If Saber Interactive doesn’t have a very well used copy of Gears of War in their studio we’d be very surprised. Not only have they managed to emulate the look and feel of Epic’s gung-ho trilogy, but even the menus and a few of the play mechanics have been shamelessly copied. We’re not just saying this simply because both are third-person shooters – Inversion’s enemies often appear from holes in the ground and at one point it’s speculated that they’ve been hiding under the surface for years. Sound familiar?
At least Inversion’s enemies are slightly removed from the usual assortments of muscular mutants and hostile aliens. They’re a primitive race of barbaric humans known as the Lutadores, who speak in broken English and believe in making grizzly sacrifices.
The first couple of hours are heavily story-driven and do a good job of drawing you in. The desire to find out where Lutadores come from and why they’re forcing mankind to become their slaves and taking children away gives a good reason to keep playing.
The Lutadores don’t just bring death and destruction to Earth when invading – they come clutching some impressive technology that there’s no way they could have created themselves. Again, the want to find out where they got these items from is another thing that makes the story a curious one.
The most impressive device they carry is known as a Gravlink, which is able to distort gravity. Once in your own hands enemies can be picked up and thrown through the air, snipers can be pulled out from their cover and once fully powered-up large objects such as cars can be lobbed. There are low-gravity sections too, much like those in Dead Space, in which you float through the devastated environments boosting your way from one piece of cover to the next.
After the first few hours of play the story rapidly loses pace. It becomes apparent that you aren’t going to learn about the Lutadores’ motifs any time soon and once lead character Davis and his AI controlled buddy Leo join a group of freedom fighters Inversion turns into a pretty mundane shooter.
Bosses are recycled extensively – with one re-appearing no less than four times – and some sections feel like the developers simply forgot the fact that the heroes have the ability to walk along walls. It’s a pity as some of Inversion’s more innovative sections hint at how brilliant it could have been – the mission where you have to walk down the side of a tower block raining bullets on the enemies in the street below is a case in point tadacip cipla.
One thing that does surprise is the difficulty level. We died more times in Inversion than in any other recent third-person shooter. This was not just because Davis can only take two or three hits before falling to the floor, but also due to some unfairness. Cheap deaths are plentiful – brainwashed slaves sometimes attack from behind with pickaxes, killing you instantly, and also occasionally run towards you wearing explosive devices. The obtuse checkpoint placing doesn’t help the difficulty level either.
Things pick up a little towards the end, especially once the incredibly overpowered and self-explanatory lava gun becomes available, but rather than ending on a high Inversion ends of something of a downer and never draws you in again in the same way that the first few hours manage to.
Multi-player modes are available for those wanting to get more play time out of their purchase. Sadly, Inversion’s launch week sales weren’t too great, which is more than apparent when trying to find matches online. The lobbies are ghost towns and try as we might we weren’t able to experience the two ‘big team’ 12 player modes due to lack of participants. We did play some of the four player modes though. The deathmatch mode is a pretty standard affair, albeit with the ability to pin enemies to the ground or raise them into the air with the Gravlink. An unfair advantage? Possibly.
More entertaining, and certainly one of Inverion’s highlights, is the four player co-op survival mode. Here you fight three or four waves of enemies – with each wave lasting ten minutes or so – and once a wave has been vanquished you move from one area to another. Waves aren’t random so things do quite quickly become predictable, and one odd design choice is that all four players share 12 lives. Weaker players can really hinder the progress of other players. In fact, if you reach half way and only have one or two lives left between the team then you may as well just head back to the lobby. Another odd design choice is that there are only three maps per each multi-player mode and although XP is earned from each kill – and also gained from meeting certain criteria – it takes far too long to raise up the ranks.
This year has already given us a bumper crop of shoot ’em ups such as Max Payne 3, Ghost Recon: Future Solider and the surprisingly good pairing of Binary Domain and Spec Ops: The Line. Whereas these games thoroughly entertain, Inversion only ever manages to mildly engage in fits and starts.