Wot I Think: Singularity

By John Walker on July 8th, 2010 at 2:44 pm.

There's only one of them.

Raven’s Singularity is now available. I’ve manipulated my time such that I’ve played it from beginning to end, in that order, and can now tell you Wot I Think.

If I had a magical time glove, do you know what I’d do? Eh? Eh? I’d go back to the beginning of the Singularity’s development and tell the developers all the mistakes they were going to make!

No, this is a lie. Not only because I’d think of far better things to do with such a tool, but because that’s not how it works. It’s a tool that can only manipulate objects that are infused with E99, a compound discovered by Russian scientists in the 1950s, that leads to the timeline getting all confused, such that the Russians are tyrannically ruling the modern world. Well, that won’t do, so it’s up to you to put on the glove and put right what once went wrong.

The result is a corridor shooter. Which, by genre, is a good thing. Can we please end this nonsense about there being something wrong with being a corridor shooter – they’re great. It’s like complaining that a new RTS is just yet another game showing the armies from above. The question is, is it a good corridor shooter. And the answer is: it’s complicated.

The story is loud and wobbly, but in the end completely irrelevant to your experience of playing. You travel back and forth between the present day degrading Russian island, and the 1950s period during which the E99 incidents began. But you don’t choose to – that’s all scripted for you. What you can choose to do is move E99-enthused objects through time. A barrel from the 1950s might be old and crumpled now, so zap it and it’ll be like new. New enough to pick it up and throw it explosively at the enemies.

The other major impact time has upon you is the nature of those enemies. Soldiers of the 50s are horribly mutated by the chemical into mutant creatures, meaning there’s a lot of variety in enemy.

Time echoes all over the place, meaning you’ll see strange ghostly manifestations of the past in the present, which sometimes results in creatures reappearing in the present day, other times just filling in the plot as you plough through. And plough through you will.

Variety really does seem to be the central theme. You’ve got a big pile of guns, two of which can be carried at any time. These can then be augmented with various weaponry updates, improving their damage, clip size and accuracy. Then your time glove, not only able to move inert objects through time, can take organic E99-infectees into their decomposed futures. Or you can fire a burst of energy at them that might evaporate them inside their skins. Or the glove works as a gravity gun, letting you throw chairs and boxes at them. How you go about fighting depends on the rations of ammo and energy. The glove keeps on giving – later it can create a time-slowing orb in which you can trap enemies, and later still will let you turn humans into mutants, so they turn on their fellow men.

Augmentation doesn’t stop at weapons. You can improve yourself through lots of different bonuses, letting you improve your speed, defences, attacks, and various tweaks to your skills and capacity. And the glove itself is constantly updated with new abilities.

Singularity throws a lot at you, very quickly.

For the first couple of hours, this seems a lot of fun. It’s a traditional shooter, but the time manipulation implies a lot of fun to be had. It’s very satisfying to see a collapsed staircase and restore it with a zap. It’s fun watching the pieces slot back together. But, well, that’s about it. Early on you’ll find and old collapsed crate, and a descending door too low to crawl under. So you put the crate in the gap, then restore it. That pushes the door up, and you’re through! So what other time-manipulating puzzles can we expect? Er, none. That’s the only one they seemed to think of, repeated throughout the game. There’s some stuff moving stairs out the way, but nothing else that imaginatively uses the glove for completing tasks.

However, the larger issue isn’t the lack of imagination. It’s the lack of balance. The middle portion of the game is by far the hardest bit, the final third a complete synch. For mad reasons, the middle section gives you nowhere near enough ammo, scatters its checkpoints unbelievably stupidly, and throws volumes of mutant enemies at you in ludicrous packs. Oh, and it features the ticks.

The ticks are scuttling bugs with explosive backs, that charge toward you in suicidal swarms, detonating themselves when they reach you. Clearly all small bug creatures in all games always suck harder than a black hole drinking a McDonald’s milkshake, and these underline the rule. Just a couple of them exploding can be enough to kill you, and they often charge at you from behind. Brilliant! Fighting off a large number of them is tedious, a massive waste of energy or bullets, and as much fun as the fly that keeps buzzing in my face as I write this. Both have been very loudly told to go away with some rather rude words.

This is also the section that contains both the boss fights. Neither is particularly difficult, but both is completely incongruous to the whole game. Suddenly you’re shooting at the orange glowing sections of a big wobbly creature, as if playing a 1990s Nintendo game. Damn time glove, always messing up.

The checkpointing seems to have been designed by someone wanting to lecture on why bad checkpointing can be so ruinous, and needing an exaggerated example of how to do it badly. Immediately before a cutscene? Absolutely. Before the room with all the machines for purchasing upgrades? Of course! None for a long stretch of extremely treacherous scenes, each involving some sort of set-piece? You betcha. Again, by the final third this improves, although things get so simple you rarely need them.

Then the niggles pile in. You know how most games let you jump into a crawl space? Singularity lets you skip this by the simple process of having to find a crate somewhere, manipulate it to the modern day, then put it in front of the hole, to get in. Thanks! You can sprint for about three seconds. The audio settings are so daft you can’t push voices higher than background noise, and as such most of the endless nattering is lost to the ambience. And for a game that’s about manipulating time, you can’t flipping skip the cutscenes.

As I mentioned, the final third is peculiarly easy. Suddenly you’re spammed with ammo, upgrades, etc, surely building you up for a dramatic finish? Except, no. The game, while visually larger and more dramatic, fizzles in challenge. There’s no final dramatic boss. There’s no epic battle for which all this sudden help is needed. In fact, there’s a very, very weak attempt at a multiple choice ending that falls out of the sky with no anticipation.

It’s obvious that that Raven have tried to evoke other games in their development. The colour palette and attempt to tell story is very BioShock, while the combat and nod toward using cover (there’s no actual option to take cover) says thank you to Halo. And that storytelling does require a short piece of mocking.

The tale, for what it is, is voluminous, but strangely hard to engage with. The Russians, they sure created the E99 devices, bombs, experiments… And we’re sure going to get told about them, an awful lot. This is sometimes in the form of time echoes, but mostly in that ever-endearing and completely daft system of individuals scattering a city with chronological diary entries, and reel-to-reel recordings of their thoughts. But here there isn’t a larger point being made, no narrative trick. It’s purely the story madly scattered throughout, and it’s so stark as to make me giggle.

An attempt to create an Alyx-alike also falls rather embarrassingly short. She accompanies you here and there, and is as nicely animated, but has no discernible personality on the occasions you can hear her above the background noise.

Singularity does no favours for my argument about there being nothing wrong with a corridor shooter. It seems to systematically try to make every mistake with which the genre is synonymous. None of this makes it a bad game by any stretch, and any time you’re fighting the soldiers there’s a lot of fun to be had. Fighting the mutants is much more of a slog, and the inclusion of the ticks was wanton stupidity. But overall it feels like a muddle. Even the graphics feel muddled, varying from beautiful scenes to environments with textures that look like they’re from the 80s.

It begins well, it ends too easily, and it drags frustratingly in the middle. But the biggest crime is the lack of imaginative ways to manipulate time. On most occasions anything impressive you do is foisted upon you. And there’s such a troubling lack of variation in the tricks for progression that at one point I wondered if I was playing an earlier level a second time. Perhaps a time-manipulation joke. Sadly the wit behind the game doesn’t extend to that either – it was simple repetitive.

I think what you get out of Singularity may, like BioShock as it happens, depend a lot upon how you approach it. Battles can mostly be easily finished with the regular weapons. But be imaginative, using objects in the environment (explosive barrels of course, but also canisters of liquid nitrogen for shattering fun), and play with the glove’s abilities, and you can create more interesting situations. You don’t need to, but you’ll likely have more fun along the way if you do.

Take the core ideas here, strip out vast amounts of the fuss and noise, and focus on a more puzzle-centric approach, and Singularity could have been a quirky classic. As it is, it’s yet another corridor shooter to add to the pile of decent enough corridor shooters.

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84 Comments »

  1. Ian says:

    Man, everybody KNOWS that when the game plies you with ammo after x hours that means you’re about to face the final boss.

    To then not have one… I can’t decide if that’s a bit of a dick move or not. :-P

  2. Xercies says:

    “Clearly all small bug creatures in all games always suck harder than a black hole drinking a McDonald’s milkshake”

    Best…Joke…Ever

  3. ikmnbfox says:

    With a line like “I think what you get out of Singularity may… depend a lot upon how you approach it. …But be imaginative, using objects in the environment, and play with the glove’s abilities, and you can create more interesting situations. You don’t need to, but you’ll likely have more fun along the way if you do.” I will be very very VERY disturbed if some anti-Crysis gamers lauding this game with even a minuscule of praise for combat.

    Because that would be wrong. And hypocritical. And make me want to investigate your RealID from your Bnet account so I can slap you in the face.

    That said, I will be playing singularity because I love games that give you many tools to use creatively. That’s because I am creative, and enjoyed Crysis.

    • D says:

      If you like this game that I liked, you’re not allowed to not like another game that I also liked!

    • sana says:

      I will make stupid, unnecessary remarks because all the cool commenters at RPS do!

    • broklynite says:

      I will assume you are female, then ignore the point of the post, thread, and any other comments by making a nasty sexist remark, followed by requesting revealing photographs of yourself, your mother, your sister, and possibly one of your pets.

    • Oddtwang says:

      All comments must be necessary. NECESSARY!

    • jeremypeel says:

      Necessary? Is it necessary for me to drink my own urine?

    • broklynite says:

      No! But I do it anyway ’cause it’s sterile and I like the taste.

  4. Lambchops says:

    i’ve put this on my list of things to pick up when they cost a fiver along with Metro 2033. Sounds a fuan enough diversion but not worth full asking price.

  5. Mr Chug says:

    When I first heard about Singularity, I thought it would be Portal: But With Time Manipulation. And I was excited. To hear it’s not only shooter focused, but also not even really bothered with puzzles at all is downright depressing.

  6. Ubiquitous says:

    I too played Singularity, and I have to say that I agree completely. Especially the bits about the damn splodey tick bugs and the damn checkpoints. These are two of my biggest pet peeves of the genre honestly. The bugs instantly reminded me of that horrible, awful, sadistic part of Metro 2033 where you had to slog through a bagillion splodey brain ball things.

    *sigh*

    developers… do you never learn?

  7. Jayt says:

    Couldn’t one make the argument that HL2′s mid game was harder then the end game?

    • will says:

      At least in HL2 there was a reason why the end was easier.

      Because your gravity gun was infused with GODS POWER!

    • Bret says:

      Or at least SCIENCE power.

      Good either way.

  8. monkeybreadman says:

    Steam sale here we come

  9. Drexer says:

    Still not available in Portugal.

    Raven. I. Will. Kill. You.

    PS: Nice review, even though I still want to experience it for myself.

  10. John Walker says:

    No, you’re right. I’ll fix it when I’m not on my iPhone.

  11. Freud says:

    How many hours from start to finish?

  12. mandrill says:

    I played it, it was fun but nothing as groundbreaking as the premise might suggest.

    For the Developer Do’s and Don’ts list: DO NOT add pointless aliens/bugs which are extremely irritating and difficult to kill but do insane amounts of damage (A ‘la the flood in Halo, or the ticks in Singularity) They only piss people off.

    I almost gave up when I first encountered the bugs in Singularity, The trick is to used the time slowing shpere things liberally and your impulse attack sparingly, with the occasional time warp of a bug thrown in.

    I’ll say this about the game, visually (ecept for the bits where the textures are lo-res, patch for this on the way apprently) its stunning. I enjoyed the scenery immensely.

    • Sobric says:

      Y’know the weird thing is I don’t think that it should be a rule that absolutely no annoying enemies should exist in shooters. Well implemented ones (like Singularity’s ones clearly aren’t) can do wonders for my memories of a game.

      In Halo, for example, the level were you slog through Flood while guided by the bot thing is probably the only level I remember well (other than the beach landing one). I didn’t particularly enjoy it at the time, but the sense of terror/frustration while playing was easily matched by the satisfaction of completing it.

      HL2 does it well with Ravenholm for example. I really hated it at the time, mainly for those fucking poison zombies, but finishing it was a magnificent feeling (slightly marred by having to go through the mine for a bit).

      Err, so to conclude: Done well, annoying/frustrating enemies can heighten relief/satisfaction in successive moments. Doesn’t sound like Singularity does though *boo* *hiss*

    • D says:

      @Sobric. Counterpoint – that level of Halo was the point I could not get past. I actually liked the idea well enough, but it was just impossible for me to avoid all the splody ones and after what must have been fifty tries I never returned. I think the problem with annoying enemies is when they make player progression dependent on chance. I can agree that frustration is a good thing occasionally, but not if it comes from lack of control.

  13. Jayt says:

    Synch looked right to me…

  14. Azhrarn says:

    For me the bug thingies were a minor annoyance, there’s exactly 1 location where their numbers are a problem and you can vastly reduce the spawn by destroying the “eyes” growing out of the walls everywhere with the TMD. There will still be a lot, but the numbers will be more managable.
    Aging a tick so it attacks it’s fellows works pretty well. Upgrading Impulse is probably the best thing to do, as it vaporises them rather nicely, but the range is pretty short, so timing is everything. Deadlock can help here though.

    Beyond that, I quite enjoyed Singularity, and to be honest never noticed the lack of ammunition in the middle section of the game, did I perhaps miss something? I generally had plenty of ammo for my Autocannon or shotgun, especially since you can buy shells from the upgrade machines and E-99 tech objects are quite plentiful throughout the game.

    The Ending was rather lacklustre, with a cliched “saint/demon” split.
    And I agree that the latter third or so of the game was laughably easy, more ammo/health and E-99 than you can shake a stick at and thanks to your upgrades almost nothing can hurt you in a significant way. (spetznatz with autocannons are an exception, but that’s nothing a little strategic use of Deadlock won’t cure).

    • 7 Seas says:

      there is a third ending… just shoot them both ;) Also, was the saint ending really a saint ending?

    • Phoshi says:

      and a fourth ending – wait long enough and demichev shoots you both

  15. 7 Seas says:

    If anything the game is TOO easy if you use your time powers.

    Want to deal with ticks, monsters, melee monsters, shooting monsters, exploding monsters anything at all?

    Use your time stopping bubble. Sit inside it and shoot things that are either in the bubble or outside.

    Game over, very simple.

    I found the game a lot of fun actually, but then, i also enjoyed the new wolfenstein. They are fun pulpy shooters with no pretensions of anything else.

    Also, the endings of Singularity were pretty cool.

  16. Jad says:

    Can we please end this nonsense about there being something wrong with being a corridor shooter – they’re great. It’s like complaining that a new RTS is just yet another game showing the armies from above.

    Hurrah! I’d like to repeat this again. I see way too often on this website people putting down corridor shooters for no other reason than being a corridor shooter. Its fine if you don’t like the genre, but that doesn’t mean that it is objectively bad or that people who like them are dumb.

    It is too bad that it’s not a good corridor shooter, however. On the other hand, on one of the RPS podcasts — I think it was John talking about Timesplitters — someone said that a mediocre shooter can be far more palatable and satisfying than a mediocre game in most other genres. This sounds like a mediocre shooter, so I’ll probably pick it up when it’s cheap.

    • D says:

      Hmm.. What I’d normally say would be linear FPS. Corridor shooter is implying that the entire game is set in corridors, which must be a very bland experience then, and probably not worthy of the title “good.” Except FEAR 1, as always.

  17. Greg Wild says:

    Raven produce a competant but uninspiring FPS? Madness!

  18. KamikazeGenes says:

    I finished this a few days ago and I agree on almost everything said here. One thing though: the annoying tickers are easy to deal with once you figure out which of the TMD powers to use on ‘em. Just saying…

  19. westyfield says:

    Jayt: Synch is short for synchronise, isn’t it? I’d pronounce it ‘sink’.

  20. Duoae says:

    Heh…. i really enjoyed Timeshift which i thought was solid if a bit unimaginative and so was looking forward to this. I guess i’ll have to wait a little for my time-bending fix!

    Achron is the next game on my list… but that’s an RTS

    • Matt says:

      Finally, someone else who enjoyed Timeshift! I thought I was the only one.

  21. Miresnare says:

    RE: The Ticks.

    The first time I encountered them I nearly gave up with the game.

    There is however a very, very simple way of dealing with them. Use the time glove to advance one through time. It bulks up to a larger proportion and attacks the others. They turn into a slight annoyance them as opposed to a teeth grinding menace.

  22. jonfitt says:

    The corridor shooter is much maligned sub-genre, but with some justification.

    People automatically assume that a corridor shooter is inferior to a wide open game because of the technical challenges that are shortcut by restricting the player to one path. However what they overlook is that a tight well done corridor shooter will always knock the other’s pants off with its pacing, narrative and combat which can only really be achieved when the designer has a tight control over what the player has done and what is open to them.

    However, the justification comes from the fact that many many corridor shooters are lazy shortcuts of a game with poor pacing, slim stories, clichéd environments, and immersion breaking limitations.

  23. Joe says:

    Singularity is one part Half-Life 2, one part STALKER, one part Bioshock, and one part Cryostasis. And somewhere in the combining of all these great games it (Singularity) became mediocre.

    • Brumisator says:

      Let’s have a metaphor:

      Sex is great, mustard is tasty. Raspberries are Delicious. Clam chowder is fancy and tasty.

      Now, mix raspberry mustard clams on your penis and try finding someone who’ll come even close to you.

    • MD says:

      I was thinking along the lines of ‘mixing a bunch of brightly-coloured paints and ending up with brown’, but each to their own.

  24. SirKicksalot says:

    It has developement hell written all over it.
    I remember cool videos from last year and 2008 – none of the scenes there to be found in the final game. The credits present a lot of artwork that’s simply not in the game. I vaguely remember a magazine article that mentioned an ecosystem… Cover was supposed to play a much bigger role too.
    It had a brilliant viral marketing campaign at the beggining of 2009 – it suddenly vanished.
    The game feels like they just rushed to stitch together some levels, poured all the finished content in them and released it.
    It loved it, since it’s so brutal and varied, although I felt it was too easy. The player is overpowered and the upgrade system is broken.

    You know what was weird? That a couple of hours after you encounter the ticks, a pop-up message tells you what are the best strategies against them…

    Something’s very, very wrong at Raven.

    • Radiant says:

      I’m curious too with what the hell is going on at Raven.
      Did somebody leave?

      It’s like they can’t for the life of them find the same magic that their older games had.

  25. Phoshi says:

    The only way I could defeat those first ticks was to use my little deadlock and stand in the middle, then impulse every single one to death. That took about 8 tries to time right. Bloody stupid.

    I liked the rest of the game, though.

  26. SuperNashwan says:

    Can’t really disagree with the things John takes issue with, but I enjoyed this far more than anything else Raven have done in a long time, it’s not amazing but it’s breezily enjoyable for the most part.

  27. Radiant says:

    Ok now that you’ve shat on this game and I’m not going to buy it.
    That new wolfenstien… is it any good?

  28. Amanda says:

    I started reading E99 as Egg, and it made the game somewhat more amusing. It’s like an Easter Egg hunt in the most peculiar back garden ever.

  29. Gotem says:

    So in short those who want clever time puzzles are better off playing Day of the Tentacle

  30. Lewis says:

    I thought it was great, everyone’s mental, etc.

    • Bret says:

      Well, second half’s true. Doesn’t necessarily make your opinion on the game correct.

  31. mipiro says:

    The checkpoints are not placed very strategically, no. I stopped playing when I got to the ticks. Ugh.

  32. cray1 says:

    Sure, but HL2 has a huge climax and a very engaging storyline.

  33. jamscones says:

    I played this over the weekend, and it was a pleasing distraction. It is not spectacular, but neither is there anything truly hateful about it. It’s easy to recommend to somebody who enjoyed Bioshock or Halflife 2. It will no doubt bomb and be half price or less within a month or two, and for fifteen quid it’s a steal.

  34. Damien Stark says:

    I agree with most of what’s being said, but I’m having trouble concentrating – in the fourth picture, is that a… sniper chain-gun?

    • Sober says:

      No. There is a sniper gun that is useless throughout 90% of the game(due to close-up combat focus and indoor levels) and a mini-gun.
      Thanks to the game’s most idiotic gun carry restriction you will find yourself either not using all guns in the game or regretting your last equipment choice for however long the devs deemed it was okay not to give you another weapons locker to change them at.

      Why can’t game devs be forced to play DOOM before making a corridor shooter?

      Quite frankly, that game still outdoes over two thirds of modern shooters in shoot-kill satisfaction, level design(hello, you activate a lever and the room totally changes and that in a TWO DIMENSIONS game engine!!!) and not limiting how the player chooses to experience a level(press 1-0 and voila, THERE IS YOUR GUN YOU PICKED UP AND RIGHTFULLY DESERVE FOR LITERALLY GOING THROUGH HELL).

      Seriously. People need to learn more DOOM.

      If you don’t like DOOM, then you’re different and strange. All your friends think DOOM is great.

  35. FunkyBadger says:

    An attempt to create an Alyx-alike also falls rather embarrassingly short. She accompanies you here and there, and is as nicely animated, but has no discernible personality on the occasions you can hear her above the background noise.

    Sounds like they got her spot on.

  36. Jacques says:

    Memorable moments are not always good ones, much like that scar from when you thought up that great idea that turned out to be not so. ‘You’ being a more general term than any specific person, and ‘scar’ meaning enduring result of a poor decision. I remember the Library from Halo not because it was well done, but because it filled me with hatred, and I got the point, Guilty Spark is a dastardly evil floating prick, after the second door, at which point I emptied every last bit of ammo I could into his hull, died, and did it again, to no avail. Tiny enemies that do a lot of damage are an annoying fight. That said, anyone remember Raven’s Star Wars title from some time back, Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast? If so, do you remember the section where you needed to use night vision (well I guess you could go without it) and there were those little cave monsters hat bit you again and again. I learned to like them, once I learned the spawncode for them, oh and noclip, killing stormtroopers is a fun thing to do in JK2, but using those things, oh it’s just funny, well, that and filling a room with mines and spawning a stormy, oh my frame rate went to 2 when I did that.

  37. -Spooky- says:

    It´s a “OK” game for 40 bucks. ;)

  38. Mario Figueiredo says:

    It really boggles my mind why is that checkpoints, which are universally criticized, keep being put into games. And especially the fact it seems to exist a mad desire to make them particularly irritating.

    I mean, game designers and developers, they know almost everyone hates checkpoints. It’s not because it makes the game more difficult (that could explain why they insert them). Its the type of hate that is built by turning a game into a boredom fest. Forcing players to not be able to stop the game when they wish and often having them trace their steps over and over again when they die. It’s insanely asinine. But there you go… they keep putting checkpoints in games.

    I won’t be buying this game. For the checkpoints. And for the fact they are apparently more stupid than their usual.

  39. TheSombreroKid says:

    poor raven :(

  40. BooleanBob says:

    Guys how do I edit my posts?

    KG

  41. BooleanBob says:

    Christ, what are the odds that the comment system would fail when I’m trying to make a dumb joke about the comment system. I USED THE KG! THAT’S HOW THE REPLY FUNCTION WORKS!

  42. Matt says:

    I finished it in 6-7 hours. I felt that it *was* criminally short. Sadly, it seems as though the days of making a long game that pulls you in for weeks, one that you might actually anticipate on your drive home from work for a while (as opposed to finishing on a lazy weekend afternoon) are over.

  43. tengblad says:

    Regarding the low sound bug:
    This seems to be a Windows 7 issue. The sound for Singularity is set, for some daft reason, several notches below system volume. It can be easily remedied by alt-tabbing out into Windows and using the sound mixer to set the volume to match the rest of your system. It’s quite annoying, though.

  44. Mechorpheus says:

    I offer for your consideration a link to a fix for the texture streaming issues. You need to get your hands dirty with a HEX editor, but the results are worthwhile.

    http://forums.dearwandy.com/viewtopic.php?id=30090

  45. Wedge says:

    Sounds a LOT like Timeshift. Except probably not even quite as good as that. Which isn’t saying a whole lot. I liked Timeshift for the $2.50 I paid for it anyways. Raven seem to have mastered the craft of the mostly competent yet wholly uninteresting shooter. Ironically like they’re caught in some sort of time loop themselves…

  46. hydra9 says:

    I like corridor shooters. The more the merrier.

    From what I’ve heard, it sounds like it might be a good idea (challenge wise) to totally ignore Singularity’s upgrades. Thoughts?

  47. SirKicksalot says:

    - The only thing that reminds me of Timeshift is the deadlock ability, which feels a lot like a chrono grenade from that game’s multiplayer

    - Upgrade your TMD. Remember that you must equip some of these upgrades. The rest: meh. You’ll have so much E99 and tech that you’ll do it anyway. It’s simply not a finished feature.

  48. Angel Dust says:

    If this is as satisfyingly gory as Wolfenstein was (and judging form the last picture it is) then I’m still goin’ to pick this one up. That game had massive problems too (crap story, superfluous hub structure) but it got the act of shootin’ big guns and wreaking havoc on enemies far, far better than any other shooter of recent memory that I forgave it’s shortcomings.

    Also thanks to digital distribution and the mighty NZ dollar, I’ll only be paying half price for it if I get it of Direct2Drive which sounds reasonable.

  49. Will says:

    I’ve come gradually (and grudgingly) to realise that I really like big dumb fun games at least as much as more meaningful titles, if not more. I can’t disagree with any of the points John makes (particularly the silly story) but I’ve been really enjoying this. I’d say it’s not as good as Wolfenstein, which had a greater sense of self-confidence and spectacle, but it’s a decent effort.

    There are some nice graphical touches as well if you like that kind of thing – stuff aging around you, Metroid-inspired glowing alien plants, and wibbly wobbly timey-wimey stuff.

    • nil says:

      Speaking of which, watch for the Metroid callout in the sinking freighter (after the morph ball puzzle, lawl.)

  50. malkav11 says:

    A large assortment of upgradable guns…that you can only have 2 of on you at any given time? Argh.