Inversion comes from a land all too common to gamers today, a land where ruined cities produce rubble that is the perfect height for crouching behind; where buff, stereotypical examples of the male race with a suitably manly names shout orders at each other from behind said walls, and who all seem to be able to regenerate wounds by merely hiding until their testosterone heals them. So, in a genre that is clearly able to be mocked so effortlessly for its reliance on repeated tropes, can Inversion breathe any fresh air in to this arena?
You play as Davis Russell, a policeman in a city that could be New York or Chicago, except that all the signs are labelled elsewise with a made up name, but there is really no discernible difference between their world and ours. That is until of course, a strange, primitive yet savage army invades, quickly subduing or killing all in their path. While trying to find his daughter, Davis is captured and taken to an enemy prison camp. There he is kept for several months, until a chance for escape presents itself. The story attempts melodrama, and adds tension by having the mystery of Davis’ missing daughter present as a point, but sadly very little of the script was proof-read, or simply no-one cared, as plot-holes abound, and sometimes I found myself asking more than I wanted to why anybody was doing anything they did. The ridiculous plot-twists, seemingly designed to be as crazy as possible, without any sort of logical grounding, also did not help matters.
To be honest, Inversion is trying very hard to be Gears of War. An invading, possibly alien and incomprehensibly violent race erupts suddenly and quickly destroys the great cities of the world, and it is up to the actions of you and your similarly designed partner, albeit that he is slightly ethnic in some indescribable way. You can even play co-op if you so wish. Inversion quickly tries convincing the player that it is unique through its main advertised feature: a weapon that can distort certain elements around the player gravitationally. Objects can be made heavier, lighter, or can be lifted and thrown at enemies for gameplay purposes. This is indeed enjoyable at times, and the sections where the gravity of the room is altered so that the player walks on the walls or room is always cool, in a very Inception-y sort of way. Sadly though, the whole time I used the gravity beam, the only thing I could think of was Half Life 2, a game that came out 8 years ago and utilized a gravity gun more effectively than Inversion.
Inversion reminds me very much of a game designed by an executive committee who needed to produce a game because of a schedule and contract rather than any real imagination or passion. This has got more benefits than it might sound like. For one thing, the combat does not have any gaping holes, and this can especially be seen in the multiplayer modes, which are varied in quality, and which again imitate Gears of War to a great extent. For those of you who love third person shooters in a Gears of War vain, it will certainly be worth playing this game for the combat alone, which will entertain you for certainly a few hours.
I actually found myself enjoying Inversion sometimes, despite all my criticism, because it was incredibly entertaining in much the same way that a discount “3 for R50” movie starring a no name action star is as well. The acting and line delivery is so wooden as to be breathtakingly funny, and the lines themselves are often so ridiculous or pointlessly dramatic that it is clear that few of the scriptwriters understand how normal humans speak. For me, this is a great source of entertainment, and it may be for you as well, so that is a definite point I wish to admit to. Sadly, the combat, however fun, also travels to too few different locales: there are no interesting set pieces as are to be found in the Gears of War series it imitates. Inversion at the end of the day could be fun for an afternoons renting, which will be enough time to finish the campaign co-op. From there, you can decide whether it is worth your money, although Inversion is somewhat soulless in a very sad way, and it in fact may be better spent elsewhere.