Published on January 20th, 2012 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor
Inversion Hands-On Impressions: Part II
Back in September of 2011 we were given our first taste of the Inversion multiplayer. After playing an early build of the game, there was definitely room for a few improvements here and there. Controls, the jumping-roll and a few weapon balancing features, were in the cross-hairs for the developers. While the game still has room to grow as far as completion goes, if the end result is anything like what we played recently, it could have consumers gravitating towards it.
The controls of the game haven’t really changed as far as the original mapping goes. The ‘X’ button is your reload and weapon swap. When you are carrying two primary weapons, you are still able to swap out the armed firepower. The directional pad can also select your weapons but is used mostly to select grenades and your pistol. Firing your weapon is done with the “RT”, which also throws any items grasped with gravity. Gravity can be changed from low to high by clicking in the right thumb-stick. Utilizing both forms of this gravity not only comes in handy but can also be strategic.
So, how exactly do you take a third-person cover shooter to the next level? Adding gravity does have its perks and offers a differing game mechanic. Even areas like Junction expand the layout of the map by allowing you to run up the walls. This map looked to be on the insides of an energy turbine, flaring up a few times over the period of play. The map provided a spacious layout without leaving too much cushion in between kills and spawns.
If you did happen to read through the initial hands-on impressions, you might be curious as to what has changed. After speaking a considerable amount on “What exact changes were in the most recent release?” it was comforting to see these modifications in action.
It was a little frustrating in the first playthrough getting killed after each spawn. Speaking from a first hand experience, it did feel that these spawn points were a little bit more randomized. This made it far less easy to kill, or get killed by having someone spawn right in front of you. Speaking of kills, the weapon balancing of the game also took a few tinkerin’ tips.
I don’t know if it was just me, but the machine gun felt a lot less powerful, but the melee made up for some missed opportunities. Making a connection with the melee did have its quirks. This time around, there was far less frustration in delivering that blow. Even if you were hit with a blast of gravity and sent up in the air, the response time to pull out your weapon was a lot quicker than before. There was an essence of tighter controls making it far easier running into battle and sticking someone with that big ol’ blade.
As a third-person cover shooter, mobility of your character is usually where the game finds its center. When the game involves a cover system that can determine whether or not you survive, it is imperative that this be a sound mechanic. The leaping and wall sticking seemed a lot more responsive in this build. It was less clunky and the animations seemed to play a large portion in this. Having these improved controls could make or break a multiplayer experience.
At its core, Inversion is similar to other third-person shooters out there. Cover mechanics allow you to hide behind obstacles and sprinting towards these areas must go off without a hitch. The early build did show some of its imperfections after getting caught up on various rock formations. These blemishes were encountered here and there but didn’t dampen the mood for the overall multiplayer experience. With the added feature of gravity, there is a little more room to work with than your typical Deathmatch, King of the Hill and other objective based modes.
While we only previously played Deathmatch, here are a few others that we saw on this particular demo day:
In this mode players get extra points for doing exactly what the title says. Run and find the gravity you need in order to be the #1 gravity stunner. Receive 1-Point for kills with a gun, but 2-points for kills involving gravity. It is so easy to grab single kills to stack up the points. Playing with gravity allows you to get a little creative and strategic in your death dealings. There were also times where we were scavenging just to pick up a tiny bit of gravity to pull out in the lead. This one was also played on Junction and offered a wider playing field.
King of Gravity
Like any other King of the Hill modes, this one pits you with gravity as a flag or “skull.” Players must kill off one another to gain access to the gravity and only the player that has picked up the pack can use it. This was one of the more fun modes, leaving players in a frantic scurry to grab the pack and make it away alive. Points are added to your score for kills you get with the pack and for killing off the person holding it. The standout of this level was the use of the Lava Gun, yes Lava Gun, in order to kill off a would be gravity picker. Players also found unique ways to hideout in the map and pick up a few extra kills. This mode had players in a frenzy gunning each other down to get a piece of the pack.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say Inversion is leaps and bounds better than when we saw it in September 2011. However, the game does show apparent progress and is shaping up well. While we were promised that it was being “…tested and retested” in terms of the multiplayer itself, there are still things that the outside eye of the gaming community would be able to pick up on with a demo release. At this point, there is still no sight or thought of a demo. Becoming comfortable with the controls and being able to play the King of Gravity mode had me squirming to get kills and had fun doing it.
Photos by: Joey Mercado