|System: Xbox 360, PS3|
|Dev: Saber Interactive|
|Pub: Namco Bandai|
|Release: February 7, 2012|
|Players: 1-2 co-op, 2+ deathmatch|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Becky Cunningham
Why would anybody want to be a cop in the world of entertainment? Fictional law enforcement officers have a 95% chance of finding a love interest or family member kidnapped by the bad guys, and Inversion's Davis Russel is no exception. Aliens have attacked Earth and Russel's daughter is missing, leaving him and his partner Leo Delgado to fight off the extraterrestrial foe and rescue the little girl.
The partners begin the game having just broken out of a prison camp, in which they've been enslaved by the invading aliens. They've hijacked the alien technology and have decided to turn it against their captors as they search for their missing loved ones. This technology is a device called a Gravlink, which gives the officers control over the forces of gravity. It's the Gravlink that gives Inversion that extra twist that developers Saber Interactive hope will set it apart from the crowd of third-person cover-based shooters out there.
Inversion's gravity control works in several ways. The Gravlink can create zones of low gravity, which can float opponents out from behind cover, making them easy targets. It can also create high gravity blasts, which can be used to cause objects to crash down into enemies, or simply flatten enemies on their backs. Finally, the Gravlink can be used to pick up and toss objects around, which is useful for damaging enemies and environmental objects
Gravity isn't always in our heroes' control, however. Their alien enemies have some control over gravity as well, and can come at the heroes from the walls and ceilings. Players will need to find cover that protects them from enemies on multiple planes, and use gravity wells that shoot the player onto those different planes. Fighting on the walls and ceilings looks fun from the videos we've seen, and should be an entertaining change from the overly-grounded gameplay usually seen in these kinds of games.
Apart from the gravity-manipulation hook, Inversion treads a lot of familiar ground. Russel and Delgado are typical short-haired, muscular, tough-talking shooter protagonists. Alien invasions are nothing new, and the game's presentation is very reminiscent of Gears of War. The environments are very destructible, which is always a fun feature, especially when considering the addition of gravity manipulation, allowing the player to do things like pick up cars and fling them at enemies. There's some worry about Inversion's gunplay and movement from those who have demoed it, with the weapons feeling lightweight and movement being somewhat clunky. We'll see if those issues are patched up before release.
The main campaign can be played in two-player co-op, and there's a standalone co-op mode that allows up to four players. This four-player co-op involves traversing from one end of a level to the other, fighting off waves upon waves of enemies along the way. The aliens in the co-op mode will make use of cover, just as they do in the main game, so players will need to cooperate in order to avoid being overwhelmed. At the end of the level, players must take on a boss creature together.
Along with the campaign and co-op mode, Inversion has several competitive multiplayer modes. The Gravlink has potential for a lot of multiplayer fun here, with players able to play fun tricks on each other and use gravity to get the upper hand. We've seen a few of the multiplayer levels so far. One, called Hourglass, has players battling over a single control point. One team has high gravity powers, and the other has low gravity powers. Whenever a new team takes over the control point, the level flips over (hence the Hourglass name). There are also deathmatch and team deathmatch modes, where players have to watch out not only for enemy gunfire, but for Gravlink shots that can launch them into the air or pin them down.
With an otherwise rather generic design, Inversion will live or die based on its gravity-twisting gameplay. Will that feature attract gamers and allow the game to develop a long-term multiplayer community, or will it be a flash in the pan? It all depends on how good the gameplay feels, and whether Inversions's developers are able to patch up the issues with guns and movement that have irked preview players. We'll have a final verdict around February 7, when Inversion comes out in North America.
CCC Contributing Writer