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Singularity - Xbox 360

On paper, "Singularity" is a fairly standard FPS with a quirky physics gimmick. However, the actual game is a little more interesting than that. The game is decent and reasonably fun, but not anything particularly outstanding.

In a lot of ways, Singularity is a normal First-Person Shooter. There's the standard assortment of FPS guns (pistol, assault rifle, shotgun, sniper rifle) and for the most part the combat is fairly standard. Singularity's specific gimmick is time control. In addition to a bunch of other powers, the protagonist has the power (imbued by a super-powerful techno-glove) to age or revert objects and people. Objects aged by this power become weakened and rusted; people affected by it instantly skeletonize as hundreds of years wash over their body.

This power can also be used to repair, as well - twisted, rusted old objects can be made new and useful again. Things like staircases, power boxes, and even ammo or supply boxes can be restored to working condition with this power. As the game goes along, new powers are unlocked like creating a time-slowing bubble to navigate dangerous obstacles. The logic of the power system is a little questionable sometimes - one puzzle in particular stands out, when time powers didn't work on a semi-closed shutter but did work on a box that was slid underneath said shutter, causing the box to pop up to a reconstructed state and open the shutter. This is the kind of reality the game is working with, so most of the puzzles are some level of "what am I allowed to affect and how can I use it".

The game also boasts a fairly in-depth upgrade system. Upgrades come in two varieties: weapon upgrades (increasing damage, reload speed, and so on) and personal/power upgrades (affecting the character's special abilities and statistics). Exploration is rewarded by blueprints, which are used to develop new upgrades, and "E-99", the mysterious element used to purchase those upgrades. In addition, hidden notes and messages provide further incentive for players to go off the beaten path whenever they can.

The game's enemies include monsters, soldiers, and mutants. The monsters and mutants are reasonably fun, and have their own power-based weaknesses and gimmicks. The soldiers, on the other hand, are kind of boring - gunfights are not the game's strong point. Still, there are a few cool scenes where you can use some new power or weapon to carve through an army of enemy soldiers that make it worth the trouble.

Singularity's graphics and design are acceptable, but largely forgettable. It's the same stream of generic monsters and ruined laboratories and faceless soldiers that populate every single FPS. It doesn't look bad, but it's hardly inspired, either. This defines a lot of Singularity's message - it's not unique, but it's not bad either. It's a safe game to pick up and assume you'll have fun with it, but you're not likely to be blown away by its quality, either. It's worth getting, at the very least, but there's not much more to say about it than that.

rating: 6/10

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