This year’s E3 2011 saw a heavy focus on the continuation of an inordinate amount of existing series and IPs, with prequels, sequels and spiritual successors galore. There weren’t that many original games, but the game Inversion was definitely one of those select few. Bringing in some truly unique gameplay, the Namco Bandai product is aiming to be on shelves early 2012, and we got to give it a try.

It’s been a long time coming from developers Saber Interactive, who had originally planned to release the game in 2010. It was roughly a year after that the first trailer came out in February, and since then they’ve progressed enough to show off a sizeable chunk of both singleplayer and multiplayer action during the world’s gaming expo, E3. You can check out the Inversion E3 trailer right here.

Inversion sets players in a unique world where people can manipulate gravity fields, activating ‘light’ and ‘heavy’ G-environments which pull up or down on their enemies. Players can also invert themselves to flip their own gravity upside down or to the side, creating very unique combat scenarios as you pick up items (say, lava from a lake) and throw them at enemies. Fighting through vast cave systems gets all the more hectic and entertaining when the world is flipped upside down and the grenades still follow proper, non-upside-down physics. It’s certainty a different scenario then we’re used to fighting in, and brings a fresh pace to gameplay.

The game’s multiplayer felt inspired by a Gears of War type interface, running and ducking behind cover, muscled-henchmen with gigantic weapons looking for their next target. As players typically ran into eachother, they’d throw down a gravity field to try and slow down their opponent, picking them off with whatever high-powered rifle they’d picked up from around the map. The multiplayer was relatively fast when people were grouped together, but it often felt like whoever shot their gravity field first had a guaranteed win – after ten minutes, the same combat routine was looking a little stale.

The single campaign experience however, is clearly where Inversion shines. The environments are much more interactive, offering players the opportunity to change up gravity and really see where the brunt of the fun comes from: pure upside-down hecticness. Saber Interactive wouldn’t reveal whether the game took place on Earth or not (it could easily be placed there), but once the combat got going and the main character flipped to a 90 degree angle, it could have been anywhere for all we cared – it opened up a new way to fight enemies, and picking up a dead henchman’s body to throw at another enemy was worth its weight in gold. The combat is original, the combat is fun, and as long as Inversion can keep the campaign gameplay fresher than its multiplayer counterpart, it may just be a solid new title for the market.

With plenty of time left until its eventual release on February 7th, 2012, Inversion looks to provide entertaining game that just needs more polish. If they can spruce up the multiplayer, we might have an original title really worth looking in to! As it stands, the experience of shifting gravity is worth checking out alone, if only for a single-player or co-op experience.

Inversion will be released for both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on February 7th.

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