Developer: Raven Software
Sometimes, through no real fault of their own, good games fall by the wayside. Untouched. Unnoticed. Unloved. The reasons for this are nearly always incredibly straightforward: the publisher has ploughed all of its money into the latest instalment of its flagship series. The target audience is an unknown entity. It's a new IP and it's just been thrown in at the deep end to see if it can swim. I fear that Singularity might well be one of those games. It's arrived with all of the majesty and fanfare of a butterfly's fart in a wind tunnel which is a crying shame because it's really rather good.
Much of this has to do with the fact that the game shamelessly rips-off all of the best shooters of the twenty-first century and makes no apologies about doing so. Apart from Half-Life 2, which I'll come to in a bit, Bioshock is probably the most obvious source of rich material here, and Raven have mined 2K's modern classic well. The opening scenes are strikingly similar, you tumbling out of an EMP-stricken helicopter and finding yourself surrounded by the burning wreckage of the pier you half demolished going some way to evoke memories of Bioshock's plane crash. There are audio logs littering the corridors, the entire island reeks of a decayed 50s era and you see all of the action unfold through the eyes of a silent protagonist.
There's been an odd extraordinarily high radioactive energy reading that the US have detected off of the coast of Russia and so, tempting an international incident, they decide to send you - Captain Nathaniel Renko - in with a squad to check it out. However, an EMP blast knocks your chopper out of the sky and you find yourself washed up on Katorga-12, with most of your team MIA. It turns out that the Soviets discovered an amazing new element - E99 - and were running a whole bunch of tests on a variety of subjects. Basically mad Russian scientists started playing with hideously radioactive fire and it all went horribly wrong. Like it always does.