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Inversion is all about gravity manipulation

11:00 AM on 02.04.2011 // Hamza CTZ Aziz

Inversion plays a lot like Gear of War. It's a third-person shooter where you're fighting against an alien force trying to take over the world, and has an emphasis on utilizing cover. Even the run button is like Gears with the bouncy, shaky camera.

But what sets Inversion apart from Gears -- and most third-person shooters in general -- is the ability to control and manipulate gravity. In fact, think of this game like Gears meets Dead Space 2.

Inversion (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
Developer: Saber Interactive
Publisher: Namco Bandai
To be released: February 2, 2012

The gravity mechanic is the core gameplay system behind the game, and the gravity defying comes in multiple flavors. You play as a man named Davis who uses a device called the Gravlink that can perform multiple functions. Its main ability is shooting out an energy ball that causes a small area to lose gravity. Normal gravity does eventually return, so you have to be quick about shooting enemies caught in the gravity disruption. This attack is particularly useful when enemies are just hiding behind cover.

The Gravlink can also pull objects towards the player. One example shown during the presentation had Davis holding up a car in front of him as a shield, before throwing the vehicle at his enemies. These gravity attacks can also be used on the player, so simply hiding behind cover won't just be enough. Not to mention that cover, and much of the levels, are fully destructible, too.

Another mechanic with the gravity system are the Gravity Anomoly areas. These are large areas of a level that have no gravity at all, allowing you to float around as if you're in space. These sections reminded me a lot of combat aspect from Dark Void with how you can "fly" around and hide behind cover. The Gravlink is especially useful here, as it can be used like the Bionic Commando arm to pull you into places, as it's your only mean of propulsion.

Last but not least are the Vector Changes. These are special areas of the map that once you've reached, trigger the gravity to shift and throws you -- and everyone else -- onto the side of a building. It's a really cool effect that kind of had an Inception-like feel to it.

I played a pre-alpha build of the game, and I was impressed with where things are at during this stage of development. The combat with the Gravlink stuff was pretty fun and there was just something really satisfying about making a bad guy desperately try to recover while floating around in the air.

There's still a lot of polish and work needed, though. The main issue I had was that I had no idea where I was supposed to be going. I saw no direction or notifications telling me what my goals were. Otherwise, the controls were your standard affair. Again, it's very Gears of War-like.

The developers weren't ready to talk multiplayer, but I was told about the co-op. In single-player, you'll always be running with an AI buddy. Co-op sees a friend taking over that AI partner online or offline. I have to wonder what multiplayer would be like with everyone throwing blasts of gravity bombs at each other; sounds like fun to me.

The entire game sounds like a lot of fun, really. Inversion has a lot of potential; I hope it lives up to it when the game is released next year.

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