I’m sitting down to write this review for Inversion and I’m having trouble. How do you review a game that draws so heavily from another popular title? Do I just ignore the fact this third-person cover based shooter plays a lot like another game? Or that he primary weapons and enemies look a lot like the ones from that game? If you take a well-loved gaming series and add a new mechanic, in this case gravity control, is it sill considered a “clone” of that other game? The thing is despite a lot of similarities to another “Epic” game I had a lot of fun playing Inversion. That is not to say it does not have issues because it does, but for me the most important thing about a game is if I have fun with it. So, lets start with what makes Inversion fun.
It is the unique gravity control aspects that kept me going through Inversion. Fairly early in the game you get a gravlink which lets you control gravity in a localized areas. The campaign on normal took me a little over 8 hours to complete. During that time using the gravlink to launch enemies in the air or crush them under falling options never got old. There were levels where I barely even fired a weapon because grabbing a guy with the gravlink and throwing him at anther enemy would crack me up every time.
The other fun gravity aspect was the sections where the gravity is skewed. There are zero g areas where you can float around anywhere or launch from object to object. These areas were enjoyable because the cover you’re using moves from just the standard walls to being anywhere around you. The other fun areas are when you’d get to a gravity pad that flips the game world on it’s side or upside down. You do get a little disorientedat times but the change in where the enemies are coming from adds a neat new perspective to a third person shooter. These changes in pace kept things from getting to repetitive.
The other fun thing is the unique weapons and the environments. The lava gun by far is my favorite. It is almost like a flame thrower but the flames never go out and it has a longer range. There were a couple different rocket launchers which were both fun to use, and a massive sniper rifle that had a great zoom on it. There were a couple spots where you get to man a turret as well. Those sections were great because there was unlimited ammo and no overheating. Mowing down waves of enemies with those turrets felt good because some of the other sections I was looking for ammo just to have enough in case I hit an area with nothing to throw at enemies. The other great thing is that large portions of the map can be destroyed. I blew up and burned down enough buildings to fill a city playing this game.
Those areas of the game were fun but there were some parts of the game that were quite frustrating. The biggest one for me was that early on in Inversion you get a fully upgraded gravlink that you can use for about 10 minutes. You then lose it and spend over half of the game getting your gravlink upgraded to the point that the first one was. This type of game mechanic drives me crazy. Just give me the fun stuff and let me use it the whole game. There was also a couple section near the beginning where you have to walk across a narrow beam. These sections require you to keep your character balanced or you will fall. While there were only a couple spots like this they were really annoying. I don’t see why they were added as the don’t fit with the rest of the gameplay. They really slow the pace down.
The other thing that bugged me was the actual story of the game. I don’t want to spoil too much, but lets just say this one was odd. I can deal with an odd story but this one came out of the blue for me. You play as a cop who happens to be in the city when some weird stuff starts happening. So, the whole game you play from this perspective of not quite knowing what is going on or why. Two thirds of the way through the story it takes a turn I did not see coming. It is not to say any of these things are bad in themselves, but combined with the game being somewhat of a tragedy the story just bugged me. If I play through a second time it might be better but all the different components to the story just bugged me the first time around.
Inversion is one of the games that is not great but can still be a lot of fun to play. The campaign has local or online coop, and playing through with a friend would make things even more fun as you use the gravity powers in unison. Still, solo I’d say to give Inversion a try if you can find it at a decent price.
A copy of Inversion for Xbox 360 was provided to us for this review from Namco.