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Game Review

Inversion
xbox 360
1-2 players/ online multiplayer
Rs 2,499

The key feature of the game — the ability to manipulate gravity — is poorly implemented and shines through only in parts.

The mundane story follows Davis Russel, a cop in search of his missing daughter in the aftermath of an invasion by a race known as the Lutadore. The Lutadores are cookie-cutter enemies that serve mostly as bullet-sponges in between tedious cut-scenes which drive the narrative forward. Inversion attempts to shamelessly rip-off the look, feel and gameplay of Gears of War, but manages to do only a half-decent job.

The standout feature is supposed to be the GravLink Gun, a weapon which can manipulate gravity by creating pockets of zero gravity areas to lift objects and enemies, or by increasing the gravitational force to collapse things to the ground. The implementation of the GravLink Gun is half-baked and doesn’t really add as much to the game as expected; you could get through many of the fire fights without using it at all.

What does work are some of the zero-gravity and gravity-shifting sections; as the gravity planes shift you find yourself clinging to the side of the building or upside down on a wall while enemies themselves stand in different gravitational planes. These are some of the best moments of Inversion, but sadly there aren’t enough of them — most are the all-too-familiar run and gun from checkpoint to checkpoint.

Inversion could have been so much more, and there are rare moments where it really shows off its potential, which makes it all the more disappointing when it fails to capitalise on a cool concept. The end result is yet another mediocre Gears clone with a couple of neat tricks up its sleeve.

Quick Take
graphics: Bland
overall game play: Average
worth it: Not quite
Final rating: 2 out of 5  

The magic of death

Darksiders 2
PS3
Single Player
Rs 2,799
The original Darksiders was a Zelda-esque Action RPG where you played as War, one of the four horsemen of Apocalypse after he mistakenly triggers Armageddon, destroying all of mankind. Not surprisingly, in this equally Epic sequel, you play as elder brother Death in a quest to clear War’s name by resurrecting humanity.

Death is a lean mean killing machine — making brutal use of his scythes and a range of secondary weapons to tear his way through enemies. He can’t take too much damage though, and with the absence of a block, you will rely on many, many dodge rolls to survive. There are multiple combos to unlock and master, but unfortunately combat falls into a similar pattern of dodge and attack. It never quite gets boring, but a few boss battles aside, you won’t be forced to change tactics.

The camera however misbehaves constantly, adding significantly to the difficulty. Controls aren’t as tight as they should be — some early platforming sections had me shaking the controller in frustration. Both these problems would be unforgivable in a pure action platformer.

The magic of Darksiders 2, however, lies in its protagonist — Death’s character design, lithe inhuman grace and his scathing arrogance that cuts through the otherwise heavy writing, making you truly live the character.

The RPG elements are light and well implemented — Death can level up along two skill trees, and enemies drop insane at almost Diablo level of loot.

There is always a bigger, better fire axe 10 minutes further in the game, giving you a tangible sense of progress. The game worlds are large — offering ample opportunity to explore on foot and astride Death’s horse Despair. The other characters you meet are suitably biblical, in line with your status as Death himself.

Darksiders 2 tries to be many games at the same time and almost falters under their weight. By the second half, however, it grows more assured and the level design touches its potential. The various gameplay elements come together and the game eventually manages to carve out a distinct identity. If the earlier levels were as strong, it would be very easy to recommend.

As it is, this is a lean season for game releases and Darksiders 2 has a little something for everyone.

Quick Take
Graphics: Bright with good art design
Gameplay: Starts slow but builds up
Worth it: Yes
Final Rating: 3.5/5
 

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