(Note: Spoilers) In the ending where you kill both Barisov and Demichev, it is mentioned that both the Soviet Union and United States collapsed ("former United States" and all). But no explanation is given as to how the latter fell - it's only mentioned the Katorga-12 monsters escaped to Russia, so wouldn't the US simply win the Cold War outright? Also, how does the whole world degenerate into war after the two died?
Renko travels back in time to destroy the original singularity reactor, but when he travels forward in time to the twisted alternate present, Demichev shows that he outmaneuvered both of them by taking a third option and simply rebuilding the damn thing afterwards. Considering that the Soviets used the powers of the reactor to win the Cold War the first time around, they almost certainly did the same there only with a slight delay if that (might cross over with a case of You Already Changed The Past). As such, it can be assumed that the USSR conquered the world once again, and thus had the US as one of its' colonies/subject states. When Demichev (the dictator and strong leadership holding the Soviet state together as well as one of the three people that knows what you can do with E99) and Barisov (the other of the three people asides from Renko that know about this and the alternative for leadership) die, the Soviet Empire fractures apart as various leaders emerge and try to seize power only to further splinter the USSR, and as such its' subject states largely see the same thing happen.
Right. When they say "former United States", they don't mean former as in "The United States fell to the released monsters," they mean, "What was the United States before the Soviet Union used the power of the Singularity to end the Cold War."
Okay someone explain this to me because even the Wikipedia summary didn't explain it. Why is the fact that Renko and Devlin are both played by Nolan North important to the story?
When Future! Renko tells you to stop saving Demichev from the fire, you could be excused for thinking that that's actually Devlin.
This might have gotten explained with the Timey Wimey Ball, but how could the E99 bomb be used against the US if it sank with the Pearl?
Why the hell can't you just shoot Demichev in the head as you're carrying him out? Why do you need to shoot yourself in the head? Either way, Demichev is stranded in the burning building, you just manage to avoid the unfortunate implications of murdering your past self.
Well, that's because you are the yelling you, not the walking you, and you can't see his head. Now, why the hell can't you just unload your pistol into him? After all, bullets in the ass go into the large intestine, which can easily cause fatal infections that the 1950s Soviet Union would likely not be able to deal with, if the blood loss alone doesn't do it, or a lucky shot going all the way out his head.
If you choose Barisov's ending, why can't Renko, instead of shooting his past-self in the face, shoot Demichev on his past-self's back instead?
Tried that myself, as it happens. Demichev does demonstrate an uncanny level of durability throughout the game, however: first time you saved Barisov, you shoot him and he falls through a window. Then you shoot him again when he's threatening at the end, and he still gets up and talks as is nothing happened. Note that you can pretty much shoot him in the face and the result is still the same.
Shooting Demichev in the past would eradicate him from your timeline, meaning there'd be no reason for you to go back in time to shoot him, thus he lives, since you never shot him, so you go back in time to shoot him... See the problem? As Barisov said: "You are the anomaly", so the only way to effectively 'repair time' is to remove yourself from it, since you were the one who initially broke it by saving Demichev.
Two can play that game. Shooting yourself would mean that you would not exist to go back and shoot yourself therefore when you go back in time the first time, no one stops you from saving Demichev.
You are confusing a Stable Time Loop with a Temporal Paradox. A paradox is what would result if you killed Demichev, but killing yourself would logically result in a stable loop. Of course, in the Singularity universe, killing yourself in the past brings you back to the beginning of the loop, except this time you can escape it.
Or rather, Eliminating yourself from the past means that you are not capable of detonating the Singularity, and thus you can't cause the pulse that would cause you to go to the past. But the Renko you killed in that building still existed, meaning that Barisov had gained access to this particular TMD. The Renko we see in the ending is not the same Renko who got through the game, but his memories might be linked.
In an after credits cutscene, you see Kathryn write Renko's name in the journal. Presumably this is what cause history to change even if you prevent yourself from saving Demichev. How? How does your name in the journal suddenly lead to Barisov deciding to take over the world, when he didn't in the original timeline.
It has nothing to do with Barisov taking over the world. It's the only loose end that remains after the closing naration, and it shows up no matter which ending you choose.
So at one point you are given the alternate history of the timeline - specifically that Russia used an E-99 bomb to blow up the east coast of the United States. And yes, it was apparently far more devastating than any nuclear bomb has ever been. But the game establishes early on that the US still has nukes.....so why is this a 'USSR takes over everything' scenario and not a giant nuclear holocaust as the US and all other countries retaliate as best they can? The response to a devastating warhead demonstration isn't going to be to stand down, it's going to be to throw everything they have back at the Soviet Union in bloody minded vengeance.
Related to the Fridge Brilliance entry above, it's because E-99 lets the USSR go back in time. Even assuming that the near-certainty of most of NATO capitulating after a single bomb blows the East Coast off the face of the world doesn't deter a Western nuclear response, the ability to reverse time back to before a launch and recalibrate to take out the newly discovered nukes would; that, coupled with the ability of the Soviets to do things like send "Time Spetznaz" back to take out Western allied targets like the silos themselves and even the subs, and possibly to even reverse the course of the missiles in mid-air so they fly back into their silos without effect would nullify any attempt by NATO or any outside party (like, say, the Chinese) to attempt a response. Because if something goes wrong, the Soviets can just use E-99 to travel back in time and try it again until they get it right. Either that, or really good strategic planning on Demichev's part
It cannot be that the Soviets have control over time - it is clearly established in the game that while they have found quite a few novel uses for E99, no one else but Barisov can figure out how to manipulate the time stream (and then only in natural occouring rifts or with stuff infused with E99) - otherwise why would Demichev be so hellbent on getting the TMD? Or for that matter, why didn't he go back in time and get it before Barisov could hide it?
From what I saw, the TMD represented miniature time manipulation. Barisov's prototype was a big honkin' thing, maybe with a backpack? They could have very well been able to reproduce the time travel apparatus without making it as small as the wrist unit. Remember, the Spetznaz units you have to fight are immune to the aging effects of the TMD already, they couldn't defend against something they couldn't control.
A simpler explanation for why America didn't retaliate is because the entire federal government was most likely destroyed in the attack, leaving no one to issue an order to strike back.
Why is it we never see the fancy weapons that allowed the Soviet Union to take over the world? All the troops you fight seems to have pretty normal gear (granted it is infused with E99, but in the game it mostly hinders them).
It is probable that the USSR didn't Conquer the World in a conventienal military campaign, with the E-99 bomb probably cowing most resistance and the vast pre-existing Soviet military bieng used to stamp out what was left. That, and you ARE using some of the weapons they used if they did do it conventionally because said weapons are almost to an example infused with E-99.
Why is it that Demichev does not have Katorga 12 searched from top to bottom for the TMD before you arrive? He has had plenty of time since 1955 - and there is nothing in the game that indicates that only you should be able to see the past echoes.
Point of fact, there IS evidence in the game that supports the opposite, that everyone can see them. You can find records early on before you reach the TMD, talking about how a group of survivors, after ambushing and beating another survivor half to death in order to steal his food and shelter, refuses to go into said shelter because of the echoes of their crime.
There is a pretty solid evidence that Barisov hid the TMD well enough so that normally nobody would be capable of finding it if they couldn't see the echoes, and we don't know how long did it take for said echoes to start manifesting. For all we know, the echoes didn't exist before Renko blew up the reactor, and even after they started appearing, they did only in the "timeline" after the first jump (aka. the one where Demichev didn't rebuild the Singularity). That would mean that said echoes only existed there when Barisov lost his interest in finding TMD on the island himself.
Where did Devlin go when the first time wave hit?
He went back to 1955 like you did, he just wasn't in the burning building or anywhere particularly important. Listen to his next radio transmission after you come back; he's clearly just seem something batshit crazy.
Why do all the Russian residents of a Soviet facility all speak perfect English, even in videos recorded for the benefit of the Politburo and new arrivals?
Renko is a Russian surname. I think the idea is that our boy speaks it, hence the above.
Instead of temporal suicide or shouting from a distance, why couldn't Renko just break through the burning planks, run up to himself, and go, "Hey, I'm you from the future, and you really need to let that guy die."
Because the planks were on fire.
That... And he already tried that, and failed, multiple times.
True, but think about it. All alone, Renko still doesn't have a single sort of horrified reaction. He sees some Silent Hill level shit and doesn't even get scared. If Future-Renko ran up to Past-Renko and told him "Hey, I'm future you. Basically, time works Terminator style. You save him and the USSR wins. Basically, he's the Anti-John Conner. So yeah, we need to kill him", chances are, Past-Renko would just go "Oh, okay. Compared to the rest of my day, this makes a bit of sense" and fix everything.