feels like a much tighter attempt at what TimeShift
tried to do. Where the other game gave you a lot of freedom with your time manipulation powers and a way too helpful A.I., it resulted in a fairly easy game that had, what Starscream
refers to as an "I win" button. Instead, Singularity
gives you basic time controlling powers with the understanding that what you can use it on is limited to organic life, or objects imbued with the strange element E99.
You play as Captain Renko, who has been sent to this island by the US government on a recon mission to simply check it out. No real information is given about the island or why you are there, but it's pretty obvious the place has been abandoned for many years, not to mention completely disavowed by the Russian government. When an EMP blasts you and your team out of the sky, you find yourself one of the only survivors of your squad. To make matters worse, and stranger, bright flashes of light end up throwing you back in time to when the laboratories were on fire. Apparently, Captain Renko isn't too up on his science fiction since he is compelled to save a man while in the past, and when he is thrust back to 2010, there are some noticeable differences. For one, the island seems to have quite a few more menacing creatures on it now, and what used to be a decrepit tower is shooting up a pillar of energy into the sky.
You soon learn that your bit of heroism in the past resulted in the man you saved taking over the world with the strange experimental element that can only be found on Katorga-12. E99 not only offers a seemingly limitless supply of energy, but when properly used, can actually manipulate time. Now, of course, you mission is to set the timeline right, and to aid you in your journey is a woman from the dwindling rebellious movement who has, apparently, been waiting for you to show up for 50 years, and another Russian doctor who developed the device that you will use to manipulate time at will.
The Time Manipulation Device (TMD) starts off letting you do basic things like send a blast of energy out, and making certain objects older and newer. When aging something, they will decay and burn away, while hitting them with the TMD again will restore them to their original glory. This allows for interesting puzzles like having to destroy boxes to move them into position, and restore them to provided needed height, or forcing mutated plants out of your way or making them grow to make a path. What's also nice is the ability to age enemies and cause them to decay before your very eyes.
As Singularity's story progresses, you gain new powers and the ability to upgrade various basic stats on both your TMD and your normal weapons. While nowhere near an RPG, this bit of upgrade-mechanic really help to tailor the game to your personal gameplay style, and really adds a lot to the overall product.
Singularity's single player experience is a blast, and really deserves at least one play through, and while the game does offer multiplayer matches, there never seemed to be anyone online and ready to go. We will keep trying though, and if we can get a match going, we will report back on the experience. I can only hope the TMD will play a major part your abilities, and with several players being able to use the device, it can either be a fun experience, or an overwhelming one. What we do know is that the game offers two modes, Creatures vs. Humans and Extermination and lets you play with up to 12 players.