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  1. #1
    Angry Dutchman Ghost's Avatar
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    Singularity; an opinion on this recently released game

    Hello everyone,

    I should visit this forum a bit more each month, right now I am almost like a hermit that shows his head once in a while to show that he still is alive.

    Quite recently I got the game Singularity, a FPS game that was developed by Raven software who last year also released Wolfenstein, the latest part in that saga.

    Though despite that Singularity is Raven's own inhouse creation and Wolfenstein ID's id (no pun intended), Singularity surprisingly feels like a sequel to Wolfenstein, more on that in a moment.

    Singularity stars the player as Nate Renko, a black ops soldier who together with several of fellow troops is send to an abandoned island near the Russian East coast that was codenamed Katorga-12 by the former USSR.

    US satellites have detected energy fluctuations on the island and the Russian government refuses to tell what could possibly be going on there, fearing a possible second Chernobyl, the US want you and your guys to check it out.

    While the island seems quiet at first, a powerful wave of energy is released that hits the transport choppers and sends them crashing, only you and a colleague manage to survive and now much reach an extraction point.

    You soon discover ruins of a previous settlement on the island as well as an intense of factories, laboratories and a destroyed reactor tower in the distant that is currently inert.

    As you go through the ruins you experience a strange phenomenon that sends you back 60 years in the past when the island was still inhabited by USSR personnel and their families, and you cause a change that has immediate effects on the future when you return.

    Now you must travel the island and find out what changes you exactly caused and how to reverse them.

    Early during the game it is revealed that after the Americans used the first atomic bomb that the Soviets started to look for their own miracle energy source to create technology that could beat anything the Americans could come up with.

    Miners discovered a fictional element called E99 that is even more powerful than Uranium but is very unstable and seems to have strange effects on the space/time continuum.

    Wanting to use this to create new kinds of weaponry, Stalin order the establishment of the miners, refinery, laboratory and settlement in order to study the various uses of E99, including experiments on humans.
    At some point the scientists created a reactor fulled by E99 that generated the Singularity with which the Russians would be able to beat the West.

    One of the scientists also managed to make a small device that can be worn on the arm called the TMD: Time Manipulation Device, with this device it is possible to affect matter affected by E99 energy; animate and inanimate.
    Time can be reversed, accelerated, slowed down.

    When the player gets hold of this device these abilities are shown in the form of restoring broken bridges and stairs, or restoring ammo boxes and barrels.
    When used on an enemy they can be rapidly aged to death or turned into some kind of mutants.

    The mutants.
    At some point the experiments with E99 went terribly wrong and the scientists lost control of the Singularity, this on its turn released an incredible powerful energy wave that destroyed much of the structures of the island and mutated many of the people, plants and animals into monstrosities that are a threat to the remaining regular people.

    Of course you face some of these mutants alongside the variation of regular troopers, some of them have special skills that can compete with your own TMD which makes them very dangerous.

    Next to the TMD there are also other weapons, most of them are regular weapons but some of them have special abilities.
    The sniper rifle for example copies the slow down ability from the sniper rifle in Resistance: Fall of Man.
    There is also another rifle with which the player can shoot a bullet that can then be manually flown towards its target, making it possible shoot around the corner.


    Okay now that I have given some background I will go into the comparison details.

    First of all, I have heard that this game already sounds like Timeshift, while I have never played that game I do know enough to say that it does somewhat sound like that game, including its storyline of an altered present that is now a dystopia.

    I also felt that game took quite some material from Bioshock,the looks, the architecture and the atmosphere remembered me a lot of it, and using the game's time plot device we also see the ghost like images of people who died during the Singularity accident, replaying their last moments before death

    While the TMD could also be something like the biomods in Bioshock, I found it more somewhat a copy of the Thule medallion in Wolfenstein.

    Like in that game the player must gather the skills to power up the medallion and can later buy upgrades for these skills from vending machines.

    This also sort of goes for the weapons, rather than a black market you can find vending machines were you can use collected upgrade kits to upgrade your weapons.

    The vending machines also serve as points where you can change regular guns (but not heavy ones) as you can carry only two guns or a heavy gun at the time.
    This is quite different to Wolfenstein and I shall be honest I am not really a fan of this kind of gameplay as I find it more restricting than game building.

    Unlike Wolfenstein there is no specific hub area (Eisenstadt) where you constantly come back, rather you keep going through the island on a linear path.
    To be honest the game is way to linear in my taste, but that is not just this game's flaw but that of many FPS games on the moment.

    Some of the scripting in the game is very nice to behold but never think that the AI would do something like this spontaneously

    To be honest in many ways I find Singularity a clone of Wolfenstein, rather than stereotype Nazis we now fight stereotype Soviet soldiers in the past and present, and instead of BJ Blaskowicz we now have another stereotype American hero (yes I know BJ is Polish, but he pretty much looks like the idealized American hero type).

    Even the time travel stuff is much like the Black Sun dimension, you occasionally go back to 1950, the day before the Singularity accident but those are usually very short trips.

    I liked Wolfenstein but I admit that it wasn't game of the year material, and Singularity, despite its better graphics feel like a somewhat weaker clone or sequel of that game.

    It also pretty much does what a lot of FPS games have been doing the last couple of years and it does not really add anything to them.

    Singularity feels like a game done by the book, it is not bad but it is not really that good either, it is average.

    I honestly can not recommend it for the full price.

    Check it out again during Winter, then the price should have dropped down to a more acceptable price in case you are interested.
    Earth is like a 24 hour, Seven days a week Stupidity contest which has been running for centuries.
    And every time they are ready to pronounce a winner, a new contender appears on the scene.


    * * * *

    He has seen half the universe who has not seen the house of pain (Ralph Waldo)

  2. #2
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    Burger Time Champion, Sonic Champion Harrison's Avatar
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    Very nice review. I was interested in this game when I read the previews for it but haven't yet tried it out for myself.

    From your descriptions and comparisons it reminded me of the original Farcry and the TV series Lost. An island that shifts in time, where being stuck on the island you have to try and put events right, Mutants, experiments gone wrong, energy source at the centre controlling time...

    I was a little disappointed with Wolfenstein. I think being a big fan of RTCW, playing that right through completely maybe 5 times and it still being one of my favourite FPSs. The sequel was a disappointment and a missed opportunity. It just felt a bit flat and missing much of the magic of its predecessor. In RTCW it always felt like you were infiltrating Nazi strongholds, with a great atmosphere that immersed you into the game. That was missing from the sequel.

    You also mentioned that Singularity is quite linear. I don't mind that at all. Most of the best games have been fairly linear over the years. Farcry to mention it again was very linear if you considered the larger picture. You could roam islands, but all directions eventually led to the same concluding points. The same was true for RTCW, Half-Life series and many more. Sometimes I get bored of more open non-linear game design where you have to keep coming back to a hub system. I would rather the story progressed, much like a film, and for this a more linear approach is needed.

    I will probably give it a try sometimes soon.

    BTW, you also mentioned Timeshift. Now there is another game I was very disappointed with. I loved the early demos of Timeshift, with great time shifting abilities, you could perform movement or combat actions with time paused or slowed down, then release it to see the results, or move time around for other effects, such as bypassing security measures. However the final game was a completely new game as they ditched the early demos whole game engine and concepts and started again. The final game was nothing like the early demos and completely different game mechanics. I also hate when a game takes control of large chunks of the gameplay, making you a passenger/viewer of the gameplay. Timeshift did this a lot. Other better games are also guilty of that, such as COD4, but they tend to get away with it as they are very different in design and execution.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


  3. #3
    Angry Dutchman Ghost's Avatar
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    Speaking of Lost, I think they threw in a reference to that in Singularity.
    At some point I ran into a frozen wheel similar to that of the one in that series http://lostpedia.wikia.com/wiki/Frozen_wheel
    Earth is like a 24 hour, Seven days a week Stupidity contest which has been running for centuries.
    And every time they are ready to pronounce a winner, a new contender appears on the scene.


    * * * *

    He has seen half the universe who has not seen the house of pain (Ralph Waldo)

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