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PC, XBox 360, Playstation 3

Reviewed on: PC

Raven Software
Publisher: Activision
Rated: "M" for Mature

CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

Audio/Visual: 6
Gameplay: 5
Lasting Appeal: 5
Overall: 6
CHEATfactor: 6

You know what bothers me most about the current state of the video game industry? No one wants to take risks anymore, just look at this year’s E3. On the show floor, I played Gears of War 3, Dead Rising 2, Marvel VS Capcom 3 and Civilization 5 among others. Somehow, as an industry, we’ve gotten to the point where new IPs are dangerous, and risks aren’t worth it. Where’s the future in sequel after sequel?

Of course, there are a few original titles hitting store shelves amidst the sea of sequels. Raven Studios and Activision (of all publishers) brings us Singularity, an original first person shooter with little to no originality behind it. There’s a ton of good ideas in here, but they’re all muddled by a cheesy story and bad mechanics.

Damn those Russians. They always seem to be causing trouble – especially in video games. In Singularity, they’ve discovered a rare form of element 99 (it’s a real element kids, known most commonly as Einsteinium) and are using it to do all sorts of bad stuff like time traveling and creating some pretty badass monsters.  Guess what your job is yet? As American Soldier Nate Renko, you’re tasked with defeating the Russians, closing the time portals and securing the rest of the element 99. Got all that. If not, lucky for you, you’re greeted with a five minute introduction video that does its best to explain the plot.

"I never really grew attached to any of the characters..."


In theory, I should love Singularity, as it draws most of its inspiration from games like Bioshock and its spiritual predecessor System Shock 2. While it does get many of the fundamentals right from these games, it also manages to completely miss what made these games so unforgettable; their heart and personality.  You’ll be able to upgrade your weapons and special abilities, as well as modify Renko in a very plasmid like fashion, and the game is littered with puzzles and hints that there’s more going on here than you’d be led to believe. The only problem is that throughout the game, I never really grew attached to any of the characters or cared about any of these supposedly shocking developments.

Early on in Singularity, you’re equipped with the Time Manipulation Device, or TMD for short. While it’s the TMD that makes the game unique, it also ends up being little more than a gimmick in many portions of the game. You’ll use the TMD in a variety of ways, including returning already found power-ups to their original state, opening unlocked doors or even turning the clock back on humans, reverting them back to…monsters…whatever. At its best, it’s a cool and unique tool, but Raven also seems to use it as a crutch when they couldn’t think of just how to finish a section.  Seriously, how many times am I going to use the TMD to unlock a door, or destroy enemy cover?

I found myself enjoying the TMD much more when combined with other powers I acquired throughout the game.  The ability to slow down time, freeze enemies and then lob a series of bullets into a crowd wields some obviously gorily fun results. Oh, did I mention that Singularity is full of over the top blood and gore? Seriously, shoot enemies in their arm, fountain of blood. Shoulder? Fountain of blood.  There are some pretty unique animations to accompany these moments, well, at least for the first ten times you see them.

"The majority of the game’s puzzles are incredibly easy..."


Singularity is at its best when it challenges its corridor shooter roots. There’s one level in particular that sticks out in my mind, where you’re racing through a boat as its getting reverted back into a pile of rubble and plywood. I was unquestionably more interested in this section of the game than any other. It was different, it was challenging – it wasn’t in an identical looking hallway. The majority of the game’s puzzles are incredibly easy, and the game could have used more tense sections like these.

The game is full of uniquely grotesque creatures, and interesting visuals, all of which are presented in some stunning detail, so it’s worth it to slow down time and take a look at some of the more interesting visuals if you get a chance, it’ll give you a much larger appreciation for the game than just staring at the same corridors throughout the 6-10 hour campaign. Oh, and at the end of that campaign there are three different endings that you unlock depending on just how you play through the game. Well, let me clarify that, how you play the game’s final few moments. Seriously, I was able to unlock all of the endings by just loading my final save and playing a bit differently.  That being said, there’s really no reason to go back and play once you finish the first time.

It takes its inspiration from the right places, and has a ton of good ideas, but unfortunately, Singularity’s best moments often get lost in a myriad of design flaws and questionable choices. For every moment that grips you, there are three that make you cringe. Singularity isn’t a bad game, it just could have been so much better. 



CHEATS USED: Easy Kills, TMD Cells, No Reload, Unlimited Ammo

If you’re using the Time Manipulation Device right, most of the kills in Singularity should be easy enough, hence – I found myself not using the easy kills cheat found in the trainer. Sure, it was great for those moments where your TMD wasn’t easily accessible, but other than that, I didn’t use it as much as I thought I would.

Then again, why would you need it when there’s a cheat to add TMD cells in the trainer? I also found myself using the no reload and unlimited ammo cheats combined with the add medpack and add weapon cheats. Sure, using time as a weapon isn’t exactly fair in the first place…but come on, they’re Russian Monsters – why not get all the help you can?



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