Singularity is a FPS game that takes place in a small Russian controlled island, where they conduct dangerous experiments involving a new element called E-99. This is triggered by their fear of America’s knowledge of Atomic Energy and in that island they found an element that greatly surpasses that power. The problems arise due to the Russian’s overworking everyone on the island and with everyone handling a potentially dangerous new source of energy, an accident inevitably happens. That is when you, an American soldier named Renko and a second team are sent in to investigate. Before you can land, a shock-wave causes both helicopters to go out of control and leaves you as the only known survivor. You land in a small abandoned dock village and make your way into a building full of old timey Russian propaganda, map of the island’s facilities and a statue of Joseph Stalin’s head. Another shock-wave appears and suddenly the room is full of people and on fire. As you try to make your way out of the crumbling building, you rescue a man from death. The shock-wave wave reappears and you are now by yourself and notice that the statue of Stalin’s head is now replaced with that of the man you saved. This is where our adventure truly begins.
The environments are now off somehow, you can’t put your finger on why but you know you are in danger. The opening scene has amazing atmosphere and a lingering sense of dread since you are unarmed. You go through quite a bit being unarmed and the tension of not knowing what is out there is used very effectively. Ghosts appear from time to time that show the last moments of the deceased and the stories of what happened to your surroundings. This game does a great job at pulling you in and getting you interested in the twisted world you find yourself in. Eventually you do get a pistol to defend yourself from the horrors that await, but it is very weak and there is limited ammo to be had. How I wish the game would have stayed this way, but atlas you run into both an assault rifle and a shotgun in quick succession, immediately destroying any fear you may have of what lurks in the shadows since you are now armed to the teeth with powerful weapons. That issue only worsens as you are granted more and more powerful weapons as the story goes on. You can only carry two weapons of any type at a time but ammo is very frequent and I never found myself lacking in ammo. Weapon kits are scattered about that allow you to upgrade your already powerful weapons. This game got very easy, real fast on the Normal difficulty. If you have decent experience with the genre or want to maintain the horror aspect, I would recommend going for hard the first time through.
Besides your weapons, you will also be able to upgrade yourself with E-99 to allow you to run longer, hold your breath underwater longer and much more. Well since the fact that you being able to manipulate time is the game’s first selling point I suppose it’s not a spoiler to say that you will have other-worldly powers that you can also upgrade. These are a very nice addition to the game and gives you many more options during fights such as aging people into corpses or tossing an explosive your enemies’ way to name a few. Your powers are not unlimited however and are reliant on energy which slowly refills over time. It does add to the problem of being an overpowered killing machine with no need to fear anything, but it is a ton of fun to freeze time around a group of enemies, shooting them all in the face and unfreezing time before they knew what hit them. Thankfully one feature that helps alleviate you feeling like you can’t be killed is that your health does not regenerate. If you are careless in fights your health will whittle down and you will run the risk of dying by what is usually a laugh-worthy attempt at killing Renko the Space Wizard. Health is recovered via syringes laying around that are used on the spot or health kits that you can carry around, up to five at the start. Health kits do have an animation of wrapping your wound before your health is regenerated making you an easy target for enemies.
That is not the only old school feature Singularity has. Shooting without using iron-sights is a viable option for combat and allows you to immerse yourself in the environments instead of having your face pressed up against the iron-sights just in case an enemy appears. The levels are fairly open ended and with the combination of health kits, ammo, weapon kits and E-99 scattered about for upgrades, the temptation of exploring off the beaten path is great. This works far better to get us to explore creepy areas that will probably have something inside waiting to bite our faces off ,than having a random collectible that only completionists care about like most games coming out around that time would have had. Outside of useful items there are also notes and audio logs scattered about that add information to the events that have occurred in the game. The overall story of Singularity is fairly interesting but really lags during the middle of the game, it does pick up again near the end thankfully. For whatever reason this game does not have an option for subtitles, which is both very annoying and odd.
That brings me to the biggest issue with this game. It is very common for users (myself included) to have no sound whatsoever until you go through this workaround. That fixed the issue of there being no sound whatsoever, but cutscenes were still far too quite. With the lack of subtitles and being unable to hear what people are saying in cutscenes, even with my headphones at their loudest, I had no idea what happened in the ending of the game due to it. There are several endings and it is a shame that I had to go out of my way to search for mine on Youtube. Once you finish the game, there is no option to start the game over with any of the stuff you have unlocked and the multiplayer is also dead, which I sadly had no way of experiencing. There are no motives for replaying the game other than selecting a higher difficulty setting. It took me 8 hours to complete the game, so standard time for games of this genre and I left pleased with the experience but the lack of anything else to do may be a turn off to some. That aside, graphics are still decent considering the title is half a decade old and environments have a lot of cool yet useless interactivity like messing with phones, sinks and microphones. Enemy variety is decent enough and has you facing both humans and creatures that can be far bigger than you. Humans end up being far more dangerous than most creatures as they have quite an aim and effectively use cover.
Boss fights are tense and feature the aforementioned giant creatures that will quickly murder you if you don’t discover their attack pattern and weaknesses. Best of all there are no Quick Time Events to be found here. Your movement speed does hamper the enjoyment a bit since like most modern FPS games you move around at a snail’s pace and are only able to sprint for a few seconds. It’s not all fighting though, you will come across an occasional simplistic puzzle or two every once in a while. One other modern aspect is that you will not be able to backtrack, so if you leave a ammo crate hoping to retrieve it later on when you need it, you will be unable to since doors inexplicably close and seal shut behind you. When all is said and done however, it is a nice blend of both the old school health system & useful rewards for exploration, as well as newer features of the genre such as story and upgrade systems. While not the horror game it could have been, it is a fun journey with a interesting story to tell. Singularity is a game fans of the genre looking for a single player experience will more likely than not enjoy, as long as they don’t mind fixing the audio issue that may occur.