Starting Singularity, I was reminded why, aside from the occasional fluke — **cough** Wolfenstein remake **cough** — Raven Software (Heretic, Heretic II, Hexen, Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast) makes great games. The storytelling is usually top-notch, the environments and gameplay are high quality, and they are good about pacing.
And, I haven’t been disappointed with Singularity. The graphics are beautiful and the ability to manipulate small amounts of time makes for some fun gameplay and puzzle-solving. For example, I needed to raise a steel door so I could get by, but it was too heavy for me to lift. I wedged an old, crumbling, decayed storage locker into the crack in the door, and then reversed the effects of aging on it … as the storage locker reverted to its pristine original form, it forced the door up high enough for me to duck under.
The story revolves around 1950s Soviets tinkering with new elements and causing an explosive rift in the fabric of the world. Due to the way these things work, your character gets caught in the blast in 2010. The story is told through multiple venues — cutscenes, audio-logs, diaries and more — as you go through the game. It’s very well done and is up to Raven’s usual high standards. Special mention goes to some of the in-game Soviet propaganda that’s very over-the-top tongue-in-cheek.
The creep factor and the occasional good old-fashioned scare tactics work well for the game and its stylings. There are a couple of times that I was well and truly creeped out, and one time that I jumped out of my skin and yelled at the screen. I think that’s a job well done by the developers!
The game does have its flaws, though. The TMD (Time Manipulation Device) won’t work on just anything you want to play around with. It’ll only affect those items that usually will advance the story, uncover secrets or teach you how to use a new ability. I would have loved to quickly age a crumbling building’s support structures so that I could collapse it on the blood-thirsty mutants that were howling at me through the windows. But no love on that.
Singularity‘s ending, while still satisfying, seemed to feel a bit rushed, though I suppose that could have just been the ending I got (yes, there are multiple endings, depending on your actions through the game).
The multiplayer has two modes: One is a straight-up death-match style where you play as either a soldier or a creature. This mode takes a bit of learning if you play as a creature because there’s no time during the single-player campaign that you play as a creature to learn its abilities. The other multiplayer mode is a “capture the nodes” objective-based-style game, again with the teams being soldiers versus creatures.
No, the game isn’t genre-changing, but it’s a solid shooter with some inventive gameplay mechanics tossed in. I don’t think it’s worth a the new outrageous prices that publishers are charging ($60), though. Wait for a bit and get it once it drops under $40. Singularity is absolutely worth that price.