Singularity is developer Raven Software's first original title in nearly 10 years. It's a labour of love for the studio's founders, who have long dreamed of doing a Cold War-style science fiction shooter. The headline feature of the game is the Time Manipulation Device (TMD), which uses something called substance E99 to allow time control. For more on the game's features, be sure to check out our previous coverage of the game, as our Cologne preview focuses on the new Freighter level in the game.
The level we saw takes place about two-thirds of the way through the game. Activision senior producer Brian Pass took us through the demo, with the objective of raising a sunken ship using the TMD and then scavenging it while it disintegrated around us. It's an impressive set piece and one that shows off the combat and the puzzle-solving required in the game. The mix of shooting and thinking is supposed to be quite even, so you'll often have to think about how you can utilise the TMD in order to progress.
Halfway through the demo, a time rift causes you to move from the present day back to the 1950s. You can also control these temporal anomalies yourself, so you can age objects and people or return them to their original state. The level we saw featured plenty of objects that could be degraded or fixed in this way, such as a shipping crate that you can drop on an enemy or old barrels that can be restored to their previous explosive state. You can also change the state of your enemies, aging them until they become a "reverted human" who will attack other enemies.
While the TMD forms a large part of the gameplay, this is still a Raven game, so the shooting looks like it will be incredibly satisfying. Some weapons can use E99, such as the E99 revolver, which fires bullets that can be manipulated in midair. You can fire bullets at enemies in cover or bend them to hit explosive barrels, but the gun has relatively limited ammo and takes a while to reload.
The final part of our demo was the raising of a sunken ship. You have to go underwater and use your time manipulation powers to raise the sunken vessel and then explore it. Sadly, we didn't get chance to see the developers going onto the ship, but they promised it would literally "fall apart around you." They also wanted to highlight that the Freighter level shows off more of the outdoor environments from the game, which takes place on an island so big that it has its own train system. That naturally led us to ask the question--will you be able to ride the train? "Potentially, yes" was the answer from Brian Pass.
Singularity sadly isn't playable at this stage--there's still quite a bit of time between now and the 2010 release date, so there'll be plenty of time to see it again before it comes out. It's arriving on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC, so check out our previous coverage and the E3 show demo to find out more about the game.