They say that all the good ideas are taken -- and that everything is a mere copy of something released before it. In that case, all anyone can do is try to put a different enough spin on something to make it feel different enough. Inversion, the new shooter from Namco Bandai and Sabre Interactive is the perfect example of this; it unapologetically copies the third person shooters that came before it, and tries to add a twist of its own -- a vertical one. It doesn't do much to add to the experience though and Inversion lands not with a thud, but a resounding meh.
Inversion is not a terrible experience; it's just not a great one either. It takes a ton of ideas from games you've already played and recycles them, without doing much of anything to make it feel unique. Big, dumb and dull, it may be worth the bargain bin price it's destined for, but as a full price retail game, it's far from worth it.
You play as Davis Russel, a cop who's daughter was kidnapped following the invasion of some intergalactic baddies known as the Lutadore (no, they don't wear Mexican wrestling masks) who have the ability to control gravity. After some investigating, you find a gravlink, a strange contraption that seems to be the secret to the Lutadroe's powers. And thus you learn the twist to Inversion -- you're able to defy gravity to easily defeat your enemies.
At least, that's the idea. In practice, the gravity defying mechanic does little to make Inversion a more enjoyable game, it in fact does the opposite. It's nothing new really, plenty of shooters and action games from Mass Effect to Psi-Ops have allowed you to the same power, but have done it with better results. Take floating specific objects in the environment for instance -- it's unnecessarily difficult to pick an object, successfully float it and then use it to your advantage. When using the ability, you're constantly leaving yourself open to enemy fire, making it more of a burden than a tool. In fact, I ended up playing the game as a straightforward shooter whenever possible.
Sadly though, it's not like mastering the Gravlink is all that important throughout the game, as even the smallest amount of skill leads to big things. Later on in the game for example, you're given the ability to levitate heavy objects like cars and then lob them at your enemies. It really doesn't matter if you're throwing them anywhere near your target as it will connect in a spew of blood as long as it's in the general vicinity of where you want it to be.
The major problem with the majority of these features is that it all feels incredibly structured, and you're not at all given the freedom to use your abilities in a way that suits your style of play. Objects you'll need to interact with often glow in the environment, and in any given moment, the only item you'll be able to throw is the one you'll need. Inversion doesn't just hold your hand throughout the experience, it grabs it and drags you along for the ride.
Inversion doesn't only copy other games, it also repeats the majority of its own mechanics very frequently. Sections often play out the way -- enter a room, use your powers the game wants you to, kill some guys and repeat. Even the game's bosses are recycled, as you'll have to face off with a number of them -- or at least a form of them multiple times. It really goes a long way in making the game feel that much more repetitive.
Inversion is not a terrible game, it's just not a good one -- at all. It's an adequate shooting experience that does little more than connect the dots already formed by shooters far better than this. You may not regret purchasing Inversion, but you won't be thrilled with it either -- especially considering that the developers are asking full price.