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Gaming review: Singularity

Last updated on: July 29, 2010 15:46 IST

Gaming review: Singularity

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Title: Singularity
Developer/Publisher: Raven Software/Activision
Genre: First-person Shooter
Age rating: 18 (Suitable for gamers above 18)
Platforms: PS3 (Rs 3,499), Xbox 360, PC (Xbox and PC versions not available in India)


If Call of Duty: Modern Warfare met BioShock at a bar, took it home for a night of torrid passion and forgot to use protection, Singularity would be the result nine months later.

In case you didn't get that rather obvious analogy, it means that Singularity is a cliched yet enjoyable shooter that borrows heavily from games like BioShock and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, among others.

It's not the most original tool in the shed, but it is a rather enjoyable one.

Click NEXT to read how Singularity pitches the US Black Ops operatives against the Russians...


Photographs: Raven Software/Activision
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Gaming review: Singularity

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Singularity takes place in an alternate reality, where Russians are as dastardly as ever (surprise, surprise), performing all sorts of nefarious experiments using a highly powerful and volatile substance called E99.

On one of their routine 'evil experiments', they manage to spark off a catastrophic Singularity event that not only destroyed the diabolical facility but also created a rip in the time-space continuum, converting its denizens into time travelling mutants.

For years, the Russian government managed to cover it up, but nearly 45 years later, an electromagnetic surge grabs Uncle Sam's attention.

Promptly, a highly trained bunch of Black Ops operatives are sent in to investigate the island of Katorga-12.

The proverbial brown stuff hits the fan and your entire team perishes before they can set foot on the island, leaving you to fend for yourself and discover the horrible truth.

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Gaming review: Singularity

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For the first few levels, Singularity plays out like a highly linear corridor shooter with tons of scripted moments, a la Modern Warfare or the more recent Metro 2033, thrown in for good measure.

Pretty soon you'll gain access to a device called the TMD (Time Manipulation Device) that allows you to play around with the very fabric of time (ironically it doesn't allow you to slow time down) and that's when things get a bit interesting.

The TMD allows players to rapidly age or re-age (yes, that isn't an actual word, but you get the drift, right?) objects and enemies to gain a tactical advantage on the battlefield. For example, if you see a busted crate along your way, simply zap it with your TMD and you'll restore it to its former glory, allowing you to dip into its contents, be it ammo or health packs.

Similarly, you can rapidly age enemies during combat, turning them to dust in a matter of seconds.

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Gaming review: Singularity

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Besides messing around with the age of objects and living things, you even attain certain telekinetic powers and get to freeze time momentarily. These abilities, along with your arsenal, can be upgraded at the various upgrade stations strewn all over the island.

It's not as intricate as you'd hope on the weapons front and you'll be limited to choosing between increasing damage, improving clip capacity and speeding up reload time.

Speaking of your arsenal, Singularity's weapons are a mixed bag. Some of them are highly generic in nature and seem ripped straight out of 'Testosterone-fuelled Space Marine Saves Earth 101'; others, like the Seeker, which allows you to steer a bullet into an enemy's head to create a pulpy mess, are highly cathartic in nature.

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Gaming review: Singularity

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As expected all the puzzles revolve around the above mentioned time manipulation mechanics. None of it is rocket science and you'll be relegated to moving around crates and other objects using telekinesis along with freezing time around hazardous objects like industrial fans to move through them.

At various pre-determined points in the game, you'll even travel back to 1955, when the island gets restored to all its diabolical glory.

This shifting between time periods offers a fair amount of environmental diversity even though the entire game takes place on one island.

Unfortunately, all the decisions you take in the past are scripted, so you never really feel like you have a say in the matter. Similarly, all the time manipulation wizardry is highly linear and you can use the TMD only on certain objects in the game.

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Gaming review: Singularity

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The game looks and feels a lot like its mother, BioShock (yeah, I'm still milking that analogy).

Right from the art style, courtesy the Unreal 3 engine, to the way the reds stand out in various levels, to audio logs and video clips strewn all around the place, the game reeks of BioShock's atmosphere, which isn't really a bad thing.

Unfortunately, the dreaded texture pop in, which is synonymous with most Unreal 3 games, is exceptionally terrible (for the PC version at least).

There were times when textures literally took a few minutes to load.

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Gaming review: Singularity

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All said and done, Singularity isn't going to win any awards, but it probably didn't have such lofty aspirations to begin with.

It isn't the most technically sound game on the planet, and even though it brings some pretty cool stuff to the table, it never quit exploits the whole time manipulation bit to its true potential.

It is, however, an enjoyable linear shooter that's clearly an ode to shooters gone by.

You have over-the-top weaponry, cheesy yet diabolical villains, and the silent protagonist who gets the job done.

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Gaming review: Singularity

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If you can make your peace with that, you will enjoy your stay on Katorga-12.

(+) Solid and enjoyable shooting mechanics

(+) Exploiting time is always fun

(+) Will satisfy your bloodlust

(-) Not terribly original

(-) Time manipulation feels a bit underused

(-) Won't be winning any awards in the visual department

(-) Low replay value

Score: 7/10



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