Developer Saber Interactive last outing on next gen consoles comprised of the time manipulation game TimeShift. Messing with the fabric of time you were able to stop and reverse time; nothing new to the gaming landscape. It’s the studio’s upcoming title though that will really turn heads.
Inversion is the latest title to come out of the US studio. It looks to rip up the book that bounds the laws and reality of what can go into a shooter and give a unique experience that leads to several gameplay possibilities for this title and for the future. Combine that with very detailed graphics and an in-depth story and this title can really make a mark.
The story consists of the player assuming the role of Davis Russell, a city cop who has his wife killed by invading aliens and it’s up to you to get redemption. You won’t have to be alone in this quest either, Inversion supports co-op via online or split screen so you and your friend can join in some of the gravity manipulation fun.
Primary gameplay in Inversion consists of your usual third person shooter gameplay. You can take cover behind walls and objects using the shoulder buttons to emerge out of cover and shoot enemies. Of course with the dynamic element of the game switching planes on the fly you’re always active in finding refuge of the onslaught of gunfire that will come your way. Add on top of that destructible cover and the game becomes really frantic at times.
The main draw of Inversion is the ability to control gravity. You can manipulate the environments to be as light as a feather or as heavy as 10 tonnes of steel, which is a unique concept that works well and makes for a very robust gameplay mechanic. Every time gravity manipulation is used the gameplay World changes, makeing for a dynamic gameplay element that provides caution and variation. At any point your player can slam his fist into the ground causing enemies to rise, making for easy pick offs, in the same way, the player can shoot beams of blue energy to make less gravity, or shoot red energy to make things heavier. The game implores you to use this tactic by garnishing the environments with crates and boulders above that can squash enemies in a instant, or in some cases you can use gravity to create a floating bubble of lava.
As fun as it is to manipulate objects and matter, your enemies also have the advantage of these powers and use them to put you in some sticky situations. Enemies fire blue jolts of energy and abiding by the laws of gravity you rise up, however you’re not defenceless. While being suspended in mid-air you still have access to your main weapon to pick of enemies.
Visuals are nothing special and won’t take on the likes of Uncharted or Gears of War in the graphics department. What you do get though is visuals that are pleasing to look at and go in harmony with what’s happening within the game world. Lava rivers flow seamlessly next to you while you fight the purge of the alien invasion; boulders and rubble collapse in front of you whilst in transit, all giving a shine to a world that is constantly changing.
Controls are simple, a press of the A or X button dives, giving your character fast access to cover, while the L1 or LT buttons pop you up to shoot a batch of enemies. Gravity control is pulled off with the LB or L2 buttons, gravity control type is shifted between the two types using a click of the right analog stick. The control set-up works and doesn’t ask anything to complicated, serving as an easy way to grasp the game mechanics in next to no time.
Inversion brings a whole new game to the market. The constant changing of gameplay conditions makes for a great and dynamic gameplay experience and hopefully, if successful, this will pave the way for other developers to give this new concept a try.
Inversion launches February 7 on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. You can pre-order your copy here (PS3), here (360).