Inversion PS3 review
Inversion PS3 review
On so many levels, Inversion is like a cheesy action movie, the kind that usually stars Steven Seagal. You can almost hear the trailer: “Just an ordinary guy…” – who happens to have biceps the size of locomotive pistons – “…thrust into extraordinary circumstances…” – which is certainly one way of describing an invasion by a bloodthirsty race of aliens who have somehow gained mastery over the laws of gravity. “He decided to fight back…” – by slaughtering the rampaging hordes almost single-handedly, no biggie – “…to try to save his family…” – and the whole world. Don’t forget that last bit.
The similarities continue with regard to the script, which is laughably clichéd, and some of the set-pieces: do you think that precariously balanced bus might come crashing down just as we walk past it? Yet just as there’s some joy in losing yourself to the Under Siege movies and a bottle of bourbon, Inversion has undeniable charm once your switch your brain to ‘simple’.
By and large it plays like every middling cover shooter from the past five years, with a nod of the head to Gears Of War that’s so pronounced it likely gave itself neck strain. The beefy characters are almost as wide as they are tall, yet can roll and dive around cover like teenage Russian gymnasts, and the chunky weapons have nice big blades on the front. Most of the game plays out similarly – snap to cover, roll about a bit, break open some alien heads, proceed – and while it doesn’t have the sharpness or impact of the likes of Uncharted or Max Payne, the mechanics are all solid enough. Boss battles, which manage to avoid being a chore thanks to their generally short length, and the odd varied objective (taking out gun emplacements, sniper battles and so on) also help to keep interest levels up.
But, of course, the twist is the gravity-bending of the title. Using the alien tech Gravlink you can lift enemies out of cover, levitate and then throw objects, or invoke ‘heavy’ mode to bring things crashing down from the ceiling. It’s not enough to elevate this from the pack, but it does allow for some enjoyable experimentation and different advancement options when faced with a rubble-strewn street full of ET’s ASBO-flaunting cousins. Your Gravlink also gets upgraded as the game goes on, enabling you to fling bigger objects such as cars in true Magneto fashion.
The 12-player multiplayer offering is somewhat confused. Robust and regenerating health means that firefights last more than a few seconds, and can evolve into cat-and-mouse affairs/degenerate into hysterical circle-strafing mania, which is definitely a good thing. The gravity mechanic has also been incorporated well, with modes that give more points for Grav-assisted kills or place only one Gravlink on the map. The real problem is that there’s absolutely no atmosphere: the whole thing sounds akin to playing in a (extremely violent) library, or at the bottom of the sea.
After a number of delays it’s good that Inversion is seeing the light of day, and despite its presentational flaws – the script is married to some deeply underwhelming visuals – and lack of true inspiration, solid implementation of both the basic mechanics and the wannabe game-changer mean it floats our boat, even if we’re not flipping out.