Of all the bad things that Activision has done over the last few years, the worst is that they didn't market Singularity more. Sure the game was delayed a bit after getting an interesting viral campaign launched for the game, but it's a shame that Activision didn't push the game more as this is probably one of the best/most interesting first person shooters available right now.
In Singularity you play Nate Renko, a special ops agent for the United States who is dispatched to a remote Russian island to investigate the source of an EMP blast that took out a US communication satellite. The site on the island is Katorga-12 was home to a secret Cold War base that the Soviets set up to examine E99, a new element with untold power that could give the Soviets the power to defeat the US.
As you arrive at the base your helicopter is hit by an EMP burst and crashes onto the island. It’s a bit cliché, but you wake up alone and after you rendezvous with one of your compatriots you realize that the Ruskies were up to no good on their island. It turns out that in 1955 one of the experiments on the island went a bit sideways and tore a hole in the fabric of time. How do you know this? Because you get to witness the experience as you are transported back in time to witness it and help evacuate some of the survivors.
I’m not normally a fan of time travel antics as they’ve become a major crutch of the sci-fi universe over the last few years but Singularity does a good job of mitigating some of those murky waters by changing things up a bit. Instead of simply watching the events in the past you take part of them which makes it a bit interesting as you end up creating a few paradoxes along the way. I’d say more but that would be revealing some of the best parts of the game.
OK, so the premise of the game isn’t exactly unique, as most FPS players have been sent into untold numbers of scientific facilities after bad accidents happen but Singularity’s hook is the time travel part of the game, and it works out pretty well. The folks at Kartorga 12 where trying to weaponize E99 and ended up creating a device that could alter the fabric of time and space. Unfortunately they had a bit of an accident and created a rift in time that you’ll have to navigate as you try to correct the time line. It’s a bit like the sixth season of Lost but without the tropical jungle and fewer god complexes.
The weapon they were working on is the TMD (Time Manipulation Device) which allows them to focus the E99 on objects allowing them to age items. In your hands it allows you to flip certain items between their 1955 state and their 2010 state. It’s a fairly simple concept, but Raven does a great job of using it to create some interesting puzzles. For example a crate can be used to help fill a gap so that you can make a jump or it can be used to force open a partially open garage door. The puzzles are actually somewhat clever in design and execution and you’ll have to play with the state of the objects in the game in addition to the combat in the game.
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