If you haven’t picked up Epic Games and ChAIR Entertainment’s Infinity Blade 2, you’re missing out on the hottest sequel this side of mobile gaming. You can catch up on our full review if you haven’t read it yet, and if you decide to pick it up, we’ve put together this handy guide to help you get the most out of your IB2 experience.
A lot’s changed since the original Infinity Blade, including deeper combat, customizable weapons, armor and accessories, and a less linear map for you to explore. Let’s jump into Siris’ world and make you an unstoppable force.
I won’t spoil the story, so we’ll start post-prologue. You don’t get any class or character options, but if you’d like to change your name from Siris to what tickles your fancy, you can do so by opening the character tab and tapping on “SIRIS.” (Feel free to tell us what hilarious or awesome name you pick for him if you do change it.)
As you traverse the world, you’ll find yourself in tough situations and fighting some crazy enemies. You might even die! That’s okay, though, because of Infinity Blade 2’s “rebirth” mechanic. If you die, you’ll be given options to continue: either continue from last save, which puts you right back where you were before the fight you just died in; or start a new rebirth.
Rebirth isn’t a bad thing, it just means you’ll start back at the beginning of the map again, ready to choose new paths and fight more bad guys. At certain points, you’ll be forced to rebirth, like if you take down one of The Deathless, but often that means new paths will open up for you to explore, so don’t get too upset if you have to start over. You’ll keep all your gold, inventory, and stats!
You can also check out all your stats in the character tab, and peruse items you’ll be purchasing later. When you level up, you’ll get 2 points to spend on stats. Spend them based on your play style, but don’t get too unbalanced in any one direction, as a gear change might require a stat you’d otherwise ignore (shield and magic, in particular).
The Infinity Blade franchise works a bit different than a traditional adventure game regarding exploration: instead of allowing you to freely wander the map, you’ll tap on blue orbs indicating a path, and then view a live scene of your character walking to that location.
While that would be boring by itself, the game offers a fantastic way to keep you alert and in the world by leaving bags of gold and other items along the paths. Tap on each one to pick them up as you go, and if you missed something, don’t fret -- once the cutscene ends, you’ll be able to look around and pick up some of the stuff you didn’t grab.
There will also be triangles indicating chests; some require specific sized keys to open. You can get keys from enemy drops, the environment around you, or the store if you feel like spending gold. Make sure you’re picking up everything, since those bags of gold will keep you rolling in new gear and potions will keep your health bar full.
How Combat Works
As you wander the map, you’ll encounter various enemies to fight in order to continue forward. Each one has their own fighting styles, moves, and speed. Once you initiate combat with an enemy, you’ll have two dodge buttons on each side of the screen, and a shield button to block in the middle. As your enemy attacks you, you’ve got three options: dodge (tap dodge left or right based on the direction of the attack), parry (swipe in the incoming direction of the blow), or block (hold the shield button).
Every foe has a chain of attacks they perform, after which a window will open for you to attack if you dodge, block, or parry the final attack. Swipe away to start chopping down your opponent’s health, and when you finally get blocked, it’s time to go back to defense. Sometimes, you’ll get the option to get in a stabbing if a blue circle appears on their body; tap it to perform a piercing.
In the upper left and right part of your screen, you’ll see two icons that fill up as you fight. The upper left with the sword acts as an interrupt, giving you an immediate attack window, while the upper right is your magic meter. When they’re full, they glow, so you’ll know when you can use them (and you’ll be using them often).
So now you know how combat works. But what style of combat should you use? In the first Infinity Blade, you only got one choice: sword and shield. This time around, you have a few options for how to attack your enemies.
• Light - Your standard sword and shield. This is definitely your bread and butter of all three combat styles, as you’ll have full access to blocking with your shield, and your sword swings easier and requires less precision when it comes to timing it versus enemy strikes. Swipes are also quicker, making this combat style a great way to get a feel for combat and prepare for the other two modes.
• Heavy - The two-handed set of weaponry. This is a tough style to master, but you’ll also see huge damage numbers if you can get the right rhythm in a fight. You can’t carry a shield, so you won’t be able to block in the traditional sense; instead, you’ll be able to block directionally with your weapon as opposed to dodging. Your swings are also slower, so make sure to adjust your swipes accordingly. This is a great choice for large, slower enemies, like the hulking beasts you’ll encounter.
• Dual - Dual-wielding swords. This combat style also removes standard shield blocking, but will actually replace the shield with an additional dodge button, making this a fun and fast-paced way to fight. You’ll be able to attack faster, but you’ll also need to rely on dodge and parry breaks, making this the most interactive of the three styles. No holding down the block button here!
Every weapon combo works well enough, but specific types of enemies may require you to switch styles to fight the most effectively. Seeing as how there are over 50 types of enemies in Infinity Blade 2 for you to encounter, you’ll want to at least have general knowledge of all three, so take each one for a test drive early on in-game and get familiar.
Equipment: Mastery and XP
There are plenty of pieces of equipment in Infinity Blade 2; in fact, there are so many choices, it’s often tough to decide what to equip. Early on, you’ll equip items based on what you can afford; later, you’ll be choosing based on stats and abilities on each piece. Rings in particular offer a variety of spells, though we recommend spending the cash early on and picking up one with a heal attached to it. You’ll thank us later when that heal bails you out of a tight spot, trust us.
Now that you’re out and about, you’ll be getting XP for your efforts as you down each foe. Once a battle is over, you’ll receive XP for the fight (including bonus XP), and then XP for each piece of equipment you’re wearing. Once you’ve maxed out a piece, it’s considered “mastered,” which will cause two things to occur: one, you’ll get a point to spend on your character stats, making it lucrative to max out your stuff; and two, you’ll stop getting extra general XP from that item, making it necessary to upgrade if you want to continue getting the maximum XP from each fight.
Once you’ve maxed out a piece of equipment, consider swapping it out for something else so you can reap the XP benefits of an unmastered item and keep leveling up as swiftly as possible; however, also consider leaving a piece on if it’s highly beneficial to you and you’re willing to take the XP hit in exchange for a particular stat or spell.
Gems and You: A Starter Manual
The equipment in this game sees a fairly major overhaul, as they’ve added in gems to make your gear customizable beyond just fixed stat items. You’ll be able to add item/gold drop increases (our favorites), attack power, defense, added effects like poison and ice, and contextual gems that award bonuses based on things that happen during combat.
Gemming your gear is easy: just drag a gem into the appropriately shaped slot, and you’re set. Keep in mind, though, that to remove a gem, it’ll cost you gold; in fact, the value of the gem directly affects the cost to remove it from one piece of equipment for use in another. The best way to pick up new gems is to stick an increased gem drop jewel in your gear and keep upgrading it as you pick up better ones.
So far, we’ve seen as high as +330% increased drop rate for gems, which is really helpful when upgrading your gear and making sure you’re as powerful as possible for later fights. You can sell off older or less powerful gems for extra gold, too, so equipping that specific type of “increased gem drops” gem is great for making money and gearing up.
While some games make you feel as if you must purchase currency to survive, IB2 isn’t one of those games. Will buying a pile of gold up front make your initial onslaught easier? Of course it will. Fortunately, you’ll pick up tons of gold as you wander around (the drop rate’s been increased in environments from the first game), so it’s definitely an optional purchase. But if you want to start crushing foes straight out of the gate, you can buy gold (and subsequently pots, keys, equipment, gems, and prize wheels) in the store.
These tips should get you up and running in the world of Infinity Blade 2. It’s definitely one of the best games of the year on iOS -- you’d be hard-pressed to find something so well designed anywhere else in mobile gaming. Now get out there and start destroying those Deathless!