With a name like Inversion, you just know that not long after booting up the game some crazy, gravity-defying shenanigans are going to ensue. This is actually the game’s selling point. It’s the feature they want you to know about, because in the end, it’s the only thing that sets this game apart from the myriad other shooters in the market. It’s unfortunate that its gravity-manipulating feature couldn’t quite save this horribly tedious game.
Story-wise, Inversion recycles a half dozen overused plot points we’ve all seen so many times before. You have Davis Russel, the vengeful father, who’s searching for his daughter after his wife is killed. Aliens are soon introduced into the mix, naturally, and that’s where he gets the Gravilink, which gives him the ability to manipulate the gravity in an area.
This feature sounds great on paper–you can increase or decrease the gravitational pull, slamming enemies into the ground or lifting them in the air. The latter is particularly useful when you need to get some enemies out of cover. Curiously, they don’t seem to care at all when you lift them, pull them, blast them, etc. They don’t come off terribly realistic, because they don’t act like an enemy would if they were being hauled out of the relative safety of their cover so you can get an easy head shot.
The Gravilink has a few other uses; it can push enemies away with a concentrated blast of energy, cover Russel with a temporary shield, or invert the world around you. That last one is easily the most interesting, as it flips the world upside down so you can fight on the ceiling.
The enemies are very video game-y, and sadly, so are the bosses. These guys are less of a temporary diversion from shooting waves of baddies and more of an endurance test. They’re bland, uninspired, and outstay their welcome. The same boss is recycled multiple times and the fights with him can get incredibly frustrating. With the option to invert and manipulate the world around you, I would’ve liked to see the boss fights really make use of that. Instead, we’re forced to trod through the same fight over and over and over again.
One of my main issues with Inversion is how weak your guns and abilities feel. The weapons feel about as satisfying to shoot as BB guns and are only slightly more effective. The Gravilink has some interesting and genuinely fun uses, but the effect it can have on the world and the enemies that occupy it is too limited. The controls, led by an unwieldy targeting system, are horribly unpolished and can lead to more than a few frustrating moments. These are issues that could’ve been fixed with a little extra development time. Instead, the game ends up feeling rushed.
One of the few saving graces here is also the most surprising. The competitive multiplayer can be incredibly fun. You’re separated into two groups and each team is armed with a Gravilink that increases or decreases gravity. This leads to some crazy, and often hilarious battles with players either being flung into the air or slammed into the ground. The levels also rotate, depending on which team is winning. The multiplayer is easily Inversion’s strongest feature, and it’s actually a little surprising that they didn’t just follow Section 8 and scrap the single-player altogether to focus on the one thing in this game that actually works.
Inversion is not a good game. It’s an unpolished game with a single good idea, the Gravilink, and that’s really not enough to carry the entire experience. The multiplayer alone makes Inversion worth a rental, but I suggest skipping the intensely boring campaign.
Reviewed By: Adam Dodd
Publisher: Namco Bandai
This review is based on the PlayStation 3 version of Inversion provided by Namco Bandai.