APP OF THE DAY: Infinity Blade II review (iPhone, iPad)
The original Infinity Blade set the standard for iPhone gaming graphics. It pushed the iPhone 4's processor to the limit, creating unparalleled Unreal Engine powered looks. Whilst it was a beautiful piece of app design, the game stumbled in the gameplay stakes, not being anywhere near as fun as it looked.
Infinity Blade has now returned in bigger and badder form. The dual-core processor in the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S has clearly been capitalised on, the screens alone being enough for a double-take as you wonder how such graphics are squeezed from a portable device. But is the gameplay now there? Have the complaints been listened to? Above all does the game now offer a lengthy value for money experience?
Infinity Blade II
Infinity Blade on the face of it is a rather simple game. It involves just a few interactions with the display in order to progress, be they swipes to attack or taps to the bottom right or left to dodge. Moving your character on involves just tapping a glowing blue ring and watching an uncontrollable animation of the lead walking forward, usually to be confronted by an enemy. In the original, this led to things feeling incredibly linear and forcing a very repetitive gameplay experience. Thankfully this has all changed in the sequel.
The blue rings might remain, as does the tapping and pre made character animations, but what is different is the number of routes and how you play through them, ensuring repetition feels very rare indeed. Add on top of this a fully fleshed out combat system, with far more nuance than the original, as well as proper voice acting talent and you have a very complete package.
The £4.99 price is reflected in the production values of the game, which are really unlike anything else available on the store. Epic Games and ChAIR have poured a lot of love into the app and it shows throughout. The art style is now spot on, right from the early Asian themed stylings to the latter gothic looking levels.
Music and audio has also taken a jump, the sounds of clashing swords being backed up by an impressive score which adds plenty to the atmosphere of the game. We would say play this one with headphones on, lest you want to irritate everyone sitting next to you on the journey home with the constant clanging of swords. Special mention has to be given to the background audio while walking between fights. We love the way that birds can be heard in the background and small chimes ring as you walk through the early Japanese garden style stages.
Combat, as we mentioned earlier, has been improved massively. It is the core of the Infinity Blade experience and thanks to its expansion, means the game now feels fleshed out and much less of a on rails play through. Parrying, dodging, blocking, super attacks and magic are still all there. The difference is that there are now dual wielding and heavy weapon offerings. The way you play changes depending on the weapon you are holding.
The last thing we will say about Infinity Blade II is with regards to the story. We definitely liked the never ending concept of the original, it was clever and light, meaning you could pick up the app wherever and not have to worry about missing out on what was going on. Infinity Blade II is very much the same, continuing on straight after the original, you start out with the Infinity Blade in your hands, ready to take on new enemies. The aim is to get hold of the Worker of Secrets, who put the blade together in the first place. We won't give much more away than that, but believe us when we say, the voice talent makes the story much more complete.
Infinity Blade II is a must have app for current generation iOS device owners. It looks incredible and plays even better. Expect an addictive experience from start to finish and an app that more than justifies its rather expensive price tag.
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