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Old 01-30-2011, 05:58 PM   #16
Richard Naik
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Re: Please Rate This Review: Singularity 2nd Opinion

Hey, sorry for the late reply. My spam filter apparently ate the thread email.

The paragraph where you describe the even of Renko going back and saving Demichev is a little too heavy on detail. I'm sorry, but I have to veto the use of specific plot points. Can you be a little more generic about the consequences of going back in time instead?

Also, you refer to 'Chancellor Barisov' in the last paragraph, which should be 'Chancellor Demichev' I think.

Clean those things up and I think it's ready.
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Old 01-30-2011, 08:32 PM   #17
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Re: Please Rate This Review: Singularity 2nd Opinion

Thanks, Richard.. I needed to get away from this one. Haven't looked at it in weeks so your timing is actually perfect. I don't think I sold the idea of movement very well. Just niggling, meh, not happy with that. Don't know if I can pull it out or not.

I'll definitely implement your suggestions, though. Will take a crack at it tomorrow.
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Old 02-21-2011, 10:37 AM   #18
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Arrow Re: Please Rate This Review: Singularity 2nd Opinion

alright

what is this? the fourth draft?
Im losing count, but Im going to town. Tell me if you think this works

Singularity 2nd Opinion

What is and what should never be

HIGH Raising “the Pearl”
LOW Running out of oxygen because I didn’t know to jam a door from the top
WTF Its 2010, is it too much to have the main Russian characters speak Russian?

I wanted to find a way to recommend and share my enthusiasm for Ravensoft’s Singularity but realized that the game has been almost universally and disparagingly referenced as a Bioshock clone. The comment seems to be an accepted conversation ender, so for purposes of a second opine of Singularity I will talk a little about about Bioshock.

Joy.

Well, I don't like Bioshock. It has a cold clammy 1950s-meets-steampunk charm that never sat right with me. I liked the ‘CastAway’ style plane crash, swimming ashore to the creepy lighthouse, and loved the look of Rapture until I actually got there. Bioshock’s biggest accolade and problem is that it's pretty much the 'Citizen Kane' of first person shooters. It uses nearly every graphic and design trick that's evolved from shooter gameplay seamlessly and efficiently. But it is also about as involving as 'Citizen Kane' as well, ie- not that much. I didn’t care about Charles Foster Kane anymore than I cared about Atlas or his wife and kids, and I didn’t care about what went wrong or why everyone was attacking me. Well, so what? It's a shooter, right? Well, it bothered me; here was a beautiful and clever sandbox murder game that did everything perfectly except give me a plausible reason to go around burning, freezing and exploding every single thing I saw, and THEN had this weird temerity to shoehorn in a brickheaded morality question to the story, just to keep things politically correct. There was just something vague and empty about it, and I could never find a motivation to finish it.

Singularity at least casts you as a blank slate American GI and sets you against evil Russian bad guys made more bad by time traveling opportunism. B-movie writing? Yes. But nevertheless, problem solved. Woo-Ah!

I don’t think Singularity is a clone of Bioshock, anymore than I think a waffle is a clone of a pancake. I DO think Bioshock is a clone of System Shock 2, but that’s another article.

So to compare:Singularity at the start has some film projectors that run clips that sound alot like the plasmid ads from Bioshock... which were in turn co-opted from countless magazine and film reel designs of the early 50s.

Singularity has shooting, mutated crazies, bad accents, and tape recorded journal entries. So does Bioshock.

Beyond which, the similarities end. Both games reflect retro-themed shooter roots, but what flavor you like really depends on you. That should be the point. Bioshock is more of a sandbox-combat game than Singularity, which is a more compact, story-driven game. I think when people say Singularity is a clone of Bioshock what they really mean is that Singularity isn’t like Bioshock for the reasons I just mentioned and it bothers them ... maybe because they played Bioshock first and liked it. Fine by me. I thoroughly enjoyed Singularity, as it's own game.

There’s a genre of sci-fi that includes tales like Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle”, Philip K. Dick’s “Second Variety” or Crichton’s “Jurassic Park”. The Pandora's Box fable that reminds us that there’s gleeful terror in the misuse of science.

Singularity is like that. It’s a fast-paced, time travel nightmare. Juxtaposing a 1950s Cold War scientific race against a modern 'world gone wrong', it creates a brooding mood of unease that does not let up from the moment it starts.

We are introduced to Katorga-12, a frigid island off the eastern coast of the Soviet Union. Wea re told in 1955 two communist scientists experimented with E99, a unstable fissionable element unique to K-12, and caused a temporal disaster that left the island uninhabited. In 2010, an American military team is sent to investigate an enormous radiation spike spotted by satellite coming from the island...

Emerging from the wrecked helicopter damaged by a mysterious energy pulse, the protagonist, Captain Nathan Renko, makes his way across Katorga-12, trying to find survivors from his team. He discovers the ramparts of a dilapidated Soviet research center. Upon entering he is caught up in a temporal disturbance that alters the present in very definite ways. Untangling the web of alternate history will involve tampering with the past, with the help of a mysterious agent named Kathryn, and a dead scientist named Barisov, creator of the TMD (Time Manipulation Device).

The TMD is the kind of gadget I dreamt of in grade school, and it works in-game as both puzzle mechanic and instant eye-candy whenever you choose to temporally age or renew an object. Larger set pieces involving the TMD are frenetic and noisy animated sequences of electric arc, metal and wooden elements slapping violently back into familiar shapes. One in particular took me back to the feeling of wonder I felt the first time I read the story of the USS Eldridge (aka “the Philadelphia Experiment”). I really felt the design department nailed the retro Cold War science motif. Everything is vacuum tubes and Tesla coils, and the alternate present Soviet soldiers weaponry and uniforms sport a bubbly yet streamlined 1950s futurist look. The look makes sense.

Time travel aside, Singularity is a very functional, straightforward FPS that relies more on gory death animations than it does on tactical thinking. Shoot first, ask questions later, move to next objective, respawn ammo crates, etc. And for a change, I thought, the game just moves along. It doesn’t waste time with too much exposition and cut scenes, it just heads for it’s climax, and pushes you to play in gonzo fashion. It’s a six hour game that takes six hours, no more, no less. It’s just right. There’s doom in the air from start to finish, and I loved that. The story stayed simple and brief, and didn’t compromise itself with game stretching design. There’s no backtracking through levels, no recycled enemies, or bosses. I found Singularity dark, brooding, tightly put together and self-consistent in its detail. It didn’t waste anything. Especially my time. I’d classify it as a misunderstood FPS/Adventure gem of 2010.

Score: 8.0 out of 10


Disclosures: Game was purchased from Amazon.com for PS3. Completed twice, in Standard difficulty, and Easy. Approximately 12 hours was devoted to single-player modes.
Parents: Gore, fairly bloody gun wound animations, removal of limbs etc. Some swearing, thematic elements include suicide. Would recommend for 17+
Hearing Impaired: No subtitles! (lame!) Screen flares/compass point when being attacked from behind. Boss battles have important targets highlighted.
Word Count:I said Singularity and Bioshock too many times, but I think it was totally worth it in a Final Fantasy XIII kindof way
__________________

Last edited by RandomRob; 02-21-2011 at 10:48 PM.
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Old 02-22-2011, 12:54 AM   #19
Richard Naik
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Re: Please Rate This Review: Singularity 2nd Opinion

Hey Rob-did you get my message last night?
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Old 02-22-2011, 09:02 AM   #20
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Re: Please Rate This Review: Singularity 2nd Opinion

the Twitter response to my msg? Yeah
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Old 03-07-2011, 11:13 AM   #21
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Arrow Re: Please Rate This Review: Singularity 2nd Opinion

OK, Richard- I think I've got this fixed now with your expert help, and made the case regarding continuity that I feel is honest, and sells the review. let me know what you think.


Singularity 2nd Opinion

A Present from Uncle Joe

HIGH Raising “the Pearl”
LOW Running out of oxygen because I didn’t know to jam a door from the top
WTF Its 2010, is it too much to have the Russian characters speak Russian?


There’s a genre of sci-fi that includes tales like Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle”, Philip K. Dick’s “Second Variety” or Crichton’s “Jurassic Park”. The Pandora's Box fable that reminds us that there’s gleeful terror in the misuse of science.

Singularity is a member of that family. It’s a fast-paced, time travel nightmare. Juxtaposing a 1950s scientific disaster against a modern 'world gone wrong', it creates a brooding mood of unease that does not let up from the moment it starts.

We are introduced to Katorga-12, a frigid island off the eastern coast of the Soviet Union. We're told in 1955 two communist scientists experimented with E99, an unstable fissionable element unique to K-12, and caused a temporal disaster that left the island uninhabited. In 2010, an American military team is sent to investigate an enormous radiation spike spotted by satellite coming from the island...

Emerging from a wrecked helicopter damaged by a mysterious energy pulse, the protagonist, Captain Nathan Renko, makes his way across Katorga-12, trying to find survivors from his infiltration unit. He discovers the ramparts of a dilapidated Soviet research center. Upon entering he is caught up in a temporal disturbance that alters his present in very stark terms. Untangling the web of alternate history will involve tampering with the past, with the help of a mysterious agent named Kathryn, and a dead scientist named Barisov, creator of the TMD (Time Manipulation Device).

The TMD is the kind of gadget I dreamt of in grade school. Like the Spiderman web spinner; something that wraps around the wrist and can alter an objects age, fire out shock waves of temporal energy or static spheres of frozen time. Offensively, targets can be aged to death, (a crucial tactic against some of the games smaller swarming foes), and double-aged soldiers transform into ravening mutants who will attack your enemies, as long as you dont distract them by running. The Deadlock (the most powerful gadget in the game) can be used as a bottleneck against multiple foes, giving you time to make extra attacks or flee to safety.

The TMD also works into the games other mechanics, allowing you to restore depleted ammo and first aid crates, repair destroyed staircases and tape recorders, and reveal long-hidden messages. Though it's not changing typical FPS conventions, it at least lets you do something new with them. Renewing destroyed objects has a certain charm that you'll love or hate, and it's the essential selling point of Singularity for me.

Altering time on objects large and small in the game gave the island base a sense of depth, of history, that was critical in selling the story. Captain Renko witnesses the various incarnations of Katorga-12; the past, the present, the alternate present, the changed past. All these meta-states of the environment granted a strong continuity, and believable chains of cause and effect to the action. When I saw that making a change in 1955 carried over immediately to the current situation I was facing, even though it was scripted, it still created a feeling of narrative dynamism in the game that kept me invested, and was not overused. Nor did it reach a point of unintentionally comic dogpile with too many temporal threads that a narrator needed to step in and explain.

Time travel aside, Singularity is a functional, straightforward FPS that relies more on gory action than it does on tactical thinking. There are a few segments where you are tasked with defending the high ground, against waves of enemies who come at you from several directions. The sniper rifle with it's refillable bullet-time gauge or the Seeker rifle with its time bending bullets help with these more involved battles, but otherwsie, Singularity is a shoot them in their face and don't ask questions affair. If it's recycled in it's gameplay, it at least MOVES. It doesn’t waste time with exposition and cut scenes. It just heads for it’s climax, and pushes you to play in gonzo fashion. A six to eight hour game that takes six to eight hours to play. No more, no less. No game stretching design. No backtracking through levels, no recycled enemies or bosses.

I found Singularity dark, tightly put together and self-consistent in its retro-futuristic detail. It didn’t waste anything, especially my time. It's B-movie in scope, but A-list in execution. I’d classify it as a short and dirty FPS gem of 2010.

Score: 7.0 out of 10


Disclosures: Game was purchased from Amazon.com for PS3. Completed twice, in Standard difficulty, and Easy. Approximately 12 hours was devoted to single-player modes.
Parents: Gore, fairly bloody gun wound animations, removal of limbs etc. Some swearing, thematic elements include suicide. Would recommend for 17+
Hearing Impaired: No subtitles! (lame!) Screen flares/compass point when being attacked from behind. Boss battles have important targets highlighted.

Last edited by RandomRob; 03-07-2011 at 10:29 PM.
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Old 03-08-2011, 12:37 AM   #22
Richard Naik
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Re: Please Rate This Review: Singularity 2nd Opinion

Nice work Rob. Green light.
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Old 03-08-2011, 01:40 AM   #23
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Re: Please Rate This Review: Singularity 2nd Opinion

fifth time's a charm.
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Old 03-09-2011, 10:56 PM   #24
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Re: Please Rate This Review: Singularity 2nd Opinion

One more greenlight........
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Old 03-13-2011, 04:49 PM   #25
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Re: Please Rate This Review: Singularity 2nd Opinion

Green light from me.
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Old 03-13-2011, 11:03 PM   #26
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Re: Please Rate This Review: Singularity 2nd Opinion

Thanks Dale
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Old 03-19-2011, 01:39 PM   #27
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Re: Please Rate This Review: Singularity 2nd Opinion

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Old 03-26-2011, 11:46 PM   #28
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Re: Please Rate This Review: Singularity 2nd Opinion

Chi! Don't leave me hangin!
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Old 03-27-2011, 10:24 AM   #29
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Re: Please Rate This Review: Singularity 2nd Opinion

Submission posted.
http://www.gamecritics.com/guest-cri...second-opinion
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Old 03-27-2011, 10:33 AM   #30
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Re: Please Rate This Review: Singularity 2nd Opinion

Thanks guys! (runs off to FB to yell lookitmyreview everybody!)
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