Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Review: Inversion (PS3)

With so many shooters out there it's difficult to stand out from the pack. At least Inversion manages to actually be interesting, even if it falls flat in several areas.

You take the role of a police officer named David Russell in Vanguard City. Your daughter is kidnapped following an alien invasion. You're not alone on your search for your daughter as you're joined by your partner Leo Delgado. As you transverse Vanguard City, you'll soon realize that the laws of gravity don't apply.

The manipulation of physics in the game's environments is really where Inversion stands out. At the beginning of the game your character obtains what's called a gravlink, which lets you throw floating objects at enemies and lift up enemies from behind cover. The objects you hurl at enemies include barrels, explosive barrels and cars. Towards the later stages of the game your gravlink receives an upgrade allowing you to knock down floating or suspended objects on enemies to crush them.

The cover system is pretty standard to what you've seen in games like Gears of War or the newly released Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. The cover combined with the gravlink system really opens up the gameplay and lets you approach combat any way you want, aside from instances against specific enemies and bosses.

Another unique element of Inversion is the Axis Shifts. You'll sometimes be transversing a battlefield only to find that the world gets flipped or turned on its side by 90 degrees. So now that you're running on surfaces you wouldn't normally be able to walk on such as the side of a building or a wall. As you can probably tell, it's a little difficult to explain the concept and something you truly need to experience. It is just a shame that these moments are few and far between.

The game can played solo or cooperatively with another person. You're better off playing cooperatively as your AI controlled buddy is fairly ineffective and frequently needs to be revived during boss battles, which take an insane upward turn in difficulty as you get towards the end of the game. (If your AI buddy dies, it's game over for you.)

One of the most frequent boss battles you'll fight is the Slave Driver. The Slave Driver is a fat slob of a monster who has a temporary shield, which cannot be damaged with any kind of weapon. When the Slave Driver's shield is up you must fend off large numbers of slaves who attack you. Some slaves carry weapons, while others have explosives strapped to their chest and explode when they get close enough to you. These battles get recycled, especially towards the later half of the game. These instances can get frustrating as you simply have to kill all the slaves before you can even attack the slave driver as his shield disappears once a group of slaves has been killed.

Inversion also has an online component that is fairly useless. I had no luck finding any games online.

The campaign is a solid adventure that is best enjoyed with another person (rather than the AI!) and the game offers a certain level of "surprise" with some of its unique gameplay elements. It's just a shame that some of these unique elements are not incorporated better or injected more frequently in the campaign. While I wouldn't pay full price for the game, it's definitely worth checking out once the price goes down.

- Siddharth Masand

The Good:
- Gravlink is great gameplay element
- Cooperative play
- Solid campaign

The Bad:
- Small online community.
- Some elements such as the "Axis Shift" is seen too few times in the campaign
- Boss battles feel recycled

Score: 6.5 / 10