The One And Only: Singularity Out. Good?

By Kieron Gillen on June 28th, 2010 at 12:45 pm.

Clearsil doesn't always work.

It comes my attention via stimulation of my optic nerve by photons that Raven’s Singularity is out. Which means you can buy it. We’re expecting a copy shortly, so will be trying to Wot-i-think-it as soon as possible. Until then, I thought it would be well inside the friendly RPS tradition to create a post to show you a relatively recent trailer and provide a place to talk about your experiences. That is, your experiences with Singularity. Not generally speaking, though I dare say that prohibition isn’t going to stop you.

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81 Comments »

  1. Jimbo says:

    Singular!

  2. Digit says:

    There is just never enough time in the day really is there… unless…

  3. Oak says:

    I wonder what they’ll call the sequel.

    • disperse says:

      Duality?

    • TheBlackBandit says:

      I bet it would sadly be Singularity 2. Or, if we’re lucky, Singularity II.

    • Premium User Badge oceanclub says:

      S2ngular2ty

    • TheBlackBandit says:

      You know, I was going to make that joke, but I couldn’t work out where to reasonably put in 2s. I now realise that any semblance of reason when placing numbers like that is merely a disguise.

    • Chris says:

      Sin2ularity, with the 2 subscript. Boo-yah, take that English.

    • Jimbo says:

      I think it’s pretty obvious they’ll just make both of the ‘I’s massive and use them as roman numerals.

    • Pmeie says:

      DOUBLE SINGULARITY

  4. Tunips says:

    I hope this gets caught by the Steam sale. Sniper Ghost Warrior and the Arma 2 expansion should both also be out before it’s over.

    • godwin says:

      I hope so too, would love to pick up Operation Arrowhead, but I’m doubtful that new releases will go immediately on sale.

  5. fallingmagpie says:

    Singularlity? Is that a pun I haven’t got?

  6. lhzr says:

    good ? it’s great. oldschool and a ton of fun. if you liked the last wolfenstein, you’ll love this (also this doesn’t have any lame “open world” portions)

    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/singularity-review

  7. toni says:

    it was short but sweet. reminded me of bioshock (audio recordings, cartoon characters, loot w/o inventory) to wolfenstein (mainly the fonts and how much delay there is on animations, input registration, jumpheight) and CallOfDuty (reload animations, weapon switch + models) with a dose of Metro2033 thrown in. Well, it’s a lesser story with a choice at the end that gives you different endings (you can even reload and choose again), on the way there it’s typical HL2 physics/time-based puzzles, shooty-stuff and a few bosses. It’s old-school doom shooting with nice timeweapons that do not rely on slowmo. Played it on hard, pc port is rather easy diff on hard, there is no replay-value but it’s a competent shooter. Just nothing really amazing in terms of gameplay or story.
    time-bubble is seriously overpowered. don’t invest in any shooty-stuff, put all your resources into time-bubble.
    see, an enemy approaches: TIME BUBBLE TO THE RESCUE.
    see, a horde approaches: TIME BUBBLE TO THE RESCUE
    see, a time-based puzzle approaches: TIME BUBBLE TO THE RESCUE
    see, a boss approaches: TIME BUBBLE TO THE RESCUE
    I only use weapons AFTER I activated the time-bubble, so it’s unimportant which ones you upgrade.

    also many, many, many CRATES that explode. They can be fun against all odds :)

    • Tarqon says:

      Not a good Start to Crate rating then? :(

    • Phoshi says:

      Screw the StC rating, you technically meet a crate both within the first minute and long before you were born.

    • Gentacle says:

      Not only that but there’s a puzzle where you go back in time just to get a crate.

  8. Kazang says:

    This is the first single player shooter in a few years to get me genuinely excited and I hope it has realised it’s potential.

  9. Optimaximal says:

    Apparently, there is a major problem with the UE3 texture streaming (far worse than, say, Mass Effects problem on the 360) that can only be solved via Hex editing because some genius saw fit to encrypt all the ini files inside a .bin.

    Ergo, your mileage may vary…

    • Toby says:

      The texture pop in is occasionally annoying and I wouldve rather it not happened, but I wouldnt say its an issue to affect a buy. The game looks really good for the most part and ran smooth as butter on my system (which is decent but not top of the line).

      Really depends how much of a foot stamping infant one is about arguably minor graphical issues. Forums can give a skewed impression of this kind of thing, I feel.

    • lhzr says:

      how much people can be foot stamping infants ? just look a few posts below

      anyway, i’ve been playing without this fix and i love what i’ve seen so far of the game.

    • NAJoe says:

      Not to be too nit-picky but this is something that I’ve seen a few times lately. Just because a config file isn’t in plain text doesn’t mean it’s encrypted. It is likely just binary (as opposed to ASCII) data, which the .BIN extension indicates. Also, if it was encrypted then using a hex editor to change a few bytes wouldn’t work.

    • MultiVaC says:

      From what I’ve heard, the texture streaming is a MUCH bigger issue here than what we’re used to. As in, you can be running around a level for a good few minutes with the entire thing being a blobby mess until the the textures stream in. It’s not like BioShock where a few textures will pop in after a couple seconds; it’s the whole level, and it’s literally minutes before the textures come in. It’s completely broken, they obviously didn’t intend for this to happen. And apparently it can fixed with a hex editor, so the only reason this problem exists is sheer incompetence and terrible QA. Plus, they’ve made the .ini files inaccessible for no apparent reason, so things like this that could be fixed by an easy tweak for users becomes a real hassle.

  10. Baka says:

    A lot of cool and funny gadgets, diversified gameplay (in the boundaries you can expect from a Raven Software Game), satisfying shooting and typical B-Movie-Storyline made this game very enjoyable.

    Only caveat is the huge texturestreaming problem most of the players experienced. There’s a manual ( http://forums.dearwandy.com/viewtopic.php?id=30090 ) and automated ( http://www.playwrite-blog.net/tools-and-utilities/singularity-texture-patch/ ) fix for that tho.
    Didn’t test the automated one myself – pretty huge oversight from the betatesters, this problem.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      I’m fairly certain they only tested it on consoles and that this is an astonishingly hasty and shit port to PC to rake in free cash.

      Christ, do Raven really just want to sabotage absolutely every ounce of goodwill they generate? Way to drop the ball. :/

  11. WTF says:

    Err… for those considering this, don’t! It is an appalling game in just about every respect. Graphics are remarkably dated, you cannot change the refresh setting so are locked into a tiny, console friendly, tunnel view that drove me insane and it could not be more generic and dull in its gameplay if it tried.

    Astonishingly poor show from Raven…

    • Tarqon says:

      Field of view and refresh rate are not the same thing.

    • WTF says:

      Of course they are not – my post was unclear and way to nitpick…jeez…

      BOTH FOV and refresh are locked – okay? happy?

  12. Azhrarn says:

    I have to disagree with WTF on this. .
    Yes it feels like a console port from the get-go, however the story is interesting enough (I haven’t finished it yet, been playing 4-5 hours so far), the puzzles are interesting enough combining your time manipulation and physics stuff quite nicely.

    The graphics certainly aren’t bad (atleast not on a ATI 5870), although there is an odd bug where textures suddenly start loading in the lowest quality available, although a reload fixes it without fail.

    My biggest gripe with the game is the lack of save-games. It only saves on checkpoints and there’s no quick-save/quick-load option either.

    The game is mediocre perhaps, but not bad by any means.

    • Aganazer says:

      Checkpoint saves?! Okay I’m out. That puts my budget for this game right down to $4.95. C’mon Steam!

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Dumbed-down games bad, abusing quick-saves good.

    • Premium User Badge oceanclub says:

      I thought that the checkpoints in Wolfenstein were very well done (ie, not very far between them) so I’m hope Singularity is similar. Wolfenstein was another generic fun shooter that was underappreciated, I thought.

      P.

    • Premium User Badge Chaz says:

      I spent a couple of hours playing it a mates PC today and thought it was quite good. Nothing particularly new or original but very Raven. Some good puzzles in there, but nothing that will blow your mind. I don’t know what WTF is moaning about, it all looked very nice on my mates widescreen Dell monitor.

    • Urthman says:

      Dumbed-down games bad, abusing quick-saves good.

      Dumb games with a particularly stupid section that you have to try 8 times to get through it and watch an unskippable 2 minute cutscene that was painfully bad the first time each time before laboriously plowing through a 5 minute easy-but-not-that-fun section until you get to the hard bit and die and try the whole thing again. = Bad.

      Quick saves so you only have to replay the hard part = good.

      “Abusing” quicksaves = choosing yourself whether the quicksave is ruining your fun or making the game more fun.

      No quicksaves = the developer chooses whether you have fun or not. Too often, it’s not.

    • neofit says:

      Thanks for the heads up about the lack of a proper save-anywhere feature. Another lost sale for them.

  13. MrTambourineMan says:

    Like others have said – it’s a fun mix between Bioshock and Wolfenstein, the best thing to come out of Raven in years. The biggest problem being that it’s really really really short (I’m talking 5 hours tops on medium difficulty).

  14. Lewis says:

    I thought it was absolutely brilliant. Enjoyed it substantially more than BioShock 2, certainly.

    • lhzr says:

      i agree. bio2 was a complete bore, couldn’t make myself finish it. this is a ton of fun, at least as far as i’ve got.

  15. Phoshi says:

    I really enjoyed it. It didn’t take itself too seriously, had very few “This is stupid” moments (More accurately, it had 2. That time where you’re attacked by 23,000 little bugs and have no time to think before you’re dead, and the giant spider thing on the train where the screen shakes SO MUCH

    Apart from that, really very entertaining game. Needed more huge battles where a fully upgraded deadlock wasn’t a win button.

    • Phoshi says:

      But yes, far too short. The story was very, very light, but was interesting and suitably time travelly. It had a moral choice, even, but it was another “Help jesus save the homeless!” vs “Help hitler enslave the planet!”, with an additional “become hitler for some reason” option thrown in there with no foreshadowing at all.

    • Chris says:

      The shaking is actually you quaking in your tiny little girlie booties.

  16. Leperous says:

    How ageist of it to not accept my (totally accurate) birth date of 1st January 1900. I don’t have this problem with Gametrailers!

  17. Kits says:

    I rather enjoyed it myself. The time alteration might be a bit gimmicky at times (though at others it’s really cleverly used), but it was fun to play about with and a nice addition to the weapons in combat.
    As for the plot, I quite enjoyed it, but then I might be biased, since I love stuff dealing with time travel and the effects it has on the world.
    And finally, playing on 1600×900, at max settings, sure, I ran into the texture issues maybe three or four times throughout the games, but it was only ever in a small area. I just carried on past it and it was fine again. Aside from that it’s a really good looking game, if a little dark and gritty.

  18. Rath says:

    Seeing as its’ from Raven, does it carry their hallmark of having overly complicated looking crate designs?

    • Lewis says:

      Over-complicated and time-shifting.

    • Rath says:

      So eventually the wood, metal, buckles and straps and tarpaulin covered Nazi crates become the ludicrous multi-coloured blinking light and haphazardly placed control panels crates from Jedi Academy, Jedi Outcast, Elite Force, Elite Force 2 and Quake 4?

  19. Premium User Badge Wisq says:

    @Kieron: Article header image is 404 … ?

  20. Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

    Y’know, I met this girl…I took her to see India! I mean a cricket match against India. She kept calling Indian players negroes…and then she went to the bathroom to makeup her nose or something…she’ve never came back. She still has got my wallet, thou!

    Or did you want something this-particular-game-related?

  21. Zorba says:

    Struck me as yet another game with a Game-Mechanic Gun but I might give it a shot.

  22. Premium User Badge Eric says:

    I’m mildly curious to check it out, but Steam is telling me the PC version isn’t out yet. When and if a demo hits, I’ll look forward to trying it.

  23. Ravenger says:

    I really liked Wolfenstein after picking it up cheap recently. I’ll likely pick this one up cheap once the texture issues have been officially fixed.

  24. enzoke says:

    Its quite an entertaining linear shooter romp and one of Raven’s better recent games. While the time powers weren’t used in incredibly unique ways, they were still very useful and often necessary for survival in many firefights and they were not at all as gimmicky as I imagined.

    Some of the weapons are simply AWESOME in this game (outside of the usual assault rifle, shotgun, sniper tri-force). The Dethex launcher is just pure win – its primary fire is just a normal fuse grenade launch but the alternate fire plops out this rolling bomb ball which you can remote control and explode like a glowy morph-ball of death (the ball is still visible behind objects so you can guide it around enemy cover!)
    I also like the fact that the minigun is treated as a standard gun with regular ammo drops rather than a ‘drain clip and throw away’ heavy weapon.

    There were occasionally some huge texture streaming issues which were much longer than other UE3 games (sometimes up to two minutes) but a reload seemed to fix it.

  25. Pinky says:

    This game seems to be flying completely under the radar. Yes I know about it but only because I’m an internet nerd who reads gaming sites. Activision are publishing, yes? Has their advertising budget for the year ran out already?

    I do think it looks very, very fun which is pretty much all I care about. I had my fill of stodge when I completed the single player of Bad Company 2, though thankfully that was mercifully less stodgy than the single player campain of Modern Warfare 2. Though I still (rather sadly) finished it.

    If Mr Bramwell is enjoys then I reckon it’s definitely worth a punt, though if I can get it cheaper than full price that would be great.

    • Dominic White says:

      I’ve heard rumblings that Activision are trying to kill Raven off, although via means not quite as cataclysmically reputation-destroying as their decapitation and dissection of Infinity Ward.

    • Baka says:

      But, but… why would they do that? :(

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Maybe someone higher up noticed they’ve been living off their reputation since Hexen II?

    • Samuel Bass says:

      Heretic II was lovely. Just saying.

    • Ozzie says:

      I agree with Samuel. Love Heretic II!

  26. Davie says:

    Urgh…I loaded this page while eating breakfast, and I have to say the fellows in the image kind of put me off my appetite. Thanks for making my morning, RPS.

    • YogSo says:

      A personal experience that is somehow related to the game. You win the thread!

  27. Sev says:

    …did you try looking around the game’s files? There’s almost always a way to change things like FOV and other locked options from the directory. It’s pretty handy to know how to do, in fact.

    • Ravenger says:

      All the game’s options are compiled into a binary file, which while it may not be encrypted, it’s not easy to modify without a hex editor, plus you have to modify the executable to change a checksum if you do modify the config file.

      So it’s not easy to change the FOV. I don’t think anyone’s managed it yet.

    • Phinor says:

      And this is why I’m skipping Singularity. I could accept releasing a PC game with unplayable(*) FOV if and only if I could easily fix it. But why would they deny us the opportunity to tweak simple ini files? How do you even release a PC shooter with an unplayable FOV? I just don’t understand.

      *Your tolerance towards FOV may vary. To me, games are unplayable with console FOV.

  28. Premium User Badge Lambchops says:

    Judging by the Eurogamer review I sense this is a fine candidate for picking up in a Steam sale a couple of months down the line. I’m in favour of a good fun, simple shooter every now and again.

  29. Navagon says:

    Not surprising seeing Raven behind this one. Looks like it heavily recycles Wolfenstein which in turn looked like deja vu central from SO many games. Some neat ideas here, but all borrowed from other titles.

    Subsequently it’s not the kind of game I’m going to be spending any real money on. When it’s cheap it might pique my interest though as it seems like a pretty solid combination of other people’s ideas. Shame Raven never really have had any of their own as they’re pretty competent otherwise.

  30. Dr_Ham says:

    The biggest problem I had with this game was the distribution of ammo. There were whole sections of the game, where the only available ammo was for the shotgun, and if you had taken other weapons, just bad luck for you… Not ideal.

    Other than that, reasonably fun. Stasis bubbles + shotgun + heads = fun

  31. Mechtroid says:

    Been trying to ask a girl out for 2 weeks now. Still haven’t worked up the courage, despite my singular focus.

  32. WTF says:

    The save games are awful (not just checkpoints but poorly placed) but the main issue is the field of view. I simply refuse to play a game, particularly an ugly and unoriginal one, through a tiny, zoomed in porthole. This nonsense is just unacceptable and I for one am sick and bloody tired of it.

    (Oh and there are no way to change the FOV via configs as of yet – but even if there was the game is simply too dull to be worth it…)

    • WTF says:

      Bugger – should have been a reply to Azhram – oh well.#
      Oh and @oceanclub – I agree that the save points in Wolfenstein were great – this games saves are not…

  33. Momo The Cow says:

    at least they *had* your birth year, young’un.

    Who said what?

  34. Momo The Cow says:

    at least they *had* your birth year, young’un.

    Who said what?

  35. Merc says:

    “Singularity sucks!”
    Oh really? Well I guess Singularity…

    *puts on sunglasses*

    …embraced eternity.

    (lolcrossreference)

  36. Roguemonkey says:

    Uh oh, call the doctor. Grandpa’s started repeating himself again.

  37. DarkFenix says:

    It’s a really fun game, but it’s really, REALLY short (ie. I completed it in one sitting with no trouble). I’d recommend picking it up, but I’d not recommend picking it up at full price now.

    As far as being a shooter goes, it presses all the right buttons. The weapons are satisfying (and a couple are outright fucking awesome) and while the upgrade system is very shallow, it gets the job done. The time manipulation powers are well implemented (if overpowered, but who cares, it’s singleplayer) and mesh well with the rest of the game. The enemies generally strike the right chord too, with the exception of the little bloody kamikaze bugs that come from everywhere with no warning.

  38. Jayerandom says:

    So, how’s the multiplayer?

  39. NunianVonFuch says:

    Singularity: The Undefined Variable.
    Also if we consider the name to be a mathematical function, then Singularity is itself a mathematical singularity when solved to 2 or above. :-)

  40. p1ut0nium says:

    Game is professionally done, but come on guys. How many shooters with a face-lift does it take before you get sick of them? Ooh, in this one you fight mutants, and you’re a marine. In this one you fight nazis, and you’re a ranger. In this one you fight demons, and you’re a space marine. In this one you fight X and your a X. My God. Maybe I’m just old and jaded, but if I see YAS (yet another shooter) and everyone yelling like its the best game they’ve ever seen, well, I’m just going to lose all faith in mankind. Why do they keep releasing these things, and they give them the best reviews? At some point, these reviewers need to be just like – ok – great work guys, but if we wanted to run around and shoot demons/mutants/zombies/or whatever, we could go play one of the hundreds of other shooters already made.

    Please, more sci-fi shooters. The one I’m playing now is getting old. I just bought it, but already I feel the need for a new one, with slightly better graphics, and a slightly different story, and slightly different monsters to fight.

    I know I’ll be pissed on for saying this, but it needs to be said.

  41. your evil twin says:

    For anyone playing on PC, and using a normal retail version rather than Steam version, there is an unofficial patch to fix the low-res texture streaming issue. http://www.playwrite-blog.net/tools-and-utilities/singularity-texture-patch/ Also, changing the executable name from Singularity.exe to UT3.exe or BiAHH.exe (Brothers in Arms Hells Highway) will let you force antialising with your graphics card control panel without such a big performance hit.

    Neither the texture streaming or executable name-changing fixes work with Steam version though, Steam will notice the game has been changed and complain. If you have Steam version you’ll just have to wait for official patch.

    I loved he game. I used to write for Planet Half-Life, and Singularity felt like the best, most polished Half-Life mod ever made. (And yes, I’d happily pay money for the best Half-Life mod ever made.)

    You know that Black Mesa mod, the Half-Life 2 mod that’s a remake of Half-Life 1 that everyone has been looking forward to for years? Well Singularity is another example of what Half-Life 1 would be like if made with today’s technology. It’s essentially Half-Life 1 in Russia, and with rifts in time rather than a rift to another dimension. It felt like a perfect blend of “old skool” and modern features. And I found the time travel story twists quite interesting. People have also complained about the fake Russian voice acting, but to me the voices didn’t seem any worse than STALKER or Metro 2033.

    And the endings… yeah, one was the silly evil ending, which obviously you choose just to be an arsehole. (And they did make it pretty badass.) Then there was the “good” ending, which was surprisingly neither a happy ending nor a depressing ending. And the third ending… that seemed quite reasonable too – “Screw you guys, neither of you know what you’re talking about, I’m not listening to either of you!”

    I’m surprised at everyone saying it is so short, like 5 or 6 hours. It took me about 12. Perhaps the people finishing it in 5 or 6 hours just headed for the obvious route through the level without exploring.

    There are loads of stuff off the beaten path, extra rooms and vents and doors that need to be wedged open by time-shifting crates and stuff… lots of hidden E99 Tech Upgrades, Weapon Upgrades, health and ammo, audio recordings, video recordings or projectors, paper notes, chalkboards and messages scrawled on walls (that you need to de-age to read). When exploring an abandoned office building, practically every derelict office will have something of interest, like a notice on a desk, or some E99 tech in a corner, or something scrawled on a wall.

    That’s why the developers went with a health bar and health packs rather than regenerating health, to encourage you to carefully scavenge through the levels rather than running through them.

    Unfortunately, if you actually do carefully explore and find all the upgrades and ammo and health packs… then the game becomes ridiculously easy, because in the middle of the game you can have your impulse and deadlock (freeze time) powers fully upgraded and increase your health bar and energy bar substantially, and have several guns with damage upgraded to maximum.

    Don’t choose the “Scientist” upgrade that makes it so that you sometimes pick up twice as much E99 tech… I ended up with an excess of 90,000 E99 tech! You have to sacrifice a combat perk to use Scientist, and it’s really useful in the middle of the game, but in the latter half it ends up breaking the game.

    I am now replaying the game in hard mode, and even though I’m on PC I’m now playing it with Xbox 360 Controller for Windows, to make it even harder. In hard mode, a monster can wipe out half your health bar with one single melee attack… suddenly the ability to freeze enemies in time bubbles doesn’t seem so overpowered! :D