For the love of the Gimmick.
It isn’t usually a good sign when a game gets delayed multiple times, but Saber Interactive aren’t letting that get them down. In fact, they’ve been so bold as to schedule the release of Inversion to coincide with the biggest gaming press event of the year, E3. While most of my counterparts are down in L.A viewing the biggest and brightest the industry has to offer, I’m stuck in the middle of the road with Inversion.
I’m honestly still puzzled about the single player campaign in Inversion. The story follows two Police officers, in a fairly normal looking city, going about their day, when things start blowing up and strangely dressed thugs with weird guns start coming out of the woodwork. Shortly the city is destroyed, everyone is dead and Davis, the main character, can’t find his daughter.
The origins of the enemy, some of whom resemble enemies from Gears of War while others look almost exactly like bandits from Borderlands, aren’t clear but nobody seems very concerned that these guys aren’t normal. After being captured, forced to work in the tunnels created by this enemy force and subsequently escaping, Davis and his partner set out to find his daughter. Only he doesn’t seem that broken up about the fact that she’s missing, he just keeps stoically saying he needs to find her.
While in custody, our heroes find out that the enemy are using machines to manipulate gravity, and herein lies our hook. Inversion is a third person shooter that is unremarkable in just about every way except for the fact that you get to manipulate gravity sometimes. In battle, the Gravlink, as it’s called, can be used to affect a limited area with reverse, or extra gravity. This can be used to lift enemies from cover and lift objects out of the way. Some objects can be thrown at your enemies, but this ability is available when you first find the Gravlink in the tunnels, then inexplicably locked for the first few levels of the game.
With Gravity being the gimmick that should set Inversion apart from other shooters the Gravlink was largely useless and I found myself forgetting I even had it until I was forced to use it to move an object out of the way to progress. The vast majority of enemies in Inversion are easier to simply take down with your gun. Your gun that looks suspiciously like a Gears of War Retro Lancer, only with a bigger blade.
There are a few times in the campaign where gravity will come into play in other ways. Sometimes you will run into a vast area of low gravity which you can only navigate by shooting from one piece of debris to the next, often caught out in the open with multiple enemies around. Other times you’ll see small, curved gravity wells that will flip the world ninety degrees so you’re now standing on the wall. The view flips with you so the purpose is defeated almost immediately and there is no puzzle to these, you’re forced to enter them to continue on your way. About half of the time the world flipped on me, the cover system simply broke until I flipped back.
Inversion’s campaign is bothersome and forgettable.
If you really want to, you can play the campaign online with one other friend but co-op really isn’t going to save this story so I can’t recommend Inversion on those grounds but there is a competitive multiplayer suite that can offer some fun.
Inversion as a multiplayer game is fast paced and decently fun. Those that find third person shooters slow and clunky may enjoy the action here. While there are a few standard shooter game types King of Gravity is probably the most fun as it is a free for all match where players fight over one Gravlink unit. The player with the Gravlink automatically has a slight edge as he can send opponents flying into the air or pin them to the ground. Kill the king and you can grab the Gravlink unit for yourself.
Inversion’s multiplayer offering is a bit of fun but it isn’t enough to pull you away from any of the big shooters you’re already playing. It certainly isn’t enough to make up for the lackluster campaign. Inversion borrows heavily from a number of other games but it seems to have borrowed all of the things that don’t matter.