Upside down, boy you turn me, inside out, and round and round…
[Mike Bryant previously previewed Inversion on February 4th, 2011. We feel that an update is in order.]
I’ll be honest—I’m not particularly talented at any game that can be classified as a “shooter". It takes me hours of gameplay before I start to get good (if that ever happens), but I do really enjoy them from time to time. Generally, my biggest gripe is that they’re too similar, and if I’m going to play one, I’ll stick to the Turok franchise for the N64, thank you very much. But when I heard about Inversion, I was intrigued by the idea of a shooter that involves defying (or rather, working with) gravity as a strategy.
The gravity-controlling “Gravlink” is introduced to humans by the Lutadores, invaders from space who definitely do not come in peace. They capture the story’s hero, police officer Davis Russel, as well as his partner Leo Delgado. During the invasion, Russel’s wife dies and his daughter goes missing, and the two men make it their mission to take revenge and find the girl.
The two officers manage to escape their captors, each snagging a Gravlink on their way out. This is really a necessity, since regular guns only do so much when your enemies can force you to the ground or float you in the air with their fancy gravity technology. Can you say sitting duck?
Despite not being able to hit the broad side of a barn with a machine gun, I managed to get a handful of kills with the Gravlink in hand. After
blindly and wildly charging sneaking up on my enemies, I’d hit them with a high gravity-inflicting blast, rendering them more or less still and useless long enough to bash their brains in. The melee attacks are incredibly useful and delightfully gruesome as well. It’s (sadly) more or less the same way I got through Metal Gear Solid 4, but with the added bonus of alien technology!
I definitely did not use the Gravlink, though, to the full extent of its capabilities. Once your targets are floating helplessly, you can send them flying into other enemies, bring them closer for the slaughter, or launch them into the wild blue yonder (because it’s fun). You can also use the Gravlink to send explosives and large objects hurling into enemies, or lift a car and use it as a shield. It’s really quite a nifty weapon that can be used in a wide variety of ways.
Though I can’t yet vouch for story mode, it should be noted that two players can work through it together. It’s a neat feature, and I’m willing to bet “Player 2” having control of Officer Leo Delgado is a lot more useful and engaging than co-op in Super Mario Galaxy. Plus, you can hop on and off at any time, and Delgado returns to being AI.
Multiplayer has several interesting modes, with Hourglass being my favorite. It’s like capture the flag (or base, more realistically) where the entire map flips upside-down whenever a team takes another’s base. This is surprisingly what I was best at, since I can rush in and not worry about things like getting blasted into oblivion (it happens all the time, anyway). Then there’s a more standard free-for-all death match, which can host up to 16 players.
Survival mode is a 4-man co-op mission, which I was absolutely horrible at but was entertained nonetheless. In this mode there is a time limit as well as buckets and buckets of enemies (many of which are very talented snipers). There are also badass mini-bosses along the way.
After February 7th, 2012 when Inversion comes out, I’ll definitely be checking out the story mode and spending some time getting completely (but joyfully) destroyed in the various multiplayer modes. When you start playing online and see that one fool doing barrel rolls and continually hooting at the floor in a circle, that will be me. Have a heart, and put me out of my in-game misery before I get you with the Gravlink and deplete my ammo supply trying to hit a still target. Or maybe you could launch me into something explosive instead—the possibilities are endless.