Singularity PlayStation 3
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Released on 25/06/2010
It’s 2010. A powerful and wealthy Russian mercenary has reopened a mysterious research base on Katorga-12, an island off the coast of Siberia. This island was the site of Soviet experimentation in the 1950's that led to a catastrophic, Chernobyl-sized accident – the SINGULARITY – that fractured time itself. Katorga-12 was abandoned, locked down and shrouded in secrecy until today.
You play as Nate Renko, a U.S. Air Force pilot sent on a recon mission to investigate new, wild readings coming from Katorga-12. Your plane is brought down, and you quickly find yourself in the middle of a massive Russian cover up that started during the Cold War and that threatens all of humanity today. You fight to survive, and to stop the SINGULARITY from spreading and destroying the world.
- Intense Combat - Fight your way through an ever-shifting environment haunted with time-ravaged creatures, while sudden time waves hurl you back and forth between 1950 and the present day.
- Time as a Weapon - Use the TMD – the Time Manipulation Device – to change the age of objects and enemies for your combat advantage.
- Conspiracy-Driven Storyline - Unravel the mystery behind this top-secret Russian military experiment before it’s too late.
- Epic Sci-Fi Environments - Explore a graphically rich, fully interactive world with Unreal 3-powered lighting, physics, and effects.
- Compelling Multiplayer - Test your skills and strategy in unique, time-based multiplayer action spanning across two eras.
A small PR and marketing campaign doesn't usually bode well for an upcoming game, which is why we're pleased to report that sci-fi shooter Singularity is one of this summer's best kept secrets. Created by Raven Software, the developer most recently behind first person shooter Wolfenstein, and taking inspiration from classic franchises like BioShock and Half Life, what isn't surprising is that Singularity's big on gunplay.
While it's a linear, by the books shooter in terms of overall gameplay design, Singularity features a devastating arsenal with which to combat your human and mutant foes, a great standout mechanic in the form of a Time Manipulation Device (TMD), and wraps the whole thing in a Soviet conspiracy plot, ensuring that the thrills are never too few and far between.
Back to the future
Singularity puts you in the shoes of US Air Force pilot Nate Renko, who's on a mission to investigate a mysterious research base on an island off the coast of Siberia. Soviet controlled Katorga-12 plays home to all manner of crazy experiments and inevitably a major one goes wrong when a 'Singularity' fractures time on the island, meaning you find yourself being hurled back and forth between Cold War 1955 and the present day on a regular basis.
A devastating arsenal, a Time Manipulation Device and a Soviet conspiracy plot ensure that the thrills are never too few and far between.
As you race to unravel the mystery behind the top-secret military project before the Singularity spreads to the wider world, you're forced to contend with trigger happy soldiers with dodgy Russian accents and a host of mutants with gravity-defying and time-altering powers. The story is told via notes and tape recordings you find, as well as through conversations you have with non-playable characters. Its cast features, among others, a mad scientist and a Russian dictator. It's hardly original and sometimes daft, but always enjoyable sci-fi military fare.
Much of Singularity's fun derives from the act of blowing things to bits with increasingly powerful weapons and the game features a great arsenal, although it limits you to two weapon slots. The Seeker rifle, which allows you to steer each shot, is one of our favourite weapons, but the star of the show is undoubtedly the TMD, which you pick up about an hour into the adventure.
Fighting through the ages
Attached to your left hand, it allows you to manipulate time as a combat strategy. Its basic attack ages enemy soldiers to dust or turns them into ancient beasts that go on the rampage against their former allies. It's a mechanic that you never tire of, although that's probably partly due to its restricted use – the TMD runs on a limited energy resource called E-99, meaning you'll have to strategically marry special abilities with more traditional gunplay. The upgradeable TMD also emits localised energy blasts and time-bubbles that freeze enemies for a few seconds, and lets you throw objects around like you would with Half-Life 2's gravity gun.
Singularity is at its best when it lets you play around with its bag of powerful toys in combat and thankfully that's where much of the focus lies.
In addition, the TMD is used to transform the game's environments in puzzle sections you have to solve to progress. You'll rewind time to restore rusty gear or fast forward it to age and destroy obstacles that block your path – broken stairways can be restored so that you can traverse them to reach your next goal, for example, while pathways behind you can be aged to slow the progress of following enemies.
It's not all rosy, however. Reaching checkpoints and finding upgrade locations are a bit like waiting for a bus – there are often none for ages and then a load come along at once. The TMD's environmental use is heavily scripted, too, meaning that in one area you can manipulate an object or part of the scenery to progress but in the next location a similar item can't be affected by your powers. It feels incredibly rewarding the first couple of times you manipulate your surroundings but it can become a little repetitious when the same solution works time and time again.
Worth your time
Singularity is at its best when it lets you play around with its bag of powerful toys in combat and thankfully that's where much of the focus lies. It might not give you as much freedom as you'd like to wield its standout weapon, the TMD, but it's an awesome device nevertheless and we'd be surprised not to see it return in what would be a welcome sequel.
Featuring excellent weapons and futuristic powers, a series of great boss scraps that come thick and fast and a silly but enjoyable story with a neat twist, Singularity is a summer blockbuster of a shooter that you'd be unwise to miss.
- Excellent combat.
- Great time manipulation mechanic.
- Cool boss fights.
- Time manipulation and weapon use can be a bit restricted.
- Some atmospheric environments but the graphics could be a little sharper.
- Story isn't as deep as some contemporary shooters'.
If I could turn back time...
What would you do if you could turn back time? Stop Hitler? Tell somehow how you really feel? Put slightly less water in the bath? We all have things we would have done differently given half the chance. Singularity is the story of one man's attempt to save the future by changing the past - on a secret Russian military research island full of mutants and evil helicopters.
This may be the least pretentious first-person shooter of 2010. Mad scientists have mucked up the world and you need to sort it out with a mixture of high-velocity projectiles, explosives and time-travelling crates. You're never more than a grenade damage indicator away from something to shoot in the face and your means of doing so are always expanding in fun ways.
You're an American soldier in the present day sent to investigate strange readings on a seemingly abandoned military base off the coast of Russia. Katorga 12, it turns out, was home to a radical research project in the 1950s that tapped into a rare element called E99, which the Soviet Union hoped to use to win the Cold War.
Obviously things went wrong though because the whole place is in a rotten state of repair and there are skeletons strewn everywhere. Like BioShock, you begin the game piecing together a sense of what happened, and then spend the next 10 hours shooting your way through to some kind of resolution and escape.
Dr. Strange Glove
Unfortunately, the island is host to a lot of temporal anomalies that send you hurtling back to the 1950s, and in one instance you accidentally save a man who then goes on to become the fascist leader of the world in an alternate future. Having done that, you team up with a friendly mad scientist named Barisov in the hope of correcting your mistake and putting the wider world back in order.
While you scavenge for shotguns and sniper rifles, which can be upgraded at intervals, Barisov soon outfits you with the TMD glove and wrist attachment. TMD stands for Time Manipulation Device, and inevitably it can be used to move objects through time and freeze little pockets of time to stop fan blades spinning or doors closing, but it can also pick up and throw things in the same manner as Half-Life 2's gravity gun.
While the TMD forms the basis of a lot of puzzle solutions (usually involving moving a crate and changing its age so it's smaller and rustier or larger and shinier), it's lots of fun in combat too, allowing you to turn a soldier into a skeleton or fire out a burst of energy that sends enemies reeling.
Your regular arsenal gets more interesting too. The best gun is a rifle that you pick up occasionally which fires bullets that you can pilot through the air in slow motion, allowing you to blast people's legs off or - yes - shoot them in the face.
The island is rife with Russian soldiers who work for Barisov's nemesis Demichev, but you also run into lots of mutants, zombies and even weird dragon things who shoot rockets. It's a broad and dangerous although not massively exciting line-up, probably the best of which is a huge crab spider demon who stalks you through a sewer.
There aren't really many new ideas in Singularity, but you won't really mind: it's non-stop fun, with something new and entertaining to do every few minutes, and it looks fantastic too, like a combination of BioShock and Half-Life 2. The fact it derives so much from both games isn't a problem because everything it borrows it does so lovingly and effectively.
The single-player mode lasts around 10 hours, and there's a bit of extra interest to be had from multiplayer, which features a Soldiers vs. Creatures mode where one team uses TMDs and the other plays as the monsters.
Singularity may be about changing the world, but the game itself doesn't. What it does do though is keep you entertained throughout with a range of great ideas purloined from the best games in the business and spread evenly over its runtime. While a lot of shooters try to get inside people's heads, Singularity focuses on having fun shooting at them.
+ Fantastic weapons.
+ Looks beautiful.
+ Unpredictable and exciting.
- Mostly old ideas.
- Dull enemies.
- Nonsensical story.
This week's new GAME releases see you time shifting, demon slaying, spell casting, bone crunching and shape shifting.
Singularity (PS3, X360) puts you in the shoes of a US Air Force pilot sent on a mission to investigate a mysterious research base on an island off the coast of Siberia. You soon find yourself drawn into a Russian conspiracy as you fight to stop the ingularitywhich fractured time on the island from spreading to the wider world. To do so youl have to battle through a constantly shifting environment as time waves throw you back and forth between the Cold War era and the present day. Can you unravel the mystery behind this top-secret military project before time runs out?
With a sword in one hand and a shield in the other, Demon's Souls (PS3) challenges you to slay an evil force that threatens to destroy the fictional kingdom of Boletaria. Youl venture across six worlds, ridding stone castles and dark caverns of the demons that lay within their walls, nurturing your stats as you go to build the combat and magic skills needed to defeat the more challenging bosses in this beautiful, immersive and challenging role playing game.
Based on the first four Harry potter books and films, LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 (PS3, X360, Wii, DSi, DS Lite, PC, PSP) lets you experience Harry first four years at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Choosing from over 100 playable characters, youl get to make potions, cast spells, solve puzzles, fly on broomsticks and explore iconic environments in this humourous, family friendly title. You can even play through the game as a team thanks to a simple drop-in and drop-out co-op feature.
Fast-paced and gritty, Backbreaker (PS3, X360) aims to set a new standard for in-game animations in the American football genre. Developer NaturalMotion technology - also featured in Grand Theft Auto IV and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed - lets your console calculate each bone-crunching tackle on the fly, meaning every challenge is unique, realistic looking and feeling. Promising to put an end to canned animations, Backbreaker real-time technology aims to ensure the gameplay never becomes stale, leading to plenty of replay value.
Transformers: War for Cybertron (PS3, X360, Wii, DSi, DS Lite, PC) is an origins story set before the Transformers characters arrival on Earth. Taking you to their home planet of Cybertron, it focuses on the epic civil war that spawned the brutal rivalry between the Autobots and Decepticons, allowing you to experience the action from both sides of the conflict. Playable characters include shape-shifting favourites such as Megatron and Optimus, and you can battle through the entire campaign with friends co-operatively online.
Also out this week:
Singularity: Review (15/07/2010)
A small PR and marketing campaign doesn't usually bode well for an upcoming game, which…
What would you do if you could turn back time? Stop Hitler? Tell somehow how you really feel?…New Release Round up: 25th June 2010 (25/06/2010)
This week's new GAME releases see you time shifting, demon slaying, spell casting, bone crunching and shape shifting.…
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