By Shaer Reaz
Everyone wants to walk on walls now and then. People who don't have much to do often lie on their beds and look up at the ceiling; wondering what their bedrooms might look like while walking upside down.
Inversion tries to make all your upside down fantasies come true; then hands you shotguns and sniper rifles and asks you to blow the heads off some humanoid aliens called Lutadores.
You play the role of Davis Russell, a police officer in Vanguard City, a previously peaceful and serene place before the Lutadores invade and attempt to enslave all humanity. Helping you on your way to establishing some form of resistance and finding out what happened to your daughter is your police partner and your “bro” Leo Delgado.
The story sucks, at least at first. The game sets up a basic premise for you to be shooting at some bald headed barbarian brutes that somehow learned to use guns and advanced weapons, and then puts you in the middle of the battlefield with little training. The game proceeds through flashbacks and moves forward at a hurried pace to cover up the massive flaws in the storyline. Like how Davis goes mad searching for his daughter but barely shows any remorse at the death of his wife, let alone dwelling on it. This might be an all-out action game, but in this day and age where people have come to expect a lot more emotional pull from a game, Inversion falls way short. The teeth gnashing, retch inspiring voice acting doesn't help either.
The gameplay is classic shoot-from-cover style, like Mass Effect without the RPG element. The game is a console port for PC's, and it shows. The camera movements are too jerky with a mouse and the crosshairs are non-existent until you hold the aim button, which is a very messy and useless addition.
What redeems the gameplay is the game's original gimmick: gravity control. Using a Lutadore tech called Gravlink, you can hurl enemies up in the air, getting rid of their cover and ripping them apart with bullets, pick up heavy objects and turn them into impromptu projectiles to be hurled at the enemy, or clear a path in difficult terrain. While the description might sound promising, of complete freedom and dominance over gravity, the game is too linear in nature for you to truly explore the Gravlink's potential. It gets frustrating after a while, doing the same things over and over to get enemies out of their hiding spots and in your non-existent crosshairs. The game's physics adds to your frustrations, as you frequently drain your Gravlink charge while trying to draw out the enemy and hitting random objects and making them float instead.
The coolest thing in the game is completely switching your gravity plane using the “Gravity Anomalies” scattered throughout the maps: you can walk down a skyscraper and use a sniper rifle to blow the heads off Lutadores on the ground below/in front of you -satisfying stuff. Of course, like everything else in this game, this feature falls short, as the Gravity Anomalies are random and you can't control where they appear.
The game also has a weird knack of over-emphasising your “bro-hood” to the extent that even single player starts to feel like playing co-op with an AI. If a 6 foot 2 barrel chested white gorilla of a man can't lift a shutter or climb up a small wall without the help of his “bro”, then all hope is lost for humanity. Apparently all the Lutadores have to do to enslave humanity is separate you from your bro.
The graphics are great even on a low budget graphics card, good enough for the developers to effortlessly weld gameplay and cinematic together. The music and the sounds are great too.
The idea behind the game is fresh and original, but the console port gameplay, the over-reliance on teamwork in single play, and the all-over-the-place story cut down Inversion's chances of success. If you must play it, play it on a console, where the gameplay mechanics make a lot more sense.
Gameplay: 5/10; story: 5/10; graphics and sound: 6/10; overall: 5.5/10
UEFA: PREDICTIONS FOR THE GROUP STAGES
By Bareesh and Ibrahim
Last season, City and United both crashed out, Marseille and Dortmund played a last gasp thriller to send the French through and Cypriot minnows APOEL topped their group of dark horses including Zenit and Porto. RS takes a stab at predicting what will happen this year.
PSG spent the GDP of a mid-sized African nation in the transfer window with a Champion's League assault in mind. This is the Zlatan show, ladies and gentlemen. Unfortunately, Zlatan will not feel up to it, and PSG will slump to a loss against Porto. Porto as perennial dark horses, blessed with amazing scouts, will destroy the dynamic pair of Dynamo Zagreb and Dynamo Kiev. Hulk will score 10 goals and will then sign for PSG in January. PSG will get a last gasp winner to qualify from their group in the last match when Porto keeper Helton holds the ball and walks out of the penalty box. The subsequent free kick does not need to be taken and is declared a goal because Zlatan Ibrahimovic asked the referee nicely.
Schalke, Olympiakos and French champions, Montpelier join Arsenal. In Arsenal's match against Montpelier, striker Olivier Giroud will take off his Arsenal shirt, revealing the Montpelier jersey, dribble through his teammates, score into his own net and proceed to kiss the badge, marking his first Arsenal goal. That is the only goal Arsenal shall score in the group stages as Lukas Podolski smashes all records by notching up 147 shots off target. Schalke quietly win all their matches, thrashing Montpelier 9-1 on the final day to top the group. Olympiakos remains uncared for.
Impoverished AC Milan are joined by the previously poor-then rich-now poor again Malaga, Zenit and Anderlecht. Without Zlatan, Pato will start every match and score in the first 5 minutes before being stretchered off the field. Malaga, on the other hand, after begging the football world for money, will be bought by PSG for the handsome sum of 500 euros. It won't help though, as Zenit progress with Milan, who will have the decency of thrashing Anderlecht 4-0 (all Pato in each of the first four minutes) and thus making them worthy of a mention.
The Group of Champions. Roberto Mancini's whining will be heard through the duration of all the matches, as he mopes about lack of players. Not content with his new nickname, Mourinho will brand himself 'The Unique Lion' and say he's a cross between Bob Marley and Ruud Gullit after Madrid go through the group unbeaten. Ronaldo continues sulking about the UEFA award until Madrid fold and make him a golden statue. Ajax lose all their matches while Dortmund lose to City when Carlos Tevez distracts them by having a fistfight with Mancini while Edin Dzeko runs in behind them and scores.
Reigning champions have Shakhtar, Juventus and Nordsjaelland to deal with. Shakhtar will start 10 Brazilians and release beautiful samba football, rendered useless by the stubborn defending of their Italian and English-Italian opponents. Andrea Pirlo will exude sexiness. Chelsea will park the bus. Nordsjaelland will be beaten handsomely in each of their 6 matches.
Bayern Munich, desperate to make amends for missing out on three trophies last year will be pissed off. But first they must master BATE, Valencia and Lille. They will demolish all in their path, and eventually crash out in the semis to Manchester City who will buy their entire squad in January. Roberto Soldado and Salomon Kalou will each score 12 goals, six of them coming in a six-all draw between Valencia and Lille in which the other 20 players leave the pitch to go watch TV, leaving Kalou and Soldado to have a goal-scoring duel.
Benfica , Spartak Moscow and Celtic with Barca. By the end, Messi will have broken all goal scoring records imaginable. Jealous of Tito's success, Guardiola will return to manage Benfica for one game and beat Barcelona to progress with them. His life now fulfilled he will retire permanently, prompting Roman Abramovich to wrist-slit. Amidst all this, Spartak Moscow will humiliate Celtic just because they can.
Man United paired with Braga and two weird sounding clubs (Galatasaray and Cluj). Sir Alex will field 10 midfielders (Anderson in goal) and RVP alone up front in all their matches. They will struggle like last time, until Wayne Rooney stages an intervention by showing up onto the pitch in his new flowing, blonde hair. Bedazzled, the opposition will not notice Kagawa stealing in to score and put them through. The other clubs will fight it out in a bore-fest until Braga scrape through.
MUST WATCH TV
An Idiot Abroad
Everyone wants to travel the world and see the wonders it has to offer, the diversity of culture, life and whatnot, right? Well, everyone maybe, but not Karl Pilkington. All he really wants in life is to peacefully spend the rest of his life deep in his comfort-zone. He does not bother about the whole 'exploring the world' idea and even though he is English, he never even travelled as far as Wales. Unfortunately, Karl is good friends with Rickey Gervais and Steve Merchant (writer and producer of Extras and The Office) and they want to send him away to see the world in all its glory. Steve wants him to 'learn' and Rickey wants him to suffer terribly.
The solution is to camouflage this expensive practical joke as a program about Karl visiting the Seven Wonders of the World, expected to result in some pretty crazy and hilarious TV-time. In the show Karl goes to each of the countries with the intention of just looking upon the wonders, but Gervais and Merchant lay down some inane adventures for him. Whether it is staying with a Bedouin family in a desert in Jordan or going through Chinese fire massages, Karl utterly reluctantly goes with it.
Amazingly though, seeing a real-life Homer Simpson suffering through these challenges is not even the funniest part of the show. The best part about the show is Karl himself, and how astoundingly his mind works. When his friends showed him the photo of the Great Pyramids of Giza, he said, “Get that down, it's a death-trap”, implying the authorities in his neighbourhood would have none of it. The Great Wall of China leaves him unimpressed. “It's not even a great wall. It's an alright wall”, he blurts. He is more worried about pooping in India than the Taj Mahal.
While every other travel show would vigorously try to make you understand how great it is, only an 'idiot' will point out the truths, like how inconvenient it must have been to live in Machu Picchu. The show is unpretentious and hardly ever seems scripted. Karl Pilkington is stupider, lazier, more disoriented and irrational than any travel show host you'll ever come across, and maybe that's why he's so endearing. The show is being aired on TLC, but just get the first season and we promise some laugh out loud moments.
BY THE XX
By Munawar Mobin
In 2008, the xx came forward with their self-titled debut album and occupied every indie fan's top playlists. The xx is a trio from Britain and that's all anyone needs to know. The rest they speak of with their music. Their debut was a hit as mentioned before and a few days ago their second album, Coexist was released under great expectations.
First off, you need to know that if you compare “Coexist” with “the xx”, it would put you in a very difficult position. It's like when you love both vanilla and chocolate ice-cream at the same time and when you're told to pick, you're confused. That's what the trio has managed to do with Coexist create two different flavours using the same resources.
Coexist pulls together different pages from the xx book with a few classics like the use of their calm and chilled beat, sudden guitar strums and the way they manage to change the beat completely and yet keep the listener connected to the song. The album also features songs which are heavily exposed with beats familiar to a very calm and sober version of dubstep; it also features new styles and off beat patterns which hasn't been the xx way. It's a new perspective of xx music but with the regular vocal interplay from Romy and Oliver, the changes in pace and the collective vocals which we've all come to love and admire.
Comparatively, it's a completely different xx. It's slightly better lyrically and the context of all the songs is much different from the last album, as they portray more of a “romantic” scene.
What with music changing all the time, bands get lost and lose their original style. They lose the one thing that made them who they were and without that separating factor, people stop listening to them.
The xx's Coexist is very different from the first album, but they've managed to keep to their roots as much as required so that they can still be recognised. They've experimented and they don't sound too bad. It's not better than the first album, but it's still a good way to spend some time, just being there. It's chilled out and calm, which is rare from bands these days. This seems to be a gateway album; a stepping stone to greater things, much greater things than the first album. Here's to the xx and all their potential