Inversion Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | PC
Inversion Box Art
System: PC, PS3, Xbox 360*
Dev: Saber Interactive
Pub: Namco Bandai
Release: June 5, 2012
Players: 1
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Suggestive Themes

Then all hell breaks loose in about the last third of the campaign, and it's hard to forgive the level of frustration you're forced to deal with as you stagger your way toward the title's merciful conclusion. The difficulty ramps up as you face stronger enemies with more dangerous weapons, and what was once a light and pleasant experience becomes a dreary slog. If you're playing alone, you'll notice that your AI partner is feeling the stress, too, as he bites the dust with increasing frequency. Even the plot, which wasn't exactly Robert Heinlein to begin with (though the game is dedicated to him), takes a turn for the worse.

Inversion Screenshot

Then there are the boss fights. Oh my god, the boss fights. They're overly difficult, too frequent, and repetitive. And by "repetitive," I don't mean that you have to keep doing the same thing over and over again to win -- though there's that too. By "repetitive" I mean that you fight the same exact freaking bosses multiple times.

Hands down, the most obnoxious one is the Slave Driver, a fat guy with a whip, legions of minions, and at least twice as much health as any reasonable game designer would give him. He's protected by a shield, and to get the shield to come down, you have to kill a wave of his followers. Unfortunately, the minions aren't normal enemies with guns; instead, they're deranged, fast-moving monsters armed with melee weapons, so you have to run around the arena erratically to avoid them, praying that you won't get caught on an object or sucked into cover unexpectedly. (You can try hitting them with your own melee attack, but you'll quickly discover that it's almost unusable, especially once an enemy is on top of you.) If you let a minion or the Slave Driver himself get too close, you'll be dead after just a few hits, and you get to start all over again.

Eventually, Slave Driver "dies," and you can play the game in peace for a bit before you come across him again. And again. And again.

If you get sick of screaming profanity at your TV and making your wife mad (or maybe that's just me), you can try the multiplayer modes instead. (Quick note: Multiplayer is online only, which angered some customers who'd been promised otherwise.) Co-op solves the problems with the partner AI, and makes the boss fights a little easier to boot. The competitive modes are pretty buggy, but they're fun in a ridiculous kind of way. In addition to the standard Gears modes (deathmatch, horde, etc.), there are a few gameplay types that take advantage of the gravity features.

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In King of Gravity, all the players fight for control of a single Gravlink--the only way to get points is to get the Gravlink and rack up kill streaks, and the Gravlink provides you a huge tactical advantage over all the other players who are trying to kill you. In Gravity Slaughter, you need to kill your foes with your gravity powers, and in Grav Control, a kill streak earns you the right to flip the arena's gravity so that the layout changes.

With more polish and better use of its gravity gimmicks, Inversion could have been something truly special. And even without that, Inversion could have been a great way to waste a weekend, if only the developers hadn't let the campaign go off the rails toward the end. Instead, what we're left with is two-thirds of a campaign that competently rips off Gears of War, and some multiplayer modes that aren't bad. That's not enough to justify a rental, much less a $60 purchase.

By
Robert VerBruggen
Contributing Writer
Date: June 12, 2012

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.2
Graphics
The style is similar to Gears of War, but the level of detail and polish falls short.
3.0
Control
For the most part they're fine, but some of the gravity effects can be clumsy to control, and the cover system is glitchy.
3.5
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The voice acting is decent, though it doesn't improve the awful story, and the sound effects and music are fine.
2.7
Play Value
Inversion doesn't do anything other games don't, and the final stretch of the campaign is unbearable.
3.0
Overall Rating - Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Play through the compelling story on your own or play with others in either co-op or competitive modes.
  • Learn to maneuver and shoot in an ever-changing state of global gravity, including weightless gameplay in zero gravity.
  • With bullets flying, seek cover objects in the environment or manipulate objects to create cover for yourself.
  • Specifically designed to allow for maximum destructibility using the "Havok Destruction" module.

  • Screenshots / Images
    Inversion Screenshot - click to enlarge Inversion Screenshot - click to enlarge Inversion Screenshot - click to enlarge Inversion Screenshot - click to enlarge Inversion Screenshot - click to enlarge

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