Gamescom 2011: Inversion Hands-On Co-Op Preview - Upside Down, Round and Round
Written Tuesday, August 23, 2011 By Lee AbrahamsView author's profile
In a world where gravity is a pain in the ass, you are the only hope to try and keep people's feet on the ground – or something. After our last hands-on with Inversion the game could have gone either way, as the generic third-person action was spiced up with the rather nifty Gravlink. This weapon is pretty much the ace in the hole for Inversion and provides the player with a number of alternative mechanics and strategies with which to batter hordes of foes.
Stepping into the shoes of Davis Russel, a man who has seen his wife killed and daughter abducted by nameless invaders, you have to determine what the hell is going on as well as piecing together your shattered life. This time we weren’t alone as we got to sample some co-op action first hand, with our partner Leo Delgado watching our back. For anyone familiar with similar titles then you’ll instantly feel at home ducking into cover, flanking foes and having to pick up your partner should they get downed in the heat of battle.
We also tinkered with the Gravlink to the best of our ability too. As the game's unique selling point it provides a lot of interesting ideas and opportunities that prevent Inversion from becoming just another stale run-and-gun shooter. You can use the gravity power to pull enemies out of cover, grab objects to use as weapons or even snag items to use as shields and the like. It all works at the touch of a button and feels totally organic with the environment, though obviously your enemies are similarly equipped so you have to be on your toes to avoid being dragged to your doom.
Gravity wells allow for a shift of perspective, and combat, as you find yourself suddenly fighting across the side of walls or the roof itself. Looking above your head, you spot several allies being ambushed on the street that you were previously walking down so you can take a moment to quickly snipe them and clear a path, then use the Gravlink to grab their now discarded weapons and continue on your way. With attacks literally able to come from anywhere and everywhere then you really have to be on your toes. Though you can also use the gravity wells to your advantage, by arcing grenades around corners or crashing through a wall to take your foes by surprise.
The end of the hands-on was more predictable fare, as we approached a manned turret and were handed a huge rocket launcher to take it out. One player drew its attention while the other quickly lined up a shot, all the while being assaulted by ground troops intent on crushing whatever resistance was left. This section showed off the wide range of destructible scenery once again, with walls crumbling under fire and cars gradually being destroyed and then exploding if you dithered too much. If anything the out and out shooting is the weakest part of the overall package, as things seem far more interesting when you are constantly shifting planes and using the Gravlink in sneaky ways.
As well as the two player co-op which, due to the inordinate amount of physics required to make the Gravlink work, will be a rather linear experience there will also be online multiplayer with the chance for eight on eight deathmatches. With every player having access to a gravity gun then you have to wonder what kind of carnage will be unleashed, though no doubt there will be limitations placed on its use to prevent things from descending into farce.
On the whole we are still on the fence with Inversion, as a third-person shooter it works very well without having the panache and story of some of the bigger games. The real key will be in making the Gravlink an interesting tool throughout and hopefully throwing up some interesting situations that allow you to use it for more then mere offensive purposes. Just having a gimmick may not be enough, as Dark Void found out to its cost, and Inversion is going to need a solid story and an engaging narrative in order to really pull players in.
Inversion will be landing on, or floating off, shelves in the US on February 7th and Europe on February 10th, 2012.