Inversion review (Xbox 360)
Does the gravity-defying Inversion turn heads or fall flat?
Inversion is a third person shooter that brings something new to the table: gravity manipulation.
You play as a cop, David Russel, with his partner, Leo Delgado, policing a Vanguard City. While travelling to David’s family, aliens invade the city. During the invasion David tries to see if his family is well, but his daughter gets kidnapped. The story revolves around David looking for his daughter with Leo’s help.
The invaders of Vanguard City are an alien race called the Lutadores, that speak a little bit of English mixed with gibberish.
Through the use of the GravLink, a device stolen from the invaders, David and Leo can manipulate the gravity around them by either creating zero- or high-gravity fields over a small area. This can be used to lift enemies up from behind cover, or make enemies buckle under their own increased weight.
The Gravlink also allows David and Leo to pick up objects and hurl them towards enemies. This means anything in your surroundings is a potential weapon. There is nothing greater than picking up a car, and hurling it at an enemy hiding behind a small wall.
The game also creates interesting environments through the use of “Vector Shifts”, where the gravity of the player literally changes in a completely new direction. Players can now shoot at enemies on the streets while scaling a wall, or even standing upside down on the roof. These parts of the game are really something to behold as it can mess with your mind when an enemy you are shooting at is running on the wall.
Inversion also offers zero-gravity battles. Throughout the game there are areas completely void of gravity that David and Leo must traverse. In these areas you manoeuvre from cover to cover by moving to different floating debris pieces. These are probably the most frustrating battles you will have in Inversion, as the player will sometimes move to a wrong piece of cover, having you end up right next to the enemy you were trying to flank.
Throughout Inversion there were a number of issues that took away from the potential the game could’ve had to be great.
Controls would sometimes not respond when you want to enter cover; the Gravlink’s gravity attacks will get caught on the cover you are behind, even if you are clearly aiming over it; and melee attacks will fail if you are not looking directly at the enemy, or if the enemy is not standing upright.
Even though there were some polishing issues, the biggest problem was that the gravity manipulation mechanic wasn’t used enough. Throughout the game Vector Shifts only happened in a few scenes and almost fell of the grid after that, resulting in linear levels where you run from area to area. Checkpoints were also an issue, where they would be put before long elevator rides, in-game conversations that can’t be skipped, and even in some cases a good run away from the next combat area.
Inversion’s environments vary from caves and cities, to canyons and mechanical facilities. The cities are beautifully done with a gritty look, and they come alive with some clever effects; buildings and structures collapsing, streets being ripped to shreds and lifting into the air, and whole chunks of signs and walls being ripped apart by bullets and explosions.
The sound of Inversion was solid with no issues or bugs. However, the enemy conversations were extremely annoying, especially with the subtitles on. Throughout the entire game you are forced to watch cut scenes where enemies are talking to each other in their language. As mentioned earlier, there are only a few English words in their language (enough to understand what they are saying).
The problem is, that all the gibberish is not displayed in the subtitles, only the English words. This leaves you reading incomplete sentences. Annoying … talking … enemies … are …
Inversion supports co-op multiplayer, but unfortunately it does not support local co-op. This makes it quite a shame, especially for people like me who love playing a good game with someone on the couch next to you (it makes it easier to punch the person if they mess up).
The online co-op of Inversion is fun and makes some of the more difficult and boring stages of Inversion a lot more enjoyable. Other than the campaign, Inversion also offers various other multiplayer modes that can be enjoyed.
Inversion is a game that tried to bring a new idea to the table, and failed. Throughout the game gravity manipulation is a theme, but after a while the game becomes a normal shooter, where running for cover and shooting the enemies is the only recurring theme. Many of the good ideas such as the Vector Shifts aren’t used enough and the story soon becomes extremely linear. This, combined with the other issues, means Inversion misses the mark.