The highly anticipated sequel to the original Infinity Blade packs in better graphics and deeper gameplay via new weapons, combat, and a much more coherent story than its predecessor.
- Storyline is richer and far more enjoyable
- Combat choices make fights more tailored to your play style
- Pushes iOS's graphical capability to the limit (it's gorgeous)
- No multiplayer component... yet
- On-rails gameplay isn't for everyone
- Minor voiceover/subtitle bugs
Infinity Blade 2 Review:
It’s been a little over a year since Infinity Blade took the App Store by storm; indeed, it’s been the gold standard games in its class are measured up against. Now, we’ve received a sequel to IB1 that improves on the original in almost every way and never feels stale or recycled.
Infinity Blade 2 doesn’t need a flashy subtitle, or a major overhaul of its basic tenets to grab our attention. As the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” -- and while Epic Games certainly took great care to bring the game up to date and provide us with a deeper gameplay experience than the first, they also made sure to stick to what makes Infinity Blade such an awesome game-turned-franchise.
Let’s get graphic
The game starts off by showing off its exterior: the graphical upgrades are downright stunning on the iPad 2 and iPhone 4’s A5 processor, specifically the textures on the character and enemy models. Oh, and while you only ran into about 10 different enemy models in the first IB, you’ll be encountering around 50 different types of enemies in Infinity Blade II, and they all have their own combat styles and nuances to learn. Some of your foes are huge and terrifying, with razor sharp teeth and huge, armored legs to kick you in the face; other enemies are lithe, dual wielding swords, and swift with the stabbings to your chest. It makes the gameplay more entertaining (and a lot less repetitive) than the first Infinity Blade.
In addition, the sweeping vistas offer breathtaking views and immersive atmospheres for you to explore. Last time around, every rebirth felt like an exercise in exploration limitations; in Infinity Blade 2, the options are much more varied and feel like actual exploring. This expansion makes the “on-rails” aspect of the game much easier to swallow, since you’re seeing a lot more in terms of locations in-game. IB2 shows off just about everything iOS is capable of graphically, and the game shines because of it.
Understanding the journey
One of the primary complaints about the original Infinity Blade was the ultra-thin “story” (if you could even call it that). We’re happy to report that’s not longer the case; not only did Epic Games simply create a passable storyline for this go-round, they’ve gone above and beyond with some excellent voiceover and a highly satisfying story.
This time, our hero Siris knows he’s being constantly reborn, and that serves the story in a coherent way. Sure, you’re still in a life-death cycle that sees you constantly retreading the same ground as you progress through the game, but this time, it actually has meaning to the protagonist as opposed to simply acting as a mechanic to explain why you have to walk the same castle over and over again.
Fighting the power... with more power
Combat receives some hefty changes in Infinity Blade II; specifically, you’re given more options, weapons, and armor to utilize, as well as gems to outfit your gear with. Now, you can choose between three kinds of weapons: a sword and shield combo (your sort of ‘balanced’ setup); a heavy weapon for massive damage (requiring more precision timing on strikes, since your attacks are slower); and dual-wield blades (no shield for blocking, but can chain attacks nicely). After using all three, I personally still prefer the old board-and-sword approach, but it’s great to see Epic Games taking other playstyles into consideration and offering everyone a choice for combat.
Adding to your custom fighting experience are gems that offer various kinds of bonuses (XP boosts, various defenses, increased drop rates, etc.) that allow you to make your experience unique. Fights even provide newer ways to battle your enemies, as the dodge mechanic’s been nerfed a bit (you take “close call” damage now if you dodge too much in succession), and parry’s been tweaked to be a lot more forgiving during combat. You’ll need to master both to survive the combat against some of your foes; in fact, some of their moves are pretty tough to predict, making the combat interesting and engaging regardless of how many hours you’ve logged playing.
Best in show?
Infinity Blade 2 is, without a doubt, an epic title that represents everything that’s groundbreaking about iOS gaming. This game is the reason Nintendo and PlayStation should be quaking in their boots, because as time goes on, studios like ChAIR and Epic Games are only going to improve upon their past successes and create games and engines like Unreal 3 that offer stunning visuals, compelling gameplay, and constantly updated content (there will be a massively social combat component called Clashmobs added to the game we’re really excited to check out). Infinity Blade 2 is what mobile gaming is all about, and it’s clearly best in class. Simply put, you need this game.