Namco Bandai’s gravity defying third person shooter, Inversion allows for you to command gravity in an epic campaign journey that spans out on a mission to protect earth as well as one man’s personal duty to find his lost daughter. Using a multitude of weapons and tech stolen from your enemy captures – Inversion will have you pulled in to its action packed core in no time, albeit feeling very familiar territory as the similarities between Inversion and a well-known “triple A” third person shooter is perhaps bordering on the barely legal terms for the gaming industry – or maybe the overwhelming similarities were just purely “coincidental”.
From the first introductory cut-scene you know you’re going to be taking on the cliché tough cop role – that blend of personality that has you as one of the tough-guys who stares danger head on, but with a soft heart who gives a damn about missing children and civilisation in general … You take on the role of a cop named David Russel who was just cruising the streets with his partner (and neighbour) Leo Delgado, in his car as an invasion of the Lutadore embarks Earth, then all-out war breaks loose within the surrounding streets of the local city that have been turned quite literally upside down, but the gravitational anomalies brought with them are affecting different areas in different ways. Some buildings are upside down, others slightly skewed, but how the Lutadore have managed to pull off this incredible force in an alien way can also be used to your advantage as you take their own gravity-controlling weapons and throw it right back at them as a means to your survival.
Inversion is a cover-based action adventure, combined third person tactical shooter that aims to try and shock you or surprise you with the “oh look at me I’m floating in air, shock, panic, shoot just shoot at them” approach which does break up some of the generic monotamy in-between chapters, but the bland urban scenery and dare we say buildings that actually are a fifty shades of grey in colour without the excitement or realism of an alien onslaught – make it feel at times more of a chore. There are without a doubt plenty of exciting and gripping moments within the game that will make you sit up and think about the ‘wow’ effect. What this game does way better than its shady gravity effects is depict a two man personal journey looking to find hope; one man can’t get very far without the other and together – tactically, they bring down some the best and toughest bosses you could find in a video game.
It’s not all about the shooting, but with your arsenal of futuristic weaponry you can push, pull and levitate objects regardless of size and weight – all of which will be a means of offense as you learn the ropes with your new-found skills. Nearby cars – no problem, heavy debris – no problem, fuel barrels, rocks and other nearby projectiles – no problem. Even if you’ve used all the rounds from your rifle, shotgun or sniper you can with your GravLink equipped manipulate the objects in front of you to your own advantage. As most of the gravity manipulating is ‘mostly’ optional except for instances where you are required and reminded to use it, it does tend to always feel like a last resort to using your gun which is naturally a first-choice. Ammo is very rarely scarce due to being able to reload from dropped enemy weapons or ammo crates within the environments.
Visually, Inversion is a decent offering and on par with top titles of this current year, its downside is only within the cut-scenes that render with noticeable texture issues. Thankfully this is not all too evident in the gameplay sections, but there are a lot of cut scenes within the game at various intervals and so it’s hard not to notice the flaws as it tries so hard to make you believe the story which neither has that much of a build-up. You’re thrown into a war – and it pretty much continues that way. The dialogue is also commanding and forceful, at times evident of the hard-facing scenarios; not the greatest voice work – but it does at least all tie in quite nicely so that you’re not running around as a mute. At times a bit cheesy and could be better presented due to moments when you would expect ‘shock’, characters seem unfazed by un-natural forces never before seen on the planet.
Developers, Saber Interactive must be complimented for creating a nearly entirely destructible environment within the campaign and multiplayer that will see a building brought down to its foundations – exposing the enemy or creating your own cover! As a cover based game, you can’t spend too much of your time hiding behind the same rock or ruin, it will eventually get destroyed taking you out with it completely. What Inversion lacks in detail and originality it does make up for in adrenaline fuelled survival as it is a tough game with a really lengthy campaign. It’s not a quick jog in the park, but a decent run that is all the better when joined with a friend – having a complete two player co-operative option for the campaign is a saviour, combined with challenging difficulty levels makes this for an entertaining two-man night in over Xbox LIVE!
Although Inversion features a complete set of online Matchmaking modes split between gravity enabled and non-gravity Deathmatch, Team-Deathmatch, Big Team-Deathmatch and a wave based Survival mode – unfortunately trying to a join a match at the time of this review is near-on impossible because it just doesn’t have the online user base or it just sucks at finding players online completely. You can create your load-out and spruce up your character to your liking to unlock an Achievement, but it is a struggle to find online matches in play over the eight multiplayer maps included. You can set Private Matches where you might get to view the games very impressively designed multiplayer maps assuming you have the quantity of friends to be able to enjoy it?
Despite being one of the best if not the closest Gears of War clones to date – Inversion does offer up a vast amount of enjoyable gameplay sequences albeit over-filled with cut-scenes and sometimes a linear path too long to walk. It is challenging in places with some great boss scenes and will be best played co-operatively with another player in tow to get the full experience of tactical team work. An absolute shame that multiplayer is so lonesome because even with a lengthy campaign, this could be one of the best online third-person shooters that you might never get to experience!