2010 Reviews

Singularity

  • Review Date: 2014-05
  • Release Date: 2010-06
  • Developer: Raven Software
  • Rating: 8.0

I really enjoy Raven's games. They still make them with an old school flavour - tight, linear layouts, interesting weapons, unique enemy and monster design. Thus, I loved Singularity. But it does fall a bit short in some areas, and it may not suit everyones style.

When I look at some of Raven's older games in comparison to Singularity; Heretic II, Star Trek, Soldier of Fortune, there is really not that much of a difference. They've added in upgrading of weapons and skills, which just about every action game seems to be implement these days, but level design and gameplay are the same as what they were developing 15 years ago. Which I really enjoy. The levels look fantastic. They're usually quite small with a very linear route and doors often closing behind you. Not much exploration is involved. It's quite a bit like Doom 3 actually. The art style, however, is a bit different to what Raven normally do (sci-fi) and has more in common with Bioshock. It takes place entirely on a dark island with a small town and science complex on it. The old Russians doing experiments storyline *cough Wolfenstein cough*. But it mixes modern day and 1955 as you time-travel back and forth.

The storyline is pretty good, at least as a plot, as there's not much storytelling during the actual game. Cutscenes are few, usually done in Bioshock style animations. I sort of feel like Raven were going for something very similar to Bioshock, but didn't quite achieve the amazing art style that Bioshock has with it's dark art deco.

Even the gadgets are similar - in Bioshock you get plasmids, in Singularity it's the Time Manipulation Device (TMD), which has several features. I won't get into them but I will say the actual weapon arsenal left me a bit disappointed. Apart from the shogun, assault rifle and chaingun, the rest of the weapons were too gimmicky, slow and low ammo carrying capacity. So I just stuck with those 3 throughout the game - you can only equip 2 weapons at a time anyway.

The combat was all good fun with some good enemy types. However, there simply weren't enough. There's only a few different enemies you'll remember throughout the game. Probably one of the coolest enemies you only went up against a single time. In the end, there were just too many plain human enemies. Singularity is supposed to be fantasy/sci-fi, not Call Of Duty, so why so many humans that are dead easy to take down with the assault rifle?

There lies the other main issue with Singularity - it's quite easy. While there were a few challenges earlier on, the further you progress, the easier the game gets. I always had tonnes of health packs, ammo and TMD ready to use, and at the end you just don't need any of it. I played on Normal difficulty, but this one might be worth playing one higher, or just don't worry about picking up every last bit of money for upgrading your skills.

Those issues aside, I still loved Singularity. It's a mix of Bioshock, Wolfenstein and Doom 3. With a tiny bit of Half-Life 2 puzzle-solving. Great designs, fun combat. The real shame is Raven don't seem to have of their own games in development in the 4 years since this was released.

Singularity