Singularity – Review (PS3)

Singularity was another of those games I’d been meaning to get around to for ages. Then on my first play through I encountered a horrible corrupt save bug that meant my PS3 reset itself every other time I hit a checkpoint in the game.

After deciding to cut my losses and just restart the game, I blasted my way through the couple of hours I’d lost and was back up to speed in no time.

Hopefully that is an issue that won’t affect many people because other than that Singularity was a pretty smooth running game.

It’s made by Raven (of Wolverine fame) so unfortunately my pet hate of having no subtitle option rears it’s ugly again but that certainly isn’t a game breaker.

Singularity tells the story of Captain Nathaniel Renko, a military investigator sent as part of a squad to check out a weird electromagnetic surge originating in Russia.

I won’t touch on the story any more than that as the game had some very nice plot twists and interesting mechanics.

Graphically the game looks ok – I wasn’t particularly blown away by it – and the controls handle well enough.

Singularity is similar to Bioshock in that you have one hand wielding a weapon and the other using a power. Rather than plasmids, in this case it’s the TMD (Time Manipulation Device) which allows you to age or revitalise items (such as broken staircases/bridges etc) or even people if you wish.

The TMD also allows you (at certain pre-scripted points in the game) to open up time rifts and travel back in time. This leads to some great game moments but, as with anything time travel related, can mean the story becomes fairly complex.

Overall, Singularity is a good game. My bugged first attempt at playing it didn’t discourage me enough to put me off the game and I’m glad of that. This is a competent shooter with a decent story and some really nice plot moments.

Rating: 7/10

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X-Men Origins: Wolverine – Review (PS3)

Wolverine Origins was one of those games that I picked up ages ago with the intention of playing it not long after.

The trouble being that a whole heap of other great titles came out and shunted Wolverine down the pecking order.

With the hacking of the PSN taking online play out of the equation, Wolverine was one of many in my game backlog to benefit from the downtime.

The clue to the story is in the name of the game, with this telling the story of how Wolverine came into being before he became one of the X-Men.

Graphically the game looks good and the cut scenes in particular have a great resemblance to Hugh Jackman. Origins isn’t a stunning looking game but, bearing in mind it was released over 2 years ago, it can still hold it’s head up against some of today’s titles.

The gameplay is fairly straight forward and is reminiscent of God Of War or Dante’s Inferno. It’s a button masher for sure but you have the ability to level up your attacks/combos etc.

Unfortunately I found the game to be plagued with bugs/glitches. A lot of them weren’t too troublesome – Wolverine getting frozen in an animation (taking no damage) for example meant a reset of the game. The game occasionally froze up completely, which was fairly annoying but again not a gamebreaker.

Sadly neither of those were the worst of my troubles, as I discovered a problem that did turn out to be a gamebreaker. On one of the puzzles that required the use of weighted platforms I just couldn’t get over quick enough to the next platform before it returned to it’s original position.

After a frustrating 40 minutes or so I ended up looking on youtube and discovered that the platform was no longer fully extended – which was why I didn’t have enough time. After a reset it happened again until I managed to avoid the glitch on the fourth attempt.

Other people I’ve spoken to that have played the game didn’t have as rough a time as I did with the glitches but this game also fell foul of one of my pet hates in gaming – no subtitles.

As a gamer who plays when his small children are in bed I can’t have the volume very high but also can’t have headphones in case they call out. Quite how deaf or hearing impaired gamers are supposed to enjoy the joy is beyond me and in this day and age it shouldn’t be something that’s missing from a game.

Wolverine is a decent enough game that is certainly worth a play through, unfortunately the problems I encountered meant after the first few hours it felt too much like a chore to get through.

Rating: 5/10

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MAG – Beta Impressions (PS3)

I’ve been fortunate on the beta front recently – as well as Battlefield Bad Company 2 I also managed to get myself on the list for Sony’s upcoming FPS MAG.

The beta, which closed today ahead of the game’s January 2010 release, featured only two modes (Domination and Sabotage – which are your standard ‘Capture & Hold’ and ‘Search And Destroy’) but they were varied enough to give you a flavour of the gameplay you can expect.

As I’ve said before I’m not a huge fan of ‘twitch shooters’ – FPS’s where the slightest movement of the stick spins the camera round fast – as I find them both unrealistic and fairly unsatisfying (yes Modern Warfare 2 I’m looking at you) – and MAG veers dangerously close but has just enough weight in the controls to save it.

The great thing about MAG is that you’re constantly reminded that your match is just one of many going on but that every small victory helps your faction in the overall war.

I plumped for the S.V.E.R faction (which is a bunch of ragtag rebel fighters 😎 ) as, being perfectly honest I’m sick of playing of US soldiers (who make up the VALOR faction). Obviously nothing against the US or anything just that it makes a change to be offered a different side to play for. The last remaining faction are RAVEN, Tactical Elites who are super polished fighters.

Each faction has different weaponry and, I believe, a few different special weapons (airstrikes etc) to call in.

The gameplay itself is really good and some of the more frantic Domination matches were superb – just to give you a sense of scale, where games normally have you defending one or two points on the map MAG has you defending/attacking SIX! 😮

With up to 256 players online in the same game they have had to up the ante and it seems to have been done really well.

With regard to the way it plays and controls, as I said above it’s just the right side of twitch and I found it pretty enjoyable to play. If you didn’t know where you were going it was a pain in the ass at times as more experienced folk picked you off from a distance but being honest that happens in most games of this type anyway when you start playing.

Overall I’d say it’s not quite as promising as Battlefield Bad Company 2 but for me it’s step up from Modern Warfare 2 as it feels a lot more involved and you are part of a bigger picture.

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