Thursday's Hidden Gem - Singularity
Every other Thursday, I will be examining a game that had a real impact on me that might have slipped by the majority of gamers. This week's hidden gem is Singularity, which is a first person shooter from the last generation. I originally played this game on 360 but it is also available on PS3 and Steam.
First Person Success
I just finished playing the single player campaign from the new Doom game, which came out in the spring. Doom, as has been well reported, has an absolutely outstanding single player campaign. The combat is exciting, the encounters are frequent and feel significant, and the upgrade system really impacts your character as he makes his way through Hell on Mars. As I finished this game, I started thinking about the other single player campaigns from first person shooters that really impressed me. Titles that immediately jumped to mind were Wolfenstein: The New Order, Bioshock, Metro 2033, COD: Black Ops, and Resistance. These single player campaigns have been talked about at great length for their storylines, creative combat, and unique upgrade systems. One title that I absolutely loved always seems to miss making these lists and it is a game that I think deserves the same recognition of any of the games listed above. Singularity, if you have never played it, is a game that is very much worth your time.
First Person Success
Since this game is 6 years old, I will not bother you with in depth plot details. Singularity's plot is fairly typical. Your character, Nathaniel Renko, is charged with exploring a mysterious island, Katorga 12, in order to find out where an EMP pulse was generated. Surprise, the island holds more mysteries than you originally thought, and you find yourself outfitted with a unique device, the TMD, which is a device that can manipulate time and use time energy to combat enemies. Your mission becomes related to time travel, having to go back in time to stop the forces that led to this island's destruction. Following so far? Ok, let's get into the gameplay.
The gun combat in singularity is a lot of fun. As in most first person shooters, you start off with a pistol and work your way through the normal progression of weapons. Shotgun, assault rifle, explosives, etc. I may be missing some of the details of the weapon progression system because it's been at least 5 years since I have played it, but you can collect weapon techs, TMD blueprints, and hero perks to upgrade your weapons, the TMD, and your own health systems. E-99, the radioactive element that powers your TMD, can be found all over the game and is essentially the currency that you use to purchase the upgrades. The unique thing about this weapon upgrade system is that, as you upgrade your weapons, the weapons become more and more infused with E-99, giving them a futuristic quality with the more that you upgrade them. Your sniper rifle, for example, can be upgraded so that each kill will reward you with more TMD energy. These types of upgrades allow you to strategically decide which upgrades will better suit your play style. Aside from the pistol, I remember vividly wanting to upgrade each weapon to the fullest to see how each upgrade affected the efficiency of the firearm. This motivated me to search every corner of the game for upgrades and stores of E-99.
TMD, Yeah You Know Me
The weapon gameplay is outstanding in Singularity, but the game truly shines when you start integrating the TMD into combat. The TMD has several abilities that make you an unstoppable time-bending wrecking machine. From its Impulse ability, an instant kill force push ability, to its Aging ability, a time attack that literally ages your enemy instantly, turning them to dust before your eyes, the TMD becomes a unique accessory that allows you to engage in combat with a lot of enemies at once without being overrun. I can remember fighting a particularly sizeable wave of enemies, blasting furiously with my assault rifle into the crowd and, just as all hope was seeming to fade, I unleashed my Deadlock ability, an ability that freezes all enemies for a short moment in time, and was able to turn the tide by getting behind the enemy horde and taking them out from the rear. Moments like these are not few and far between in this game. The combat is extremely satisfying and, with the right combo of weapon and TMD powerups, you really feel like a time jumping badass.
Looking back at some of the best first person shooters in history, Singularity would probably not be one that jumps into the forefront of most people's minds. However, when looking back specifically at single player campaigns, Singularity should be thought of as one of the elite first person shooters of the last generation. Much like Spec Ops: The Line, a game that will be covered in the future in this segment, I believe this game suffered because it had a bland, generic title and a lack of a significant ad campaign that conveyed the true nature of the game. The story offers the player with interesting choices and I remember replaying the last chapter 3 or 4 times just to see the different versions of the game's ending. One valid criticism is the game's length. As an 8 hour campaign, it was a little difficult to justify a $60 purchase. If there is a plus to getting to this game's party a little late, on eBay you can get a console version of this game for $10 or less and on Steam, you can get this game for $7.49. Do yourself a favor, lose yourself in time with this game. You won't be sorry.
In the process of writing this article, I frequented the IGN Wiki for Singularity in order to make sure that I had all of the names and terms correct. All other things in this article are from memory so, if there are any mistakes, they are all owned by the author.