Inversion looks to separate itself from the ever growing pile of third person shooters by offering up a rather large bag of tricks. Trying to make a niche for itself using its gravity defying gameplay Inversion puts forth a solid, but albeit generic, gameplay experience. While its bag of tricks has numerous gameplay elements to offer, none of them are things we haven’t seen in other games, or seen done better for that matter.
Players will take on the role of Davis Russel a young police officer who along with his partner Leo Delgado, find themselves in the middle of an alien invasion. While the Lutadore appear to be nothing more than heavily armed cave men they have one serious advantage, the ability to turn the world upside down, literally. Separated from his daughter Davis makes it his mission to reunite with her and save the world in the process. The story is rather generic and if it wasn’t for my AI partner constantly shouting out the name of the main character, I would have honestly forgotten what it was.
The gameplay in Inversion is rather solid and its easy to see just how influenced the game is by others in the genre. Its almost impossible not to draw comparisons to Gears of War both in terms of both mechanics as well as story. Most of the game will see you going deeper and deeper into the terrain to unravel the mysteries behind the large and brutish Lutadore all while roadie running from cover to cover using your rifle with its large fixed blade attached to the barrel. While it feels very reminiscent of Gears of War it lacks the polish and fineness that Gears offers.
As I mentioned previously Inversion looks to stand out by offering up a rather large bag of tricks when it comes to playing with gravity. Your Gravlink when at its full potential, allows players to manipulate gravity in one of two ways making objects either very light or very heavy. Making objects light as a feather is great for getting enemies out of cover from a distance. Once in the air, enemies can be grabbed and either thrown across the screen or pulled in for an intimate and violent take down. Its also great for throwing objects at enemies as well, from the obligatory flammable barrel to even cars, it’s a rather fun component but is not essential to the gameplay like it should be. You could play most of the game without ever really using these abilities at all. The Gravlink is rather over powered and can be easily spammed since the recharge time period is very small. The overall experience is very similar to elements of Bulletstorm, but without the dick jokes.
The opposite effect of making things very heavy is rather dull in comparison. Used to pin enemies down, it’s good for giving you some breathing room against large numbers but its effects are quickly withdrawn. It also allows you to create a shield of energy around yourself that gives you some protection in the heat of the moment. However its biggest use will be to create cover by pulling down objects from above. This is where the game fails to live up to its potential. The ability to pull things down, or in, and use them as cover would be great in a cover based game such as Inversion however these scenarios are not truly realized. Instead creating cover by pulling objects down is only available in certain scenes in the game and even then it’s a guided experience not a free form one. Objects that are glowing red will need to be pulled down mostly to create cover allowing you to move from one area to another and because you have no freedom with this mechanic it’s a rather non rewarding experience.
The game’s other big trick when it comes to manipulating gravity are the Zero G sections. These sections as you probably have guessed feature no gravity so you will need traverse across these sections by pushing from one object to next across a three dimensional space. More often than not you will be stuck in the middle of a gun fight while doing this, and if it wasn’t for its rather clumsy controls in these sections it would be a lot of fun. Much like the zero gravity sections in Deadspace, players will often have to be aware of their surroundings in a three dimensional setting. Attacks can come from any angle and your path won’t always be a straight forward shot. The issue I found was I would often get stuck on an object. The game will only allow you to move forward to the next object or back to the one you came from. However figuring out which of the numerous objects on the screen the game wants you to jump to next can at times be confusing. I would sometimes have to navigate around the edge of an object all the while staring at the screen waiting for it to prompt me to jump to something else. If you aren’t at the exact angle the game wants you to be in it won’t you prompt you to jump, the result is a rather frustrating one. Death will most likely find you in these moments of frustration as you stare at the screen wondering why you can’t simply move to the next closest object without being prompted first.
When not making a folly of gravity Inversion is a rather adequate experience. The controls are solid save for the Zero G sequences and even the graphics are rather nice to look at. The cover system works well and with its ability to be destroyed forces you to constantly stay on the move. The Gravlink, while over powered, offers up some fun elements in the gameplay but never really reaches its full potential. The enemies can be rather aggressive at times and will often find ways to force you out of cover. The game even offers up some rather fun boss battles as well. However they are only fun the first few times as the game tends to recycle these boss battles frequently along the way. Add in co op with a friend through the entire game and it’s a rather adequate affair really. Sadly when not playing with a friend the co op AI can be a mixed bag. Throughout the first half the game he was a real life saver and I never had to worry about him. Then things took a change for the worse as later in the game I found myself constantly having to play medic and pick him back up at the most inopportune times. However its failed potential keeps it from really making a name for itself in the otherwise crowded space of third person shooters.
Once you finish up with the rather short single player experience you can take the fun online. With your standard run of the mill game modes like team death match, king of the hill, and the obligatory Horde like mode called “Survival”, the multiplayer is fun for a few moments. Some of the game’s gravity defying tactics carry over into the multiplayer but again it never reaches that true level of excitement that it should.
The Summary: Inversion looks to turn the world of third person shooters upside with its gravity defying tactics but sadly never realizes its full potential. While the game doesn’t do anything inherently wrong it doesn’t do anything amazingly well either. The gameplay is rather solid and lacks any real faults that make it a deal breaker but in the end it’s not something you will want to return to more than once. It borrows heavily from other games in the genre but doesn’t take the extra steps to make any of its elements truly its own.