Author: Heath Flor
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Friday, June 29th, 2012
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Games/Reviews/inversion/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.
Developed by Saber Interactive and published by Namco Bandai, Inversion is a third-person shooter which takes the concept of fighting in anti-gravity and adds a twist of post apocalyptic action with a healthy dose of Gears of War elements.
A group of Mad Max like barbarians called the Lutadores have leveled the city with their powerful gravity weapons, and killed off most of the population while imprisoning the survivors to work in their slave camp. The camp is situated right outside the city in the least likely place to be found -- in the open. How the hell these guys snuck up on an entire modern day city and taken it over is beyond me, but they've done just that.
It's up to you and your partner, a couple of street wise beat cops, to take down the Lutadores. Since you were partners in the police force prior to the invasion, obviously you're the only ones who can save the day. Shortly after the invasion, you're captured and taken to a mine where you learn the secrets of their gravity weapons. Afterwards you escape and take on the Lutadores in an attempt to rescue your daughter.
The plot unfurls like eating a spoiled slab of meat, with each bite tasting more rotten than the last. What's worse is each piece is really difficult to chew without feeling sick to your stomach. To say I think the story is boring and unthoughtful would be an understatement. Instead of engaging the audience with an engrossing tale surrounded by fast action, the intent of the story is lost and falls victim to wild ramblings and a heaping spoonful of WTF moments.
The gameplay is pretty straightforward: step into an on the rails third person shooter and keep pulling the trigger until everything is dead. It's ok if you're interested in mindless violence, but if you were lured in with promises of a more sophisticated game, you're sadly in the wrong place.
Inversion suffers from continuously recycling the same enemies over and over again. In fact even the bosses are recycled a couple times each, making for a very boring experience. If you enjoy having your hand held through an entire game, then you will most likely enjoy the monotony presented by the game. Unfortunately with each passing battle, Inversion falls deeper into a spiraling pit of mediocrity with each fight being more boring than the last.
The weapons aren't really anything to write home about as most of the time the AI can soak up quite a few bullets before finally succumbing to your barrage. Obviously the main focus is on the use of the gravity weapon which can not only make items defy gravity, but can also make them denser and heavier as well. Unfortunately the use of said weapon becomes more of a nuisance than a help, and quickly becomes more like a tool you bury in your junk drawer because you only have use for it once a year.
Not only is the gravity weapon a waste of time, but the developers did very little to implement it in the actual gameplay. Sure there's moments where you'll need to lift a car blocking your path, or swing something around to make a bridge, but in all reality it feels like a very lazy addition and tacked on at the last minute. There's no real intelligent use of the gravity weapon, and it turns into a cheap gimmick rather than a smart tool for puzzle solving.
As for online gameplay, Inversion is another fine example of why not every game needs a multiplayer experience. I say that because there's no one playing multiplayer. There's too many options available on the market to compete with for a player's time, and unfortunately Inversion doesn't offer anything worth logging in for.
I was intrigued with the thought of battling my way through a zero gravity environment. We may face our own space battles in the near future, and I feel we must prepare now or be doomed to have an alien race dominate us. Unfortunately the human race can not rely on me to save the day, as epic gun fights in zero gravity is a bitch.
The problem with fighting in zero gravity in Inversion is you end up fighting the camera just as much as your enemies. With the camera swinging around wildly as you try to grab onto floating debris, a sense of vertigo can easily overwhelm you. Trying to determine which way is up is difficult enough, but adding agile enemies who can kill you in two hits and can attack you from nearly any angle proves to be a maddening experience.
It was during these sequences I had the most difficulty with the game. Luckily they're few and far between. The allure of playing a game in zero gravity is quickly dashed the first time you find yourself floating through the air and realize you can't quickly run to cover. In fact even though I started the game hoping to play most of it off the ground, I quickly realized I much more prefer to have my boots on the pavement and was a bit thankful I didn't have to suffer through too many weightless experiences.
Pop-in and sluggish frame rates plague Inversion from the start. It never goes away, and it never gets better. The cut scenes were crisp and clear, but even they suffered from the constant stuttering which you never quite get over. Also there's a slight pause whenever you're about to hit a group of enemies, which breaks up the action and destroys any hint of suspense. I assume this is due to the graphics engine trying to load the next wave.
I was quite surprised with the amount of destruction available throughout the game. To be fair it could easily contend with the Frostbite engine used in Battlefield. If a developer gets a hold of it and implements it with an engrossing story and intense action scenes, we may see a game worth playing. As it stands, the destruction is really the only thing I enjoyed about Inversion.
If the horrible frame rates and stuttering didn't kill Inversion, the senseless story and boring gameplay finished the job. With the amount of potential available with the concept, I was bummed the game didn't do much in the way of tapping into it. Half-assed attempts to make people play with gravity becomes a nuisance rather than a fun experience -- something which should have had a strong focus in a game centered on the ability to manipulate gravity.
In the end what I truly want from Inversion is the time I put into it back.
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