“Singularity” by Mr Riddler

Riddle: This thing all things devours: Birds, beasts, trees, flowers; Gnaws iron, bites steel; Grinds hard stones to meal; Slays king, ruins town And beats high mountain down.

Answer: Time. “But Riddler you’re just stealing Riddler from Tolkien now.” Quiet! Do you come here to read riddles or do you come here to read Reviews.

What I Expected:
I knew nothing about Singularity when I picked it up except the box art which was interesting enough. Silenced Requiem told me that the game is supposed to be very steam punkish which is fine with me, but seemed like more her cup of tea. She, of course, declined because she doesn’t have Gamefly. So that just leaves me on the video game front. Alone. Scared. and playing an Action Survival Horror Game. Oh god maybe I belong here in Arkham.

What We Got:
The story of Singularity is a sci-fi cliche that we’ve seen before. Russia makes a separate island that’s similar to Russia except not being Russia, which goes against the common cultural idea of loving the motherland to instead love a smaller sister land, but sounds alot worse went put into so many words and I hope the FBI isn’t monitoring this blog now. The sisterland is full of scientist working on a weapon to defeat the evil Americas, but something goes terribly wrong and The Evil Americans come rushing in to mop it all up only to discover that the terrible accident caused the Smaller Sister Land Russians to mutate into evil monsters that can only be cure with BULLETS and KNIVES. Oh and also you’re somehow the chosen one to use a time traveling glove to save the world from Russia and Communism. “AMERICA! F*** YEAH!” In a lot of ways I feel like I’m playing Bioshock if instead of making a democratic Utopia they’re trying to make a Communist Utopia. You even arrive in a Helicopter crash in the beginning instead of a Plane Crash. The game quickly throws you into a dark ruined city full of silent hill/zombie monsters and ghosts from the past. There’s a neat little chase scene and then it turned into F.E.A.R. I don’t mean that there was a heavy relation to FEAR I mean that it’s the exact same game. The only difference is that you get a little glove that can change certain items from old to new, but other than that you get the same generic guns, shot gun, sniper rifle, assault rifle, pistol, grenade launcher and rocket launcher. And as in fear you have the ability to slow down time in certain areas. Nice try Activition, but you’re not getting me with this one. I’ve already played this game.
The most intuitive thing about this game is the Time Manipulation Device or TMD as they call it in the game. Apparently they knew it was the most intuitive game mechanic as well because it’s all over the cover of the box and all over the loading screens. The TMD allows you to zap people or objects with E-99 (some kind of super radiation) that either ages, youths, or mutates the target. Also it has some anti gravity effects (Half-Life 2) and Time Slowing effects (every game since Bullet Time in the Matrix) that have never been used before in another game ever. You would think that with a device such as this there would be a few decent puzzles set around the aging and youthing of objects. They even seem to show you that there are some things that must be done such as shifting weight of an object by rotting it or crushing a box with age and then youthing it back to it’s proper height to lift a door but that’s it. Right after getting the glove you do these exact 2 puzzles and then they repeat themselves over and over again through the game. It’s as if the developer just designed beautiful backdrops and settings, filled it with elaborate creatures and then said, “Oh god but how does he get to it!? It’s not in the script!” so he hit his head on the keyboard multiple times before copy and pasting the same type of doorway and box from room to room. Innovation is an art that’s near death, dear Reader.
Let me just say that there are many ways to gain an emotional attachment in a game. On the 4th of July I had a group of friends over for a BBQ and we got into a discussion on the top if video games are art or not. I claimed that there are too many people involved, changing the original developers intent of the game for it to be considered Art. video games can be art and a very few games are, but in most cases no they aren’t. What games do become art are those that can cause an emotional reaction with you. I don’t mean how Dead Space makes you jump or how Kratos from God of War makes you angry at his douchbagedness, but I mean a genuine emotion shared between you and the characters on the screen. There are many ways to do this. You can build up a meaningful story and background for your characters which allow you to feel something for them and then artistically show them on screen. Portray the character accurately as you designed him/her and of course display the character in a pleasing way so that the audience will connect and feel involved with this character. With the audience’s attachment comes the emotional attachment, and with the emotional attachment, we draw closer to the line between commercial product and art. OR You can do what Singularity does and go for SHOCK FACTOR. You know what shock factor is. It’s the part of the movie when a character that’s been around the whole movie but never spoken suddenly dies and everyone treats him like he was important all along even though he never did anything of value. [Spoiler] Modern Warfare 2 does this when you die half way through [Spoiler] Singularity does this straight off the bat when it’s flashing, “Hey look children were here begging for help and then they died but it was a long time ago.” Yes, Children dying is sad. Yes the voice acting of a child begging for help is sad. No, Activision, this is not an acceptable way of pulling an emotional response out of me. Besides this game is first person. I know nothing about the character I’m playing. I never see him. For all I know he’s laughing uncontrollably to himself at this situation.
I want to thrown this in as well but if you look at the box you’ll see Singularity. Now I get why it’s written all funny. It’s like if it were in Russian with all the little backward letters and stuff, but it’s not in Russian so it’s just plain confusing. I suppose that if I were Russian I might even be offended or say something like, “HAHA silly Americinsky,” but that would make me a communist so I guess I’ll just accept it and move on with an “AMERICA! F*** YEAH!”

Multiplayer:
For an FPS this game is really lacking. I figured Multiplayer is why people played this, but there are only 2 game modes. Creatures vs Soldiers and Extermination. One is a team death match and one is a game of defend the point except they are both highly unbalanced. It’s a team of different classes of soldiers with varied weapons and proficiencies vs creatures that have limited to no projectile attacks and most move slower than a zombie with a foot nailed to the floor. Really if you were going to get this game because you hoped to fight your friends through time and space you’re going to come up disappointed. What this turned out to be was a Left 4 Dead style versus mode without the adventure and campaign styled story and who the hell wants that?

Conclusion:
When playing through this game I had fun in the beginning seeing new creatures and blowing up people, but I think it’s only because I enjoyed FEAR and it reminded me so much of that game. As I continued the puzzles became monotonous (pick up box, put down box, age box, stand on box, walk) and I felt more like a drag to get through the game. Yes the game does scare you at time but not actually tension scared, just a “BOO!” scared and then I shoot whatever scared me out of revenge. I feel this is where games are headed, though. Like I said when reviewing Alan Wake this seems like an idea that someone had to make a new wave survival horror game. A horrific travel through time, but something got changed in the marketing department and the game needed to appeal more to the action FPS genre, thus turning into something incredibly generic.

Overall Rating:

Rent it if you really must, but this is a game that we’ve all seen before. It had the potential to being the next Doom 3 but with high lighting and a trade of monsters for soldiers, this game seems barely worth your time, or more importantly mine.

Feel Free to leave me a comment down below and let me know what you think, if you enjoyed the game or what you want me to review next. I’ll pay attention. After all, you are my only reader.

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