I think it’s safe to say that I have become somewhat of a game connoisseur (snob), and after playing Singularity I could not help but write a harsh review. Not even 10 minutes into this game and I had already spotted several things that had been flat out copied (stolen) from some of my favorite games. It’s one thing to be inspired by something, but it is another to shamelessly copy. Imitation is not always greatest form of flattery, but rather, and forgive me of the strange metaphor, it’s more like a leech feeding on a cash cow. One thing I do not hold against this game is the quality of visuals. The game’s look is very polished, much like BioShock and Gears of War. Beautiful texture and normal maps. There are also a couple levels that are pretty unique, like a battleship aging as you run through it.
Played it before and it was better
Let’s just break down the similarities I couldn’t help but notice. First, I almost immediately ran into a statue of a Russian dictator at the beginning of the game, which I immediately recognized from BioShock’s opening. You walk into a dark lighthouse, the door slams behind you and the lights turn on to reveal the enormous head Andrew Ryan, the games lead villain.
Around this area you find old fashioned footage explaining a substance called e99, very much like the explanation videos you get when you purchase a new plasmid in BioShock. Also, there are tons of audio logs lying around that help you piece together what happened at this remote Russian base. Audio logs are a great way of keeping the story going without interrupting the game play and without going through the trouble of animating movies. But I’ve seen so many games use this now, and it’s lost its charm. Batman Arkham Asylum , Crackdown 2, Halo ODST, Borderlands, Dead Space, Army of Two, etc.
Your main weapon is the TMD (Time Manipulation Device). It is your object aging, object lifting, time freezing, zombie making device. Yes, zombie making. On top of those darned Russians who we Americans apparently still love to deem evil, we have zombies, cause hey, zombies are in, right? And gee golly, doesn’t this sound an awful lot like TimeShift?
The creativity is a lie
Portal had a couple rooms that you ran into about half way through the game that had some psychotic looking writing on the wall claiming that the “tests” you were doing were pointless, the cake was a lie, and that you really should escape the facility. Using your TMD you uncover exactly that. Little notes left by someone telling you to do things, or that you shouldn’t have done things, or that you’ve already tried doing things.
The majority of the game, you jump back and forth between the past a present through rips in time alternately fighting Russians and zombie things. The only obstacles you encounter are little puzzles. You see, there’s a ledge that I have to jump up on, but I can’t reach it. But don’t worry! There’s a box near by that I can bring over. It’s collapsed over time, so I can revert it back to its original shape and, presto, I’m up! Hats off to the team that came up with those challenging puzzles.
My favorite ripoff is the ticks. Gears of War has tickers, which are bug like creatures that run at you and explode. Singularity has ticks that run at you and explode. Even the design is incredibly similar. Really, I’m just embarrassed for them at this point.
At least it ends
Finally, we come to the dramatic conclusion where at the very last scene you can choose to be good, bad or selfish (BioShock). It’s not a terribly long ride and there’s really no payoff. Even the good ending completely contradicts itself so do yourself a favor and just avoid the game all together.