Infinity Blade II, the newest offering from Epic Games and ChAIR Entertainment, is a fascinating look into the future of the iPad as a gaming platform. It combines amazing graphics with player speed and accuracy, putting it on par with many of the $40 games currently on store shelves.
That being said, it isn’t perfect. It may be a glimpse into the iPad’s crystal ball, but it’s not a game I can’t live without playing in the here and now. I think of this game more like a new iPhone: It’s exciting and you want it, but in the end it only makes you wonder how much better the next one is going to be.
A sequel to last year’s award-winning hit, the second game centers around the might and wonder of the Infinity Blade sword. The Infinity Blade, which the main character uses to defend his home and family in the last game, is a marvel to all those that behold it. It practically steals the show from the main character.
The sequel’s plot centers around having to get the sword back after a mysterious betrayal. As the game continues more pieces of the puzzle behind the Infinity Blade, as well as the main character’s life and destiny, are revealed. Unfortunately, it’s not that compelling a story. It’s pretty standard fare: The mighty hero destined to save us all.
Then again, his armor is way better than Link’s or Mario’s flimsy outfits.
The graphics are, needless to say, breathtaking. While specific details of leaves and grass still leave room for improvement, the sprawling images the game provides are simply astonishing. The fact that this game can cram so much life into a screen smaller than a laptop is fantastic.
Every single place I went made me hungry for more. From Japanese-style temples, sprawling countrysides and beautiful cathedrals like the one above, I just wanted to explore every inch of the world Epic Games brought to life.
Unfortunately, the game wouldn’t let me. This was perhaps the most frustrating thing about it. I was never allowed to explore freely, anywhere. The only way I could get anywhere was by touching the blue dot floating on the screen, which would activate a new exploration shot and a new enemy to fight.
It was pretty annoying that I was given this wonderful visual feast of an environment on the iPad, only to have no way of looking through it at my own pace.
One of my favorite things about games is their ability to create a world filled with little details only noticeable if you have time to appreciate them. For example, the slave statues in Dragon Age II are some of the most beautifully haunting images I’ve found in a game – and the main reason I can say that is because I was really able to stop and look at them from any and all angles.
In this game I only have a few seconds at a time to take it all in, which isn’t nearly enough.
This brings me to my other problem with this game: It’s all fighting. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good in-game fight. But that’s literally all there is in this game. It’s just one fight after another. Sure, there are cutscenes to watch and treasures to find, but you’re hardly given a moment to stop and take a breath.
That being said, the fighting is impressive in this game. It cleverly uses the touch screen to swipe, dodge, block and parry your way to victory against an opponent. Each enemy is unique and requires a different fighting style; in addition, several enemies come with an extra challenge, such as blocking successfully 10 times, which will unlock awards to brag about later.
The main character is armed with a sword and shield, along with a small amount of magic that can be activated with unique swipes across the screen. Everything about the main character can be upgraded, from his armor and weaponry to his skills. This provides a unique opportunity to really craft a character who matches a player’s fighting style. I personally loved using magic to finish an enemy off, just because I liked to see them buzz with electricity.
All in all, this game has its ups and downs. While it looks beautiful, it’s hard to get into the story. The characters hardly take off their masks, if ever, so it’s hard to identify with them. And while the fighting is fun, having to do battle over and over with little rest is exhausting.
However, I definitely recommend playing this game. If anything else, it’s like the flux capacitor of iPad games: It may only be a part right now, but once it’s plugged into that DeLorien later on there’s no telling what will happen.
The Infinity Blade may not be striking home with this one, but it sure has made its mark.
Here’s an App store link for Infinity Blade II; it’s currently priced at $6.99.
Disclosure: This app was independently purchased by iPad Insight’s Patrick Jordan in the iPad App Store. For further information regarding our site’s review policies, please see the "About" page.