It’s not often that you see a unique game within the shooter genre, although it does happen once in a while. Most titles within the shooter genre conform to conventions like Call of Duty or Battlefield while other use gorish themes to set itself apart like Gears of War. Developer Saber Interactive has different ideas though and with its latest title, Inversion, it’s looking to bring a new mojo to the genre. Boasting dynamic gameplay that switches up the game dramatically for or against the player, crisp visuals and compelling multiplayer it’s hard not to take a peek in Inversion’s direction.
Inversion puts you in the boots of Davis Russell a city cop on a normal day out with his partner Leo Delgado. Within minutes they’re thrusted into an invasion by the ‘Lutadores’ and like most story-lines, humanity’s survival is at stake. The story takes a more personal twist and Davis sees his daughter in jeopardy before being knocked out and whisked away to a slave camp. This promotes the scenario whereby Davis and Leo make it their sole objective to find his daughter and learn more. As the game progresses they’re helped by allies that give them more information about the invasion or the ultimate rescue mission of finding Davis’s daughter. In between that the game focuses on the relationship between Davis and Leo and what seemingly is an undying friendship to the end, neither will leave the other behind. From what we’ve played the story progresses at a steady pace and throws different scenarios at the player constantly while bringing narrative twists.
The world of Inversion is in chaos and the game doesn’t give you a break of letting you know about it. City landscapes have seen better times, debris littered everywhere, body scattered and hanging from traffic poles, oh dear. Structured set-pieces happen often within Inversion with skyscrapers crumbling to ground zero at a moments look, holes emerging to block your path forward and, gravity shifts that throw the player in the air and tosses them to another terrain. Character models look solid with the developers going for a butch cop model for the two lead characters, it doesn’t mix up what we come to expect from main characters in shooters but it works well here. Enemies look gruesome and unforgiving, with face paint on their face promoting their savage look and speech. This is emphasised in the different enemy types that range from the skinny to the fat and the – even more ugly – brute type enemies.
The main pull of Inversion is the gravity manipulation. When battling the purge of the invasion the player is able to use two types of gravity to give an advantage within battle. Low gravity makes the enemy float for a short while which in turn takes them out of cover ready for you to line up a head shot. Whereas the other manipulation is high gravity which squashes enemies into the ground nullifying the threat until to take him out for good. While these powers are a godsend ability to have within the game, the chance to upgrade is slow. In what we played of the game we were stuck with level one low gravity for a few chapters, which left little room to have fun. On the other hand this argues the case of the game not giving too much power too soon. The fun that could be had involves using the grav-link to grab stationary fuel floating in mid-air and tossing it at the enemy.
While the primary use of the gravity is to expose enemies, its secondary purpose comes in the form of puzzles and moving objects to make a path for yourself. Throughout the game the player will be asked to use low gravity to move a collapsed set of oil bins or use low gravity to lift a rock and grab it to clear the path. In our experience the game threw them up every so often and makes for a nice distraction from shooting enemies.
Having that in mind the game still conforms to what you’d expect from a third person shooter. The player goes in and out of cover as well as traversing it. You pop in and out of cover to shoot enemies and throw grenades as well as move from cover to cover. A fun twist within the game comes at the zero gravity zones within the city. Players float from A to B which involves jumping and floating from debris to debris. The game mixes up these segments by adding enemies and ends up looking like a set piece from one of the Matrix films. Gravity clouds also make up progression within the game. From time to time the player thrusts their character into a blue cloud with the result being thrown to the ceiling or wall with that becoming the ground you walk on until gravity is restored.
Within our play through we also encountered the multiplayer component of the game which makes for a fun addition. The mode has the usual deathmatch, and team deathmatch options, but multiplayer also uses the gravity element from the single player to make for some unique online play. A King of the Hill variant is present with the person that’s king the only player to have a grav-link and having to defend the onslaught from other players. While the variants of modes are fun, in general most will end up in firefights that end in a lot of deaths for both parties.
All in all Inversion is a fun experience and does bring something different to the table, while also offering a good shooting experience. The multiplayer modes are fun and again mix things up a little. We look forward to seeing how the whole game pans out, but so far it’s looking quite promising.
Inversion is due out June 8 on PS3, 360 and PC. You can pre-order a copy here ( PS3 | Xbox 360).