At first glance Namco's newest action game, Inversion, looks like a breath of fresh air in an already overcrowded genre. With its wacky gravity gimmick, large bosses, destructive environments and explosive set pieces, it wouldn't be hard to cut an impressive trailer that makes this third-person shooter look like the must-own Xbox 360 game of the summer. There's just one problem: A three minute trailer I can handle, but six hours of Inversion feels like a punishment.
This is the story of Davis Russell, police officer and family man. He's mellowed out since having a daughter, much to the dismay of his hot-tempered partner. When aliens suddenly attack their home city, these two heroes leap into action to save the day. Before long they're shooting futuristic soldiers, all while buildings blow up around them.
But Davis isn't very interested in saving the world; he just wants to find his daughter. Word is that these invaders have spared the children, instead enslaving them and taking them to their home base. Davis and his partner, Leo Delgado, don't know if this is true, but it's the only shot they have. So the two men set off on a thirteen chapter adventure to save Davis' daughter and save the world.
In case Inversion looks familiar, it's because this is nothing more than a blatant Gears of War rip-off. I don't say that to be cheeky, nearly every inch of Namco's newest game looks and feels like it was rejected by Mark Rein and Cliff Bleszinski of Epic. The basic idea is to hide behind boxes and walls for cover, wait for the perfect moment and then shoot, shoot, shoot. You do this every step of the way, essentially running from one covered spot to the next hoping to not die.
From time to time you'll see a spark of originality. The gimmick here is that the aliens have brought wacky physics with them, allowing people and objects to float. They can also shift gravity, allowing players to literally fight on walls and scurry around the ceiling. This leads to some creative firefights where you're forced to not only worry about the enemies in front of you, but also about the bad guys on the ceilings and walls. Even if it's a gimmick, I had a lot of fun running along the sides of skyscrapers in the early parts of the game.
Eventually you're given control over a gravity gun, which should be the start of creative level designs and physics driven puzzles. Your gravity gun has a couple of different modes, including one that makes everything float and one that weighs things down. You can use the heavy gravity to lower bridges and make it impossible for enemies to walk. The light gravity is fun because it allows players to make enemies and other objects float, allowing you to grab onto them with your tether and throw them at bosses and other baddies.
Sadly, that's about the extent of the gravity gun. The developers never found a way to do much more with this gimmicky mechanic, so they chose to just repeat the same types of puzzles over and over again. Pretty much every boss battle is won by weighing him down with the heavy gravity and throwing red explosive barrels at them with the light gravity. Inversion feels like it's only scratching the surface of what's possible with a gravity gun. I find the game's simple-mindedness to be irritating; this should have been so much more.
Inversion is yet another derivative third-person shooter with a gimmick. This time around you control gravity in the most limited way possible. Although there are plenty of strong moments, the game is ultimately brought back down to earth with the never ending cinemas, repeating bosses, ugly graphics and frustrating level designs!
This product was submitted by the publisher for review. As a rule, Defunct Games does not review games we spent money on. However, that does not always apply to classic/retro games. This specific product, however, came straight from a PR guy for the purposes of being reviewed!