Chair Entertainment, Epic Games
Action Role Playing, Swipe Dueling
December 1, 2011
Iíll be frank; I never played the first Infinity Blade. I own it, but for the life of me, cannot get my iPod to cooperate long enough to let me play it, freaking technology. Thankfully, its sequel, Infinity Blade II works just fine, and I do mean thankfully. This sequel has somewhat consumed me, but not without some well-deserved cursing along the way.
From what I can tell, you play as Siris, a warrior who just finished beating the snot out of a gentleman by the name of The God King. He has the legendary Infinity Blade and is in a garden with his buddy Isa. Siris wants his question answered, to which Isa tells him to fight Saydhi, one of many Deathless.
Important story notes, the Deathless are people (or perhaps monsters) that have the ability to reincarnate themselves after death into another form while retaining their consciousness. However, the Infinity Blade can end this cycle permanently.
Spoilers aside, Siris is pleasantly surprised and saved by Isa, just to revive again and begin his almost obsessive quest to find someone by the name of Worker.
Infinity Blade II has some pretty graphics. The environments you fight in are visually interesting, and partake in medieval, Asian, Mediterranean influences. The same can be said about the vast armory and characters. Weapons range from katanas to massive clubs, scythes to long swords, even dual-wielded weapons to a rolled up newspaper. There is some sense of humor hidden amongst the blood-letting.
The armor is interesting and dynamic. As you equip things, your Siris actually wears and wields them. The enemies you fight randomly change in their own appearance and weaponry, making every encounter unique.
Another nice graphical touch is the kill sequence. After you beat your enemy, you get a chance to milk their body for more experience before a brief cutscene shows Siris finishing off the defeated with some satisfyingly brutal flourish.
The only concern is that this beauty can be a bit overwhelming to the iPod, especially in motion. Again, my Touch could just be stubborn, but be aware that doing too much (especially when notifications come into play) can make things lag or panic crash.
There isnít much, as far as music goes, in Infinity Blade II. Thereís some chanting to set the mood, and a little bit of an epic music splash after you win a duel and are beating someone as a finisher, but itís sparse.
The voice acting is pretty good. Iím not sure if everyone lacking facial expressions helps this, but the voices do fit the characters and, for the most part, express the emotion at hand.
Headphone users beware! The sound effects are interesting, but the volume levels are unbalanced. What seemed like just the right volume at one point will suddenly become deafening during a fight.
Infinity Blade II has a pretty straight forward battle system. You initiate a duel against a monster. As they swing their weapon at you, you can swipe your finger against their weaponís incoming direction and parry. If they attack you with anything else (shield, fist, foot, head), you have to dodge or block. After a few blocks or parries, you will stun, or break, the enemy. This allows you to swipe to attack repeatedly until the enemy dies or blocks you.
Your weapon of choice affects how you handle these scenarios. Sword and shield allows you to dodge to the sides or block center. You have to be aware of where the attack is coming from while dodging or youíll eat damage. For example, a swing coming from the right side will probably hurt you if you dodge to the left since it is sweeping in that direction. Dual wielded weapons have all dodge and no block. The middle instead lets you duck under attacks. Heavy weapons have no dodge and are all block. Instead of a simple block all, you have to block in the attack from the direction it is swung. The other difference between the weapons is how you counter after dizzying the enemy. Everyone gets combos based on swipe directions. Swords and dual wields give you the opportunity to stab the enemy when a circle appears on their body. Heavy weapons show arrows you have to quickly and accurately swipe along in order to slash the enemy for extra damage.
You also have two meters you build while battling. One is your special, a move that interrupts the enemy and sends you straight into the stabbing or slashing attack mode. The other is the magic meter. Your magic is determined by your ring accessory, its power determined by your magic skill, and its potency determined by the level the magic is at as well as the enemyís resistance.
Now, I know cutscenes donít typically belong in the gameplay section, but they have their own appeal and gameplay. First and foremost, I have to send kudos for the fast-forward button and being able to pause during a scene. You can fly through most cutscenes with ease, but you may not want to; there are goodies hidden throughout the scenery you may want to have. Typically, there are little bags of gold you can poke and acquire, but at times there are extremely helpful health potions and keys for chests hidden as well. You also can maneuver the camera around by dragging your finger around the screen so you can find all of the presents.
Last, but not least, is the Clashmob. I adore this. Instead of fighting against other players, you work together towards a particular goal. You are all given a timeframe to accomplish some sort of mission. This usually means a battle where you defeat something, damage an uber-monster as much as you can, avoid dying, or even poking gold bags. Everyone pools in their efforts in hopes of winning a prize that benefits them in their solo game. There are new missions daily, keeping the game fresher than most. The only thing I hate about this mode is that it requires you to log in with Facebook and, with the latest update, repeatedly harasses you to allow it access to your Twitter account. Even with all of this social media requirements, you still automatically log into Game Center, which has a tendency to lag the game until it has finished all of its own actions. It all becomes very burdensome after a while.
Glitch warning: I encountered a glitch that almost made me remove the game. At some point, you might encounter a problem with continuing. You may defeat someone, but after the experience screen, youíll still be in the same place and the enemy might be gone, but the blue circle is still there. I foolishly restarted from Rebirth 1, but you donít have to do that! Instead, fight the enemy, there visually or not, and let them defeat you. Pick the option to restart the current rebirth and you should be alright from there.
This game is by no means long, but it has some genuine replayability. Once you figure out the story and pattern, it can take you about half an hour to finish a rebirth sequence. The game can also become monotonous after a while. The saving factor is the Clashmob feature and the fact that you can pick up your game at any point. It is quite gracious with the save points.
Another round of kudos for Chair and Epic. As I was writing this review, thinking I had played enough of it to fully understand the game, they released content pack #2. With this, there are new pathways, new weapons, new enemies, a new part of the story, and a brand new set of excitement and intrigue. They certainly know how to keep their game fresh, and even promise another content pack in the future.
I have to say, I am impressed with the game. It is easy to grasp, fun to play, challenging enough to actually warrant effort, and has enough fan service to keep me coming back.