Saturday, July 21, 2012

The inverse problem

Now I remember! I was going to complain about the incredible spike in difficulty during the second half on Inversion. This was not due to smarter or more numerous enemies but was instead caused by more frequent use of zero gravity areas. Zero gravity areas are not unique here (just like nothing else is unique here) but they do have the distinction of being a little more realistic. You cannot actual choose which direction to move. Aside from the occasional dodge all you can do is point yourself at the next platform and push off towards it. Done at the wrong time this makes you a very slow moving target. Even when it is timed right it isn't what I would call an enjoyable or compelling mechanic. Take one more step towards actual physics by having the character rocket backwards when he fires a gun and I will be impressed.

There is some credit to give to Inversion, and though I am loathe to do so I must admit that the story managed to move from pointless to interesting in the final act. It even managed to answer almost all of the questions I listed a few days ago. The lutadors were indeed from another planet, but the human planet and the lutador planet were nothing more than giant environmental domes on an even bigger ship. As the two main characters fought deeper into the lutador base they actually noted how the technology there were seeing could not have been built by the same monsters that they were fighting, and they were right. Bother species are part of a interstellar zoo and the lutadors broke out of their cage.

Gravity being inconsistent was an ongoing theme and being on a giant space ship explains this as well. Gravity was being artificially created and was not perfect; you run into sections of the ship where the gravity generators are visible and also damaged. This damage to gravity is what drove the lutadors out of their habitat. Something went wrong there that turned their world from something very similar to the human dome to hell on earth. The lutadors survived there for as long as they could, then went looking for resources (which included children, because they were almost all sterile) and eventually found the other domes.

It is an excellent premise wasted on a mediocre game. I would like to see it explored by a developer whose resume is more than four games long, two of which I played and have no memory of.  It would be an excellent setting for a Metroid style exploration or an action/horror Dead Space combo. Inversion has too much story for its own good. It had a good idea and had no idea what to do with it, so it skipped all the difficult, interesting bits and when back to corridor shooting in gritty environments with recycled bosses.

...

Damnit, after a little more thought the bio-domes in space with ignorant occupants idea is not as original as I thought. It's just The Matrix without the 'woah.'



There is also an old science fiction movie whose name I cannot come up with at the moment with a very similar premise. To the internet!

It was Silent Running.

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