Platform: PS3*/Xbox 360/PC
Players: 1 (Online: 2-8)
ESRB: Mature (Blood and Gore, Strong Violence, Intense Language)
Singularity is a title from Activision based on time manipulation and otherwise standard gunplay. Captain Renko is an American officer whose team is investigating Katorga-12, an old Russian island-based research facility. A blast of one variety or another sends your helicopter crashing into the island, and things take off from there.
Let’s start with the plot. Renko gets thrown back in time and accidentally saves a man by the name of Demichev. It changes the present and Renko is captured by Demichev’s soldiers. He’s rescued by a resistance group and goes back in time to bring back a different guy named Barisov. Together they have to get a bomb and blow up the Singularity to stop Demichev from coming to power. All of this is told rather loosely in between long segments of walking places, killing people, and not really advancing the plot, so it’s easy to forget what exactly is happening. At the end things sort of come together and make more sense, and then it tries to make it a bit more immersive by letting you choose an ending, but I was so sick of people talking that I didn’t even contemplate the repercussions of my actions, especially considering there was no morality system building up to it.
I feel, as an industry, things have moved past the silent protagonist. The only game out there with this going on that anyone really enjoys is Call of Duty, and that’s not for the single-player, it’s for the multiplayer. Singularity’s multiplayer was looked over. I didn’t play it much, but let’s face it, it didn’t have a shot at any share of the multiplayer market. No game crawling out of nothing will. Mass Effect has only managed to get a foothold because it was an established franchise. Let’s all agree that this gimmick is outdated and boring.
In between Russian guys talking, the player is faced with several soldiers and mutated creatures he or she must dispatch. Pretty much all the enemies are out of the bag from the start. The environments are all essentially the same – walk through a dank or decrepit hallway with orange glowing stuff sticking out. It feels like a lot of code got copied from Call of Duty and then they added some time-based powers. These aren’t super useful as the bar of power gets absorbed really quickly. At the end of the game it’s unlimited and becomes much more helpful. Until then, it’s only really good for an advanced melee. One would think the time-manipulation could have led to some puzzles or something, but it doesn’t. Not one.
There are several situations where you’re put in a situation where you”ll die unless you know what’s coming – like dropping in a hole and two enemies being right there. If you’re on the hardest difficulty and didn’t have your shotgun pulled when you fell, you will die. I’m not saying I always need to be successful on the first try, but I should have a shot at it. That’s extremely frustrating.
What I’m trying to say is there isn’t much redeeming about this game. Sure, it plays and you can make it through, but I can’t imagine anyone finishing it and being really excited about it. Perhaps Activision was trying to diversify its portfolio or something, but no matter how you serve Mexican food, it’s still tortilla, lettuce, meat and cheese.
Bottom Line: 6/10