Problem with gravity: it’s a drag

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iol scitech jan 8 TO Transformers 2 . Transformers: Fall of Cybertron

Inversion

DEVELOPER: Saber Interactive

FORMAT: XBOX 360

AGE RESTRICTION: 18

RATING: HHIII

Davis Russel had just about everything going for him: a loving wife, a cute daughter and a stable job as a police officer in a town that seems to have been designed for white picket fence suburbs.

Then suddenly, that picture-perfect lifestyle was torn in two, cast off into the winds of chance by a violent uprising from a hitherto unknown enemy. The Lutadores they are called, brutish oafs mumbling in unheard-of tongues, but showing a keen grasp of the language of destruction.

Out on patrol with his partner Leo Delgado, Russel finds himself in the heart of a chaotic takeover. Amid the explosions, crashing cars and the summary execution of a panic-stricken population, gravity itself seems to have been turned on its head. Debris floats through the air as if by magic, but as Russel and Delgado fight their way towards his flat in the hope of saving his family, it becomes apparent that the Lutadores are not as unsophisticated as appearances might suggest. There they get their first inkling of the challenge to come, as Lutadore gunners run upside down and coast through the air on broken pieces of wall.

Injured and mourning his family, Russel is a broken man when fate intervenes. As prisoners in a slave camp, he and Delgado have little chance of survival, until a fellow prisoner aids them in escaping and taking the fight to the Lutadores. To do so, they need to work as a team and master the anti-gravity suits that give the Lutadores their edge. It’s a tough ask, but when the fate of the known world rests in your hands, nothing is supposed to come easy.

Like its main protagonist, Inversion seemingly had everything going for it. There’s a likeable hero taking the reins, and his motivation for fighting the Lutadore scourge would resonate with everybody. It soon becomes apparent, however, that Inversion isn’t going to deliver on all the thrills it promises.

At the crux of the matter is the very concept that should have set Inversion apart from the rest of the shooter games on the market. The ability to play with gravity could have been a stunning element, had it allowed the player to let loose with a degree of imagination. Sadly, this isn’t so. The ability to use gravity to your advantage is hit and miss, with the game often prescribing what you can use as weapons and cover. Charging the device means you’re a sitting duck when more likely you’re itching to spread your wings.

And so, some might take the easy way out and play Inversion as a straight shooter. No harm there, but then Inversion loses whatever X-factor it was aiming for and begins to suffer in comparison with the many outstanding titles that litter this genre.

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron

DEVELOPER: High Moon Studios

FORMAT: XBOX 360

AGE RESTRICTION: 12

RATING: HHHII

In a different universe, there’s another apocalypse in action. Cybertron, hallowed home of the Autobots, looks set to fall under the concentrated assault of the Decepticons in the final instalment of an all-encompassing civil war.

As befits the crucial chapter in an all-or-nothing slug fest, the intricacies of plot and motivation take a back seat as these mechanised warriors let the lead fly. It’s a situation which, in most cases, heralds a rather shallow experience. But Transformers is a little gem, melding epic scale and full-throttle action into a very satisfying shooter.

Fans of the series will enjoy the chance to take control of the most beloved characters in the Transformers series, with Bumblebee opening proceedings before leader Optimus Prime takes the action to their enemies. Deeper into the story, players will get to play as Dinobots, just the type of innovation to keep you hungry when you’ve got to grips with the game. And that is, for all intents and purposes, a shooter with a bit of driving thrown in.

But Transformers feels like so much more than that. There’s a balls-to-the-wall edge to the shoot- outs and battles, an intensity that keeps luring you into the thick of the fighting, even when picking off foes from the perimeter would be safer. The driving sequences are the epitome of plain and simple, but play out as a gutsy interlude in the midst of the chaos.

Giving the action its something extra are the environments. Players traverse tight corridors into huge landscapes that, at times, take your breath away.

There’s an early set piece, with Optimus Prime at the helm of a massive cannon, that brings the awesome scale of Transformers into vivid focus. That sense of scale also applies to the multiplayer mode, where players are afforded seemingly endless upgrade and customisation options on every star of the Transformers cast. I’m no Transformers fan, but this game had me hooked.

As with Inversion, appearances can be deceiving, but in this case, that’s a good thing. - The Star Tonight

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