Game Review: Singularity (Xbox 360)


What would you do if you had the power of time travel in your hands: Take over the world, or save it?

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Singularity follows Nathaniel Renko through a variety of missions that must be completed to progress the story line. The Game-play is similar to Call of Duty and Bioshock type games. Renko starts off with nothing and is lead by James Devlin through a tutorial type mission. Renko can interact with a variety of items. Some are useful, e.g., Chests, notes, and recorders. Some are not, e.g., Telephones and typewriters. Eventually Renko finds weapons but can only carry two at any given time since there is no actual inventory. E-99 tech is scattered throughout Katorga-12 and can be collected to buy Weapons, Upgrades , and Ammunition. Once found, the Time Manipulation Device or TMD is used for a variety of things and becomes a permanent part of Renkos equipment.

3The plot revolves around a mysterious island known only as Katorga-12 where Russian experiments involving “E99” (Element 99, which appears to be an equivalent to the actual element Einsteinium, which has no special properties like those referenced in the game), took place during the height of the Cold War era. Sometime during 1950, a terrible catastrophe known as the “Singularity” occurred on the island. The player controls Nate Renko, an elite Special Forces soldier who is sent to investigate bizarre radiation emissions coming from the island, only to crash land there. After regaining consciousness, Nate finds the TMD (Time Manipulation Device) and discovers that the island is constantly shifting between the time periods of 1950 and 2010. Renko’s goal is to find his co-pilot, escape the island and eventually prevent the Singularity from occurring. Besides having to deal with hostile Russian forces in both time periods, the player must also deal with hideously mutated flora, fauna and former residents of the island, some of which have developed time manipulation powers of their own.

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The most interesting character (besides the one you play as) has to be Dr. Viktor Barisov, the former head of E99 research on the island research station of Katorga-12 and creator of the TMD. Holding a Doctorate in Quantum Physics from Russia’s top science academy and a Master’s in Biochemisty, Barisov was identified as “Russia’s Einstein” and appointed personally by Joseph Stalin in 1950 to establish the “Katorga-12” research station and oversee all research into the newly discovered “Element 99.” Working alongside fellow scientist Nikolai Demichev, Barisov began work on applying E99 to nearly all aspects of science and industry, including the manipulation and harnessing of time itself.

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Although Barisov may be interesting, and depending on your choices can end up either dead or alive, I still personally found myself not being very attached to any of the characters. I wouldn’t say I didn’t care if they lived or died, but it was on the verge of being that. And, I think one reason is because most of the game you’re surrounded by the mutated residents, alone and with everything being so shrouded in mystery you only learn about some characters and in quite an impersonal way. Besides that I think the game is really compelling and graphically pleasing. The propaganda film reels were also highly entertaining and some of the notes left you feeling pretty disturbed.
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My favourite sections in the game (besides the conclusion) were when you had to sneak past Reverts.  They are humans who were mutated by time manipulation experiments. Despite being blind, they have a sensitive hearing. Even lifting objects with the TMD’s gravity manipulation feature will alert any nearby Reverts. I always found those sections to be the most creepy, as you could really see the mutations up close as the slowly dragged themselves by. Although it’s possible to just shoot up the area they’re in and kill them all, I always decided against that because sneaking past them added to the atmosphere, plus they’re damn strong.
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Singularity
  • 8.5/10
    The Final Score - 8.5/10
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