Don’t look down…
Third-person shooters are such a popular genre in the gaming world today, with plenty to choose from. With the likes of Uncharted and Gears of War at the top of the pile, many others seem to go unnoticed. Enter Namco Bandai and Saber Interactive’s Inversion, bringing a gravity themed twist to the genre. Can Inversion match up with the best of them, or will it be forgotten quickly as many others have been in the past? Read the review to find out.
Developer: Saber Interactive
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Cast in the role as cop Davis Russel along with his partner Leo Delgado, you find yourself caught up in the midst of invasion from an alien race known as the Lutadores. As the city is getting taken over, you race back to David’s apartment to find that his girlfriend is laying lifeless on the floor and his daughter Leila has been taken to a unknown location by the Lutadores. From that point David and Leo embark on a mission to defeat the Lutadores and rescue David’s daughter. In addition to meeting allies along the way, you get to discover the friendship between David and Leo. Although it’s somewhat linear, the story is handled very well and anything but run of the mill. It would’ve been nice if you were given the option to make choices and branch the story out in different direction, but that’s a minor bone of contention in otherwise surprisingly enjoyable tale.
Whilst it’s not the best looking third-person shooter on the market, Inversion still manages to look quite decent overall. The cutscenes are the visual highlight, but the in-game visuals aren’t too shabby either. The Lutadores are quite well detailed, especially the massive bosses that you encounter during different parts of the game. Sadly, explosions and other effects look quite bad. Even the way you reload and shoot your weapon comes across as a tad awkward in terms of animation quality.
On the whole the sound is quite decent with the voice acting being the standout aspect. Not only is it believable, but it’s also enjoyable to listen to. If you pay close attention, you’ll notice that the sound and character lips in the game do not sync together correctly on quite a few occasions. Thankfully, it’s not enough to put you off as the gameplay itself is very much decent.
Inversion is everything that you’d expect from a third-person shooter. Intense, action packed battles with the Lutadores are present throughout the game, with no particular section getting to boring or repetitive. In terms of general aim and how many bullets the Lutadores take, the shooting mechanics are certainly not accomplished as other examples in the genre. On more that one occasion I found myself trying to find out how many of the Lutadores I could take out with a single headshot whilst saving my ammo for later fights. That’s not to say that there isn’t plenty of ammo planted around the city, because there is. You’ll find that you can pick up the Lutadores’ weapons when you’ve killed killed them and turn the tables during a duel. You’re able to carry two weapons at a time and also some grenades which are most useful against the gigantic bosses. You’ll also find rocket launchers and sniper rifles along the way, some of which are needed to get past certain situations that crop up during the game.
Whilst running, the position the camera takes will definitely remind you of Gears of War and is a nice little addition to the gameplay, but it is doesn’t necessarily make Inversion a clone. This is where the gravity aspect of the game comes in and gets comfortable for a large chunk of the game. You’ll find yourself equipped with a gravity (Gravlink) gun, which as you go through the game is able to pick up increasingly bigger object. For example, you can use cars as cover or chuck them at the Lutadores that are coming to attack. You’ll also need to use the Gravlink gun in order to complete sections of the game such as blasting down a door to get through to the next part to progress. There are parts in the game where you’ll find the gravity switches, so the floor becomes the ceiling. You’ll find yourself floating in mid air and having to glide across platforms in order to get across to the other side. There are also sections that require you to take on the Lutadores whilst in mid air and these can become quite tricky as you try to aim and take down the enemy whilst floating. On the whole though, the gravity element is quite enjoyable and helps Inversion from becoming just another third-person shooter.
Playing Inversion through until completion will take you about ten hours. There are 14 chapters to tackle, with each chapter lasting a bit longer than its predecessor. The three difficulty levels help keep the gameplay challenging, especially if you’re plying on the hardest setting. There is a co-op campaign on offer, giving you the option of playing online with a friend. It’s a welcome addition, introducing an element of replayability to proceedings. A Gears of War style horde mode is also present, but (sadly) it’s just not as enjoyable as Epic’s now iconic effort.
Yes, there are many third-person shooters on the market and Inversion is another, but that doesn’t mean it should be dismissed. It might seem like a Gears of War clone at first glance, but delve a little deeper and you’ll find an enjoyable game here that deserves some genuine appreciation. The gravity element mixed with some decent shooting mechanics make Inversion a title that’s well worth (at least) a one time playthrough. Flawed it might be, but that doesn’t make it any less fun.