Singularity is a sci-fi thriller first-person shooter developed by Raven Software, the guys behind the famous Jedi Knight duology and several Call of Duty titles and published by Activision. In Singularity you play as Captain Nathaniel Renko, a U.S Recon Marine sent to an uninhabitated island called Katorga-12, previously held by the Soviet Union when an electromagnetic wave brought down an American spy satellite.
The second electromagnetic burst hit the helicopter you were into and crashed on the island. You find out that the island is not so empty as records say but quite the opposite: Full of russian hostiles. Your mission becomes to find out what they are doing here while eliminating them at the same time.
The game brings a nifty mechanic that plays an extremely essential part in the whole game called TMD (Time Manipulation Device). With it the player can alter the age of any organic or anorganic entity that has been in contact with the chemical compound ‘E-99’, the same thing that the TMD uses as a core. The device is crucial in fighting enemies and solving puzzles. With the help of TMD you can also create spheres in which the time is almost put to a stop and any bullet or enemy inside it will act accordingly. As a gorgeous special effect you can see the bullet trail as well as the bullet itself passing at a snail speed through the semisphere.
TMD can also function as a Gravity Gun, similar to Half-Life 2, being able to carry objects or even shoot an energy pulse that can stun the enemies. In the later levels TMD can also affect the sniper, being able to control each bullets height and direction to ensure no misses.
Weapon upgrades are available in form of kits that can be found throughout the maps as well as blueprints for the TMD to upgrade it. Health kits and ammo can also be found on the ground.
Thriller elements include dark areas, creepy ambiental sounds, as well as ghosts or seeing the past in the room, and some sudden apparitions also. While these set quite the mood for the game, the effects don’t tend to scare the player at all. The game also includes time-travel in the ‘50’s as part of the story missions.
Overall, Singularity is a greatly underrated and unknown game despite its great mechanics and story, perhaps due to Bioshock, since some people declared this game as a ‘Bioshock in Russia’, though personally I think this is a completely different game with different settings, weapons and plot.
2. Borderlands 2
A new villain arises on Pandora, claiming the actions made by the 4 Vault Hunters as his own, and threatens to destroy the murdering balance the planet is sustained by. In the aid of the original 4 Vaulters, there comes a team of another 6 of the same profession. Ending up in the frosty tundra by an explosive welcome from the Handsome Jack himself, you are found by a funny little robot named ‘CL4P-TP’ (‘or by locally designated name: CLAPTRAP!’)
Like Borderlands 1 all the items found in the game are procedurally generated from separated parts. If you want to keep seeing how awesome this game and why it deserves the second place check the entire review, presented in ‘Top 10 Story-Driven Games’.
1. Half-Life 2
Following the award-winning ’98 game, Half-Life 2 puts you again in the shoes of Gordon Freeman, 20 years after the the accident at Black Mesa. You find yourself on a train riding towards City17, a Combine-controlled conglomerate after the Combine aliens have took over the Earth after the ‘Seven Hours War’. Freeman ends up meeting doctor Elli and his daughter Alyx which join him in the attempt of to drive away the conquerors.
Like the predecessor, Half-Life 2 sticks to a story developed into chapters, and the ability to gather loads of weapons. Also like in the prequel, Gordon can’t stay apart from his trusty crowbar, but he also gets new and fancy weapons like the Gravity Gun which can interact with almost every movable object in the game.
The Gravity Gun will attract the object it was aimed at, then, when releasing the click button, the gun will push the object with a force high enough to kill an enemy. Of course, not everything will kill an enemy from the first attempt, the harder and bigger the object is, the better.
Another fancy weapon is the assault rifle which can fire with a dark energy ball that can disintegrate almost everything. Besides the new weapons, there are also new enemies: Overwatch soldiers, flying turrets named Manhacks and others. At certain points, Gordon can be aided by other members of the resistance. They can be commanded to investigate or come back.
New types of puzzles that revolve around the player’s ability to pick up various items are added as well as the ability to drive vehicles and boats. Solutions to these puzzles involve the type, dimension and weight of the objects that you interact with. Sometimes the puzzles may have multiple ways of solving it so don’t be afraid to experiment.
Unlike most of the shooters, Half-Life 2 has no cutscenes, the game ensuring that you control Gordon at any time, the story happening all around you through various events as well as dialogues that can be had or just heard from other people.
Overall Half-Life 2 is one of the greatest games that combines gameplay, new mechanics and the story into one huge master piece that received the title ‘Game of the Decade’ in 2012.