Singularity

Time-twister, or time-waster?

You’ll gain access to a raft of more standard weaponry like AK’s, shotguns and pistols. How Raven will balance the use of these with the TMD will determine how successful the game is. Though your weapons are meaty, your enemies - genetically-mutated ‘inside-out’ creatures - run like they’ve just dropped out of a Quake game, speeding around arenas too fast and too frantically, negating any chance of a calculated shootout.

Bog-standard humans prove to be better targets. Their cover crumbles with smart use of the TMD, and the soldiers themselves soak up far fewer bullets than Katorga 12’s mutants. The E99 Revolver (Element 99 being a time-monkeying molecule) is especially devastating, letting you manipulate a bullet in mid-air to steer it into a brain cavity. The TMD itself is also damaging to human flesh. Send an enemy forward through time and they’ll age like Walter Donovan in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Send them the other way and the soldiers will melt into a primordial soup substance.

As you explore Katorga 12’s abandoned research buildings you’ll find ghostly objects and people trapped between time zones. These flashback moments are often there just to further the plot, but occasionally they’ll tie into puzzles too. You’re equipped with a chrono-light, aflashlight capable of shining time-invariant light onto surfaces. Using the flashlight on objects stuck in time will anchor them to present day, letting you grab the object with the TMD’s stasis power. These objects are then invariably plugged intoelevators and machines to open paths forward.

Raven’s last project – Wolfenstein – was no slouch on the weapons front either. Weak AI and bland levels somewhat let the game down, and though Singularity appears to have its locations covered, we’ve yet to see evidence of Raven’s much-needed AI improvements. It’s for this reason that Singularity has failed to set our Anticip-o-meter alight. But expectations are still quietly high, and if Raven does manage to exorcise ghosts of Wolfenstein past during the closing months their new time-twisting adventure could be one of 2010’s biggest surprises.

Jan 26, 2010

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