By CHONG JINN WEI
Use time as a weapon in this fast-paced first-person shooter.
SINGULARITY puts you in the role of black ops operative, Nathaniel Renko, who has to investigate an abandoned Russian facility on the fictional island of Kartorga 12.
The mission inevitably goes bad and an alternate timeline is created where the Russians have taken over the world. It's up to you to find a way to restore the timeline.
You will spend much of your time exploring an abandoned research facility on Kartorga 12 and learn of its dark past from audio recordings which tell of a new element called E99 that allows time and space to be manipulated.
For the most part you will be in an altered 2010 reality but also get to travel back in time to 1955 to change history and save the world.
The game uses the popular Unreal Engine 3 but it doesn't look great because the characters and buildings look bland.
Although uninspiring, it gives Kartorga 12 a dark and desolate atmosphere.
Also, the level of gore is quite high as dismembered limbs start flying once the action begins.
The game's musical score is a mix of horror and fast-paced beats that sets the tone when you play the game's intense set pieces.
Singularity has a clichéd cheesy science fiction vibe that matches well with the game's story.
At its core, Singularity is a standard first-person shooter. It guides you through a set of linear pathways that's often populated with enemies.
If you get lost in the game, pressing the D-pad will point you in the direction of your next objective.
There is a set number of objectives to complete in each chapter and there is only one way to solve a problem.
However, the game encourages you to search for weapon upgrades and listen to audio recordings to get the bigger picture.
The major hook is a special device called the TMD (time manipulation device) which can restore or age objects.
Implementation of the TMD is severely limited because only a few things like locks, crates and stairs can be manipulated to solve puzzles.
Also, the same puzzle is repeated over and over again that it becomes tedious very fast.
More impressive usage of the TMD is usually only seen during prescripted events like when you have to restore an entire ship.
Combat is what you expect from an FPS game and Singularity has its share of standard weapons like the pistol, assault rifle, shotgun and sniper rifle.
Unique to Singularity is its E99 powered weapons. One such weapon is the seeker, a rifle that allows you to guide a bullet in slow motion towards your target and make it explode on impact.
E99 weapons are fun to use but the game limits its use because they are so powerful - you will only get one in certain parts of the game and it'll usually run out of ammo.
Also, weapons can be improved at upgrade stations if you manage to find upgrade kits scattered on the island. The upgrades increase clip size, reload speed and damage.
The kits are limited so you have to hunt them down and choose your weapon upgrades carefully.
You can also "upgrade" yourself (better health, take less damage, etc) and the TMD.
Besides manipulating the environment, the TMD can also be used in combat and it's very handy for killing certain type of enemies.
Some mutants are so fast they phase in and out of time and the only way to get a clear shot is to slow them down with the TMD.
The TMD also replaces the standard melee attack with a strong force blast that can blow soldiers to pieces at close range.
Other creative uses of the TMD include sending rockets back at enemies and creating a time bubble that stops any object within its sphere.
This allows you to pump enemies full of lead as they are helplessly frozen - it's simply fun to see them turn into a red mist once the time bubble bursts.
To keep the game challenging, the TMD has a finite amount of power that recharges over time and can also be replenished by special vials.
The multiplayer aspect of Singularity has you taking the roles of either the Russian soldiers (each using a TMD specialised for a certain function) or the mutants (with different skills for each type).
Similar to Team Fortress 2, players can play as different classes, specialising in certain roles and must work together to win a match.
There are only two modes available in multiplayer: Deathmatch and Control Point where a team has to hold and defend and area from enemies.
The two multiplayer modes feel uninspired and boring.
Singularity is an average FPS game that has some interesting ideas that could have been better realised.
It's a fun game nonetheless as the pacing is good and the set pieces are well scripted.
The TMD also makes combat interesting as there are so many ways it can be used to dispose of enemies. Also, the storyline wasn't too bad and there are multiple endings to explore.
Overall, Singularity was a fun game with some clever implementation of time manipulation.
Pros: TMD makes combat fun; impressive set pieces; fancy weapons.
Cons: Dated graphics; boring and limited multiplayer modes.
First-person shooter for PlayStation3, Xbox 360, PC
Price: RM190 (PS3); RM180 (Xbox 360); RM160 (PC)