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Singularity is a new first person shooter adventure game from Activision that is available for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Windows PC. This review is of the PS3 version, though I understand there to be little or no difference between the versions as far as game content. In short, I thought this game was fun, but it doesn’t really deliver a lot for your money when compared to other games. I finished it in about 12 hours, and I took my time to explore almost everything.
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The story is that you are sent to investigate a radioactive disturbance on an island and you discover a secret Russian facility where time travel experiments had been performed. As you explore the facility, you will encounter various creatures as well as rips in time where you have to go back fifty years in order to set things in motion to affect present day. It can be creepy and scary at times, and it even made me jump at one point. Overall, I thought the story was very well done and it would actually make a neat book. I saw that Amazon.com has a special version that includes a graphic novel based on the game, but I just have the regular game without any book.
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This is a science fiction action game with gameplay similar to Bioshock in that it’s a mix of exploration, simple puzzle solving, and combat. Most of the game is very straightforward in that you only have one direction to go, one door to open, and so on. You will occasionally have to go hunt down a lever or push a button to get a door open, and then it gets more complicated when you need to use your special powers to get past simple obstacles that purposefully limit your mobility.
You have a device in the game that lets you move objects and manipulate their age, and this comes into play several times while getting through parts of the game. For example, there are a couple of times when you find a garage door that is stuck, so you have to get a box and crush it with the device, then place it under the jammed door and fix the box back to original size to push the garage door up. There are several occasions where you will need boxes to climb up toward things in order to continue forward, but most of the time it is really obvious what needs to be done.
Combat in the game comes sporadically and there are several big battle scenes where you need to take out small armies of soldiers or monsters. There are also a couple of boss fights that are fun, but not very difficult. I finished them on the first try just by using basic attack and defend type strategies of waiting for a chance to hit and then backing out of the way for the big monster to take a swing. The gunfights you get into with other soldiers are pretty fun and you have to take your time to get through them by finding cover and waiting for a clear shot.
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I was very pleased to see that this game at least offered an online multiplayer component. Too many of single player type games offer no online action and they wind up in the bargain bin very quickly. At least Singularity includes multiplayer online gameplay, but it’s nothing you haven’t done in other games. The ability to play as the monsters you encounter in the single player game is pretty cool, though. During certain times late at night, you may not find anyone online to play since this game isn’t real popular right now.
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One of the best parts of this game are the weapons you get to use. You have a basic pistol, machine gun, and shotgun that are the main staples of most combat, but you also get a few specialized weapons that come in very handy during a couple of scenarios. One gun is like a sniper rifle where you can control the bullet in slow motion after it is fired. I absolutely loved this weapon and the ability to steer the bullet like a missile, then watch the bad guy’s head explode after I pulled off a headshot. Another weapon is a type of spike gun that shoots explosive darts at the enemy and then take a few seconds before they go off. It’s pretty awesome. The action in this game is a mix of long-range and close quarter combat, so sometimes you need to choose your weapons wisely.
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Graphics and Sound
I thought this game has some really cool graphics and the especially liked the effects it used when going back and forth in time. The environment reminded me a lot of the asylum that you go through in the Batman: Arkham Asylum game and there are some pretty big areas to go into. Unfortunately, you’ll also encounter a lot of locked doors or areas where you can’t jump high enough to cross. There is a good bit of gore in this game, especially if you get a headshot or blow something or somebody up.
The sound effects are decent although surround sound doesn’t really get much use here. You’ll hear enemy soldiers talking in Russian, so at least there isn’t the constant stream of profanity that you often here in games these days. You will constantly hear sounds of monsters roaring offscreen, but it’s never really an indication that you’re about to be attacked. In fact, most of them come in quietly.
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Since the gameplay is so completely linear and you only play one character, there really is no reason to go back and replay the game unless you want to complete some of the PS3 trophies you didn’t earn the first time around. I took my time going through every side hallway and exploring everything I could find, so by the time I finished it there was little left for me to do. The online multiplayer action does help give the game a little extra life after you complete the main mission, but it isn’t nearly as fun as the online action in games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 or Battlefield: Bad Company 2.
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Overall, I would say that Singularity is a good game, but not a great one. I'd give it a solid 3.5 out of 5 stars because I found it to be incredibly easy and not really worth the 60 bucks I spent on it for only about 12 hours of gameplay and some lackluster online action. If you hold off on buying this right now, I expect the price to drop very soon.
If you want the most for your gaming dollar, the best PS3 game to buy right now is Red Dead Redemption.