We often desire going back in time to fix everything when it's too late --here is the occasion: play this game.
This has been 38 days ago, and albeit the pain about his impotence in face of the catastrophe is real, all does appear yet so surreal "like some faded memory of another life." But which is this hollow reality they used to know, so visibly showing its weaknesses now a loosened gravity lets things aflow, and why physical principles are getting shifted anyway in this but so familiar place?
This sudden "inversion" having turned Russell's world upside down, with streets and buildings twisted like in an Escherian picture puzzle, how can those tribal savages called "Lutadores" be possibly responsible for a gravitational phenomenon of this dimension? Torn to pieces and swarming with enemies this isn't Vanguard City anymore; but perhaps it too is just some spaceship floating in space, another hidden truth behind a now shattered reality nobody was aware of, a life lie... The Lutadores, brutish men and amazonian women, are bringing the children somewhere so here is where hope is left: to find Davis' daughter Leila in all this bottomless mess.
Gravity used for both narrative and gameplay purposes is what makes the difference in this third-person shooter applying the well-approved Army of Two men constellation in either single or co-op mode to a Gears of War or Bulletstorm-like context. But whereas the blue Low and red High dynamic Gravlink powers manageable by means of the Omnitool-Rig the Lutadores brought along might recall Mass Effect's bionic or Dead Space's telekinetic techniques as do the adrift Zero-G zones, the combination of elements Inversion uses for its not too predictable story makes it peculiar.
Still, the campaign mode has its undeniable flaws: frequently taking or moving in cover seems inevitable when hordes of well-armed aggressive enemies are attacking from --literally-- all sides, but for the most time the cover-system does not obey as fluidly as one might wish (or need), neither in normal gravity situations --on their way through streets and prisoner camps--, nor when seeking cover behind floating debris in zones of altered gravity. Also the obligatory bosses while not too easy when tackled alone with a suddenly not at all helpful AI partner are unnecessarily repetitive so that one has to confront the same foes, like the Slave Driver with his zombie-like crazed-out minions, several times in a row.
Requiring to throw lava blobs and pull down containers, the boss fights make however better use of the consecutively upgraded Low and High Gravity powers, whose main purpose remain yet complementing the traditional firearms --Sniper, Pulse, Energy, Assault rifle (with Bayonet in the Lutadore scrap metal version), Sawed Shotgun, Rocket launcher, Flamethrower-- while the game refrains from employing them for other gameplay facets such as the telekinesis puzzles familiar from Dead Space.
What puzzles most, however, are still the story's actual circumstances: the gravitational anomalies controlled through the Lutadores imbued with their guru Kiltehr's malefic spirit. To tackle them, the Gravlink device locally provides quite some practical possibilities, though resource and time-limited its powers have to be well-dosed in order to get along: in addition to selecting, moving, and throwing objects like rubble or fuel barrels, enemies can be shocked or lifted out of cover using the levitating LowG, while the HighG acquired later on permits to crush objects and enemies alike, or to make a suspended object fall thanks to a temporary heaviness increase. Controls work equal in both cases upon just pressing Left Shift in order to turn light blue into heavy red powers and vice versa.
Naturally, gravity dominates also the destructible environment: balancing across fallen planks gets as necessary at times as diving between blue-outlined pieces of debris in areas of skewed gravity, whereas static or dynamic "vector shifts" allow or even force Davis and Leo as well as the Lutadores themselves to proceed along another plane where the wall becomes the floor or the ceiling, reorganizing the pieces as if in a kaleidoscope.
Well-nigh Newton's Nightmare, the gravitational gameplay elements for both movement and combat outline also the ambitious multiplayer where controls work in quite a more fluid and intuitive manner than in most of the singleplayer campaign. Letting one play as either Human (Uprising/Civilian) or Lutadore (Soldier/Light) the different game modes and maps which in cover mechanics and scenery may recall Hybrid or Mass Effect 3 include gravity and objective-based Grav and Skirmish modes for up to 12 players, as well as the yet known "vectors" to be attacked or defended or even changed in order to turn the map upside down, while Deathmatch or Survival mode against waves of progressively stronger enemies cater to the more common multiplayer habits. Besides "Matchmaking", the complimentary "Create Match" lets one compose a party's custom match out of eight different game modes (Hourglass, King of Gravity, Grav Control, Gravity Slaughter...) and ten splendid maps (Verge, Junction, Flyover, Skyline, Geostation...) taken from the futuristic areas explored during the campaign and providing sufficient space to experiment with the novel controls. Additional game options (Score Limit, Weapons Set, Gravlink Abilities…) permit to predefine the matches to one's liking, while completing the Basic, Weapon, Rank challenges help earning additional XP: a pity only that the obligatory GameSpy ID seems to be impeding wider co-op and multiplayer possibilities here.
In many aspects the 14 chapter-long campaign --Inversion to Reversion-- appears a descent to hell: the large-scale gravitational weapon that appears having distorted Vanguard City's gravity planes also ruined the environment whose lava rivers and red skies make it resemble the Lutadores' own devastated territory. --But where did they really come from? Massive Zero G-fissures finally lead to some underground area --that again befools perception for opening to battle-worn space installations apparently supervised through vigilant bots overpowering the Lutadores their way. And to Kiltehr who seemingly has the key to all this in his hands...
Inversion surely doesn't max out its full potential: the gravity skills appear rather accidental and not worked out as likewise the bionics of Mass Effect and the like; the cover system often represents an obstacle to a more cautious approach rather than a help; the delusions are not those of Dead Space, and the friendly AI --recover the partner and be helped-- does not really permit to act as a true Army of Two when playing alone. However, in addition to more than decent graphics and a suitable soundtrack, it still has potential, thanks to gravity providing additional gameplay options which make both singleplayer campaign and multiplayer modes different from many other comparable cover-based third-person shooters.
"Life often makes us regret things we've done and things we haven't. We often desire about going back in time to fix everything when it's too late." --Here is the occasion: play this game.