Infinity Blade II Review (iOS)
When the original Infinity Blade debuted on iOS devices last year, it really pushed forward the mobile gaming market. The way it produced unmatchable visuals for the iPad and iPhone platforms was really a thing of beauty. Even though the gameplay wasn’t anywhere near what, say, Dark Souls had to offer, it provided enough hack-and-slash fun to make the game a best seller. Still, there were some quirks we had to get over, like the lack of variety in enemies and such. However, Chair Entertainment has appeared to address them all with Infinity Blade II, a much mightier game than the original.
The premise is about the same as the first, but we’re not complaining. You take on the role of Siris, a knight seeking to vengeance his father’s death by bringing down a mighty oppressor by the name of the God King. Like any good journey, though, there are huge assortments of enemies you’ll have to overcome, and even when you reach the final battle, he’s so overpowered that you may not be able to take him. But there’s the glory of reincarnation and the ability to come back, build yourself up with better skills and weapons, and eventually get to the point that the King will fall to your metal boots. Maybe.
Where Infinity Blade followed a pretty straight and narrow path, the sequel actually branches out. You can go the quickest route possible to get to the God King, but the beauty of the game lies in seeing where its multiple paths take you, and what enemies and treasures are waiting for you. This is a game that not only asks for repeat plays, but practically commands them, just so you can get the most experience out of it. Some of the encounters are well worth taking on, especially larger enemies that damn near fill the screen. (Don’t worry, you can still take them down with natural hack-and-slash attacks, and maybe a little magic for good measure.)
Gameplay still requires the trial-and-error treatment, as you wait to pull off a defensive technique on an incoming enemy, then strike back with all the fury you possibly can. The game thrives on its touch-screen-based gameplay, and it works just as well as the original, if not better. You can charge certain attacks for extra strength, or you can call upon a magic attack if you find yourself in a bind or can’t get over a certain enemy’s strikes.
That being said, where Infinity Blade II’s replayability really lies is in its weapon loadout. There are a number of cool tools you can use here, like a battle-axe that requires both hands (but boosts your strength) or the option of double wielding, which speeds up your attacks but leaves you mildly defenseless. This also adds to the game’s replay value, as you’ll be curious to see which type of combat works best for you. No matter which way you go, though, you’ll be thoroughly pleased at how well it’s executed.
Once you finish each battle in brilliant, bloody fashion, you’ll score valuable XP, which you can then turn around to level up your warrior. This was a huge part of the first game, and it seems even more pivotal here, as you’ll need to boost yourself up rather well in order to even be a serviceable opponent to the God King. You’ll spend hours just trying to find the best customization possible – a sign of a long-lasting game, to be sure.
Another reason to explore everything Infinity Blade II has to offer is the visuals. You’ll love how this game looks on your iPad 2 display, with little details standing out in the environments and absolutely breathtaking animation on the enemies. The camera view makes it easy to see what’s happening in each battle, and the menus show you exactly where you can level up and other options. iOS-based games really don’t look much better than this. They don't sound much better either, as the audio is top notch, between the dramatic music cues and the headphone-worthy sound effects.
Infinity Blade II’s performance does skimp quite a bit on older devices, as the game crashed every so often on the iPad and iPhone. It was obviously built with the newer ones in mind when it comes to playing at its best. Just something to keep in mind before you plunk down that $6.99.
Everyone else, though, shouldn’t hesitate. Like the original game, Infinity Blade II is a testament to the raw power of Apple’s devices, and a wondrous game filled with addictive gameplay and the kind of elements that will really draw you in for hours at a time. Plus, those visuals…you’d be hard pressed to confuse this for an HD-based console game. Kudos to Chair Entertainment for keeping this Blade on the sharp side.
Now…how about that Shadow Complex 2?