Inversion for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC looks a bit like Gears of War, and at times plays like Gears of War, but is it as good as Gears of War? Stephen Ebert finds out in our Inversion review.
Inversion is set in the near future in a place called Vanguard City. Naturally it’s all happy days to begin with. Cop Davis Russell is about to end a days hard work, with a visit to his daughter, until a bunch of invading mutants and their penchant for destroying cities puts his plans in disarray.
With the city crumbling, and his daughter missing, Russell teams up with fellow fellow cop Leo Delgado in a two-man army against the Lutadore, armed with an assault rifle and gravity-defying super weapons.
It all sounds very decent. And it is. Inversion is a competent shooter that does a lot of things right. Inversion has its share of great moments and boss battles. It just lacks the wow factor. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore it.
Things start off in slow fashion, but play on and the set-pieces, levels, and action become more grander, more Hollywood-esque. More Gears of War, even. You cannot help but compare this game to Gears of War, right down to the running action your character does. Inversion isn’t quite on the same level, but it does at times come close to replicating the experience with a lot of the things it does right.
While Gears of War does everything better, the action almost never lets up. The action is big on scale, and big on firepower, with lots of on-screen enemies to keep players busy, and ducking and diving in between and behind cover.
The controls are executed well enough to send players diving between cover with just the tap of a button, offering players enough protection without putting them in unnecessary danger due to poor controls. Fans of cover shooters will find plenty to keep them entertained.
As things get more intense, the action gets better still thanks to a gravity-defying gun called the Gravlink. It lets you suspend the forces of gravity to send enemies cowering sky-high for easy pickings, clears obstacles from your path, and lets you fling heavy objects at enemies, adding a welcome variety to the way you kill those who get in your way.
The anti-gravity theme persists in later levels, throwing them upside down as you find yourself fighting on the ceilings, walls and sides of buildings battered by the devastation around you, with fire coming at you from all angles. It feels like a moment of genuine originality in a game that entertains, but lacks in identity.
A multiplayer mode offers a not too shabby respite, letting you use the gravity gun in fun ways to flip the battlefield, take on players in death-match, and fight CPU enemies in maps that flip around for an occasionally welcome diversion from the single player mode.
Speaking of identity, Inversion never feels like its own adventure. It’s impossible not to think of Inversion as a budget Gears of Wars clone lacking the polish and precision control of the famous series. The mechanics are almost the same, but never feel quite as smooth. Everywhere you look, Inversion has a certain roughness around its edges, which some will say adds to the charm.
The enemies on the other had are utterly forgettable, look the same, and lack any real personality to make you really care about killing them, in action resembling a repetitive conveyor belt of death. It’s all the more disappointing that, despite the awesome gravity gun, the range of weapons is limited mostly to an assault and sniper rifle and a shotgun. In fairness, this is a complaint that can also be levelled at Gears of War, which itself had a poor weapon selection.
The bottom line
Inversion isn’t a bad game by any means. It has its moments, without being anywhere near outstanding. Borrow it off a mate, finish it, and then give it back.