Reviews// Inversion

Posted 23 Jul 2012 17:20 by
I'm a little sick of saying, 'there's nothing awful about Game X, it's just not very exciting.' Still... there's nothing particularly horrible about Inversion, but it's not the stuff wet dreams are made of.

It's a shame, because I was looking forward to it. In fact, I was looking forward to it because of Angry Birds: Space. I really enjoyed flinging birds through assorted gravity wells. I actually thought, 'I bet plotting these funky trajectories is what long-range weapons blokes have to do in Star Trek.' I didn't expect anyone to provide me with a game that addressed quite that set of deep space, projectile-related issues, but I thought 'Inversion's a shooter that deals with gravity, that'll do the trick.'

It doesn't do that trick, or any other trick worth writing home about, really.

Maybe I was expecting the wrong thing. But, regardless of that, I think we can all agree that a shoot-'em-up in which gravity is all screwy is a really interesting idea that could provide some very cool gameplay mechanics. Inversion fails to deliver on that promise.

Instead, what we have is another by-the-numbers third-person shooter in which you happen to have a couple of special abilities.

You play as Davis Russel, a copper who has to become a soldier when a strange enemy pops up with weaponry that messes with gravity and leaves his city a floaty wreck. His daughter is missing and blah blah blah etc etc. The plot gets you through the game, but it's not very exciting.

The upshot of said strange enemy and its fancy gizmos, though, is the game's unique selling point, such as it is. You find yourself with weaponry that can increase or decrease gravity, meaning that you can do things such as float enemies out from behind cover and hurl around bits of the environment. That's fine, so far as it goes, but it's not the first time we've seen this sort of mechanic in a game and it won't be the last.

You'll also run across parts of the environment where gravity just isn't behaving as it should. And you'll float through zero gravity combat arenas or wander round on ceilings and walls.

The zero gravity segments are, if nothing else, a step away from your everyday shooter. They're not particularly exciting. The way you traverse the zero-G environment is to look around for a chunk of rubble that's highlighted then tap [A] to hurl yourself in that direction. In effect, it's similar to the cover system that's in operation when you're working in plain old vanilla gravity.

As for the walking on walls ? well, it looks a bit different to walking on the floor. But, it's functionally exactly the same as being on the ground. You're not in control of when you switch planes (the levels are very linear and you get steered from one surface to the next) so it doesn't make a lot of difference to how the game plays.

The screwy gravity does make Inversion visually interesting on occasion, though. Floating rubble and the odd perspective provided by walking on walls twist the old 'ruined city' landscape into something a bit different. Still, the graphics won't win any awards and the heavy weaponry and enemies are straight from the Manly Sci-fi Shooter Cut-Out Book.

All of the above is fine, so far as it goes. It could have been so much more than 'fine', though!
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