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Monday | September 24, 2018
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Singularity (PS3) – Preview

Singularity (PS3) – Preview


Raven Software have a busy 2009 ahead of them with big titles due for release such as X-Men Origins: Wolverine. One of the lesser known titles in their upcoming schedule is a game called Singularity which promises to differentiate itself from the crowd by offering a gun which can distort the time period of its targets. We spent some time with developer Raven Software and they were happy to show us some of the game code.

You take control of Nate Ranco an American test pilot who crash lands on a Russian Island. This island is home to a failed science experiment which sees the reality time plane fluctuating between 1950 and 2010. In the year 1950, the island is a military research facility filled with scientific researchers and soldiers. Between 1950 and 2010 however the Island was turned into a wasteland due to a cataclysmic disaster and all that is left are some aggressive soldiers with a desire to end your life. On top of that the vegetation on the planet has warped into an aggressive life force which proves to be extremely hostile.

Our time with Singularity started with Nate recovering from a subconscious state in a dilapidated alleyway. As his eyes sharpen into focus it is clear that it is raining and the water flows down the rusted building and hits the concrete floor. While the environment is graphically indicative of a soulless industrial age, the water and lightning effects are impressive and full of life … you are immediately aware that Nate is coming to grips with his surroundings due to his vision blurring several times as he attempts to focus on the objects in his vision. The high resolution textures are fantastically defined and the plantlife nearby is certainly not from the same time zone as the rest of the environment.

As Nate travels a short distance around a wall he is blocked by a gate which is locked. He equips the Time Manipulation Device (TMD), a large piece of equipment that can manipulate objects and the flow of time. The gate blocks the way to a metal barrel and by locking onto this object the TMD can lift them into the air and place them beside the gate. This is where the game gets interesting as the TMD can restore the barrel to its original brand new 1950 version. Changing weaponry to a standard gun means you can shoot the barrel and blow the gate to pieces.

This is a focal point of the gameplay mechanic, manipulating time to your desires and to travel back and forward to transverse locations otherwise impossible to reach. Getting to grips with the TMD is a fun experience as you can alter the environmental objects to cause some serious damage. For instance, we noticed two enemy soldiers walking along a metal catwalk high overhead … altering time on the catwalk meant that we could adjust time to the future and it rusted and collapsed, sending them to their death. The same principle was used later and we were able to corrode a sign overhead which then fell on the heads of more advancing soldiers. You can also use the gun on the soldiers to make them age, then turn to skeletons and finally dust. I was very impressed with the way the whole thing worked although we were told there was more work to be done before the final game was released.

While this TMD gun can reverse and advance time, it only works on smaller objects and more powerful weaponry is needed for other sections of the game. You can’t just run around the environment happily altering time and turning everyone into dust. By using the TMD to repair various broken pieces of an old time machine we were able to resurrect a sunken ship. This then rose out of the water and reappeared on the surface sending shock waves across the surface and fish into the air (which looked very cool).

As Nate began to explore the tanker ship we could hear all the sounds of contorting metal moving around us and it was explained to us that all these noises were the after effects of our time manipulations. Larger objects will not stay altered for long and they begin to revert to their previous states, which means in the case of the ship (that we were exploring) it was also falling apart around us. Nate also starts to notice ghost echos from the past which adds a horror surreal element to the environment and was very welcomed in such an eerie setting.

Later on I even noticed a huge chunk of metal torn out of the hull which was due to something large slamming into the ship. The detail on the ripped shards was very impressive and I felt that I could actually cut my hand on the pieces if I had reached into the screen. Eventually we find out that we have teleported into the ship just before it was sunk and a huge water monster was the cause. There are also little creatures called Phase Ticks which look a little like barnacles you would see on an ocean floor. They aren’t as friendly however and they work much in the way that a proximity mine would, if you walk too close they spray you with a pus like venom which destroys any living tissue. Using the TMD on the creatures leads to some creative ways to use them to your advantage … you can basically freeze them in time then move them into the way of enemy soldiers and cause serious damage.

Singularity also adds time shields into the mix and they can be dropped which sends out a forcefield shaped time bubble that you can move around to offer protection from enemy fire. These shields are useful and can keep you alive in tricky situations and I would be the first to say that without using them some parts of the game will be extremely difficult.

The highlight of the day was a boss fight with a gargantuan monster and Nate charged through a train trying to escape being killed by one of its truck sized arms. The creature just ripped through the steel carriages as if they were toys and finally we got to see its face when it ripped one of the ceilings off the train sections. A plethora of eyeballs covered the head and we were able to mount an attack on this weak spot with our array of firepower. While the battle was raging however you could see the creatures tentacles damaging the train and the bridge under it, leaving a good portion of the carriages slowly descending into the abyss below. I really would prefer not to mention the winning tactic in this preview but it was a great centerpiece for the day.

So we experienced time traveling guns, mutant monsters and ships being raised from the dead as well as ghosts and exploding life forms. Singularity is sure to be a game with many fresh and unique ideas and we just hope it translates into a playable and fun game as well. I am really excited about this one and before it is released GamingHeaven will have a full "hands on" review. Stay tuned !

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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