a soldier’s hands with the Gravity ability and push it back with Impulse, or slow down a wave of phase ticks in Deadlock before they go kamikaze, or control and guide your bullet to a soldier’s skull with the Seeker weapon.

The elements beyond the gameplay, however, weakens the game just a bit. The storyline is intriguing, but I couldn’t help but feel that some scenes are insignificant. For example, a character from a group called MIR-12 is introduced at one point in the story, and that was that. What was the point? The ending may have answered a question or two, but there still wasn’t much background development enough to make me care what happened to that character.

Multiplayer emphasizes Singularity’s entertaining gameplay, but it’s not built to last. There are only two game modes: Extermination, which is objective-based, and Team Deathmatch. Similar to Left4Dead’s multiplayer, each round switches you between a soldier and a creature. Both sides have their own range of characters and each one carries a specific ability and task. For instance, the Healer obviously supports Soldiers, and the Phase Tick for the creatures’ side who is a little critter that captured my heart. These things should not be underestimated. They can crawl on walls and ceilings, leap onto an enemy soldier to possess his body and even blow up to take out multiple bad guys.

click to enlargeThe other part of multiplayer is the pure frenzy of it all. Creatures chasing soldiers and throwing up their green-ish spew on them never gets old. Other times you can hear a hacking sound of Reverts coughing up a blob of what looks like a pile of turd. These “turds” act like claymores, so when an enemy passes by, they are blown up by a pile of, well, turd. Awesome. Then you will randomly hear a soldier screaming, “Get it off me! Get it off me!” from time to time as a Phase Tick tries to possess him. You really can’t help but laugh at the absurdity: "Am I really playing this right now? Yes. Yes, I am."

While it’s all fun and giggles, the multiplayer just doesn’t have enough punch to keep gamers coming back for more due to its lack of game modes. Furthermore, there is little to unlock or strive for. There is a ranking system, but the only thing you will accomplish is achieving a higher number.

It’s a bummer that there wasn’t much hype for this game as it does deserve credit for its single player campaign and overall solid gameplay. Sadly, Singularity would be a stronger game without the weaker end that is its multiplayer. It does reinforce how entertaining the gameplay is, but it’s just not enough to achieve greatness. Gamers will try the multiplayer and then move on. Let’s hope that Raven Software can put some creativity together and bring forth more of an expansive multiplayer for a possible sequel or download;  I would hate to see such potential be forgotten and aged to dust.
B Revolution report card
  • Super weapons! ‘Nuff said.
  • Gameplay that makes you improvise
  • An array of enemies
  • Interesting concept of using time
  • Fun and silly multiplayer
  • ...but needs multiplayer
  • ...and more game modes
  • Storyline lacks depth
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