Why is it that every time a new third person shooter comes out, someone inevitably calls it a Gears of War clone and dismisses it as second rate? Take Inversion, a new gravity defying shooter from Namco. It’s nothing like Gears of War, it doesn’t look as good, feel as good or have the same quality of story. It’s nothing like Epic’s game at all. So what does Inversion have going for it then?
The answer to the above question is not a lot unfortunately. Inversion’s problem is that it just doesn’t stand out from the third person shooter crowd. Sure you have your device, known as the Gravlink, that allows you to manipulate gravity and turns your enemies into floating targets, but other than this, Inversion is about as generic as third person shooters come.
Playing through the game will see you take the role of Davis Russel, a police officer whose daughter is kidnapped following a invasion by the aliens known as the Lutadore. Helping you along the way is your partner, Leo Delgado, who you will constantly be reviving, unless of course he is controlled by a co-op partner (the main highlight of the game), rather than the less-than-competent AI.
Given that there are aliens involved, this means that the rules of physics no longer apply. The Lutadore seem to have figured out how to manipulate gravity using their advanced technology, which is where Inversion says “hey, look at me, I’m different,” without really doing much to back it up.
As mentioned briefly above, Russel has his own way of manipulating physics thanks to the Gravlink, which initially allows him to create pockets of zero gravity. The effects of this device include floating foes out of cover or throwing objects across the screen at the same enemies, using anything from barrels of petrol to cars. While it’s fun to use (there isn’t even a need to be all that accurate), it’s also a little clunky and hardly essential since you can just as easily (perhaps more so) play the game as a third person shooter, with much less hassle.
As you progress through the game, the Gravlink does become a more powerful device, allowing you to manipulate larger areas of gravity. This means you can create makeshift cover using various items lying around the environment and even cause enemies to stick in one spot, making them very easy targets. You can even create makeshift bridges by pulling down highlighted material to the ground.
While it’s a lot more fun when the Gravlink gets more powerful, it’s still a case of too little, too late, plus you have the unnerving feeling that the game is holding your hand far too much.
Perhaps what should be one of the most interesting parts of combat in Inversion is when it takes place within zero gravity, having you float around between each piece of highlighted cover as you try to take down the enemy, well that’s the idea anyway. In reality, due to it being so hard to switch between cover, generally I just stuck in one place, taking the enemy down from there and negating the need to float around.
There are some fun times thankfully, such as when you use gravity to turn the world on it’s side, allowing you to stand on walls of buildings and shoot at your enemy on the streets below (think Gravity Rush if you have played it recently). These ‘Vector Shift’ moments are certainly interesting and make for some fun action, it’s just that for the most part, Inversion plays out like a standard Third Person shooter, and when it’s doing this it’s no more than average really.
Unfortunately things don’t get much better when it comes to presentation. The game doesn’t look bad, but it also doesn’t feel like it’s big budget either. Textures are poor and most of the areas you’ll be fighting in feel bland and unloved. It all smacks of a lack of inspiration really, even the boss fights are repetitive and uninspired, which is all a bit of a shame.
Away from the single player, the developer tries its best to beef things up a little with a selection of multiplayer modes. Unfortunately these seem to suffer from the same lack of inspiration as parts of the single player campaign. Modes included are Standard Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Capture the Flag, while a King of Gravity mode sees only one player with gravity powers until another kills him to steal it, which will no doubt sound familiar (albeit by including gravity, instead of some other perk).
I wanted to like Inversion, I really did, however as it turns out, it’s just another mediocre third person shooter which will no doubt be lining the bargain shelves in a month’s time as we prepare for the influx of pre-Xmas games. There may be value here for some, I for one though would rather go outside and enjoy gravity just the way it is.
Review Policy (version tested: PS3)