Ranting While Playing: Singularity

The main menu features an animated background with a tall structure sticking out of stormy waters. Behind that in the distance there is a tower firing a laser into the sky, which is causing the clouds above to swirl. Borrowing liberally from Bioshock and Half-Life 2 here, aren’t we? I get the feeling this will be a trend.

No subtitles. This game is already losing points for me.

An aircraft flies over the sea before crashing. I wake up surrounded by fire with a tower in the distance. I guess it’s technically different from Bioshock because I’m on a pier rather than the middle of the ocean. How did I land on the pier, specifically the very tip of it? I guess I should just suspend my disbelief for the majority of this game or I’ll be doing a lot of typing.

I just activated a microphone and voices started coming out of it. I don’t think Raven understands the difference between a microphone and a speaker.

Would it really be that hard to make the audio wave during voice transmissions actually reflect the voices? They just have a three second loop repeat instead.

2D fire. Classy. Also, standing in front of a projector causes no shadows.

The game takes place in the ruins of an isolated society that focused on gathering a rare material that has special properties. This is explained to you through a cartoony slideshow. This Bioshock ball just keeps on rolling.

Wow, and the story of what happened to everyone is told by a series of tape recordings that are randomly scattered around the area.

A group of soldiers wearing all black and gas masks try to kill me, so I run away from them while unarmed through a series of buildings. A girl with a tight jacket, jeans, black hair and a pistol hides me and informs me about a resistance movement. I see I’ve made it to the Half-Life 2 section of the game.

Oh look, a Houdini spilcer. I also think it’s worth mentioning that the first aid kits use the same symbol as the Bioshock ones. Granted, it’s a pretty universal symbol. There’s also a heavy emphasis on scavenging and there are locations scattered throughout the game that each let you upgrade one of your weapons once.

Press down on the D-pad to send out a footstep ping that lets you see chrono footsteps…what? That makes absolutely no sense! Why would a time manipulation device be able to create glowing footsteps?

You collect technology (Adam) throughout the game in order to upgrade your time powers (plasmids) at certain stations.

The time powers seem fairly well made, but there are times where you’re just facing random objects and spamming buttons in an attempt to figure out what arbitrary object the game will let you interact with.

If I destroy the singularity in the past, history will correct itself? That makes no sense! This isn’t a story where I came from the future and messed up the timeline by changing something. This is how history unfolded in this story! There’s nothing to correct! The only perspective that would think something was wrong is that of the player, so that means the motives are based around the perspective of someone that’s not even in the game! Terrible, terrible writing!

Ugh…same problem as Metro 2033. If you make a first person game, don’t have a random third person cinematic half way through the game! It’s just disorienting and confusing to see. If the player doesn’t see their character in the entire game, they won’t recognize the character when he pops up in some video. If you’re trying to have a dramatic moment you can do so in first person. That’s one of the big things that Call of Duty does correctly. Suddenly cutting away from the character when every other cinematic was in first person is just lazy problem solving.

If you’re going to have time manipulation mechanics as the main focus of your game, don’t use debris to block paths! This should be common sense. If you do this all it does is emphasize how inconsistent and contrived the mechanics are.

Now I’m in a ship which is springing leaks and filling up with water as I fight mutants with my powers. Do I even need to say anything?

If I can turn back time for anything, why can’t I just revive Alyx or whatever her name is every time she dies during some annoying escort mission? Old-Man-Scientist and Not-Alyx are the only two characters in this game, and Not-Alyx gets the honor of an off-screen death? Classy, Singularity, Classy. Moments after we encounter a new type of monster the unarmed doctor suggests that we split up. Seriously?

I just got to the Singularity and it’s got these huge torrents of debris flying up to it. Hasn’t this been going on for like 50 years? How could there still be stuff to suck up? Also, how am I not being sucked in too when there are objects larger than me up there? Insert contrived time travel plot twist here, Game Over.

Final Verdict? It’s a fun game with solid gameplay, but it borrows liberally from better games and has a story that you might be best off ignoring altogether.


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