Infinity Blade II ($6.99) by Chair Entertainment Group, LLC is the sequel to last year’s award-winning game of epic sword fighting.
The story picks up where we left off in the first game – the God King has been defeated, and now it’s your objective to find out the secrets behind the legendary Infinity Blade. You will play as Siris, who must venture into the world of the Deathless tyrants and battle your way through their Titans, in order to find out about the Worker of Secrets.
From the moment you launch the game, prepare to be floored by the visuals. The opening scene will start out with what looks like a Japanese garden, and the pink cherry blossoms will be so realistic that you’d think they were real. When compared to last year’s game, Infinity Blade II has even more impressive visuals in its various environments. Textures, shadows, highlights – all of these elements look even better, and prove that this is what iOS gaming is all about.
For those that loved the first Infinity Blade, but grew tired of the same exact liner path all the time, good news: there are multiple paths through the game, with each leading to a different “final” boss battle. Of course, when you start, there is only one path as the others are locked, but it adds a nice bit of variety. The guided walking scenes reveal that there is even more loot to be found throughout the world, though it may also irritate players as some cannot be obtained once you see them.
Unfortunately, the game is technically still “on-rails,” as you cannot freely explore the castle or environment yourself. If that bothered you from the first game, then you may have the same feeling about the sequel. However, I would think that this game focuses more on the swordplay than exploration anyway.
Combat is essentially the same as the first game, but with several tweaks made to improve the experience and make it more challenging. Dodges are now measured by an endurance bar, and dodging in quick succession will get you some “scratch” damage from swings that you barely avoided. Parrying feels easier to accomplish now, which is great.
Some fights will have an “Xp Bonus,” which gives you a certain task to do during the fight to earn more experience at the end of the battle (i.e.: Do six perfect parries, Take no damage, No blocking, etc). Some will be harder to do than others, but the rewards will be worth it, if you can pull it off.
As you get further in the game, you will encounter many different types of enemies. Some will look familiar and have the same type of fighting style that you’re used to, while there are some new faces and different moves. Some enemies will show off the new combat styles that you are now capable of using.
Yes, you heard right – there are now three different combat styles available to players: Light (sword & shield), Heavy (two-handed), and Dual (two swords, no shield). Each style has its own mechanics, strengths, and weaknesses. To switch to a different combat style, you will have to have the appropriate weapon equipped. The weapons are also split up into categories now when you browse through your inventory and shop.
The Heavy style is slow but insanely powerful. You also won’t be able to dodge, but you will end up with three blocks instead of one (the other two are directional). The Dual style is great for those that can pull off chain combos effectively and flawlessly, but you give up blocking in the process. Personally, I’m still a fan of the original style (Light), but these new combat methods give a breath of fresh air to the game.
In addition to new combat styles, some items now have gem sockets (think Diablo and World of Warcraft). Along your journey, you may come across gems as drops from Titans or found in treasure chests. To add a gem to an item, the only requirement is that it must be the right shape. These gems have many bonuses, such as more elemental damage, gained experience, more gold, better item drop percentages, and more. The best thing is that gems can be swapped out to use in other items, as long as you have the in-game money to pay for it. Useless gems can be sold for money, while the good ones can be kept, as long as you have the space for it.
Remember those awesome elemental powers that items had that would help in your assault on the Titans? In Infinity Blade II, there are even more elements to be found, including water, wind, light, and dark. Finally, there are now chests that can only be opened with specific keys, so be on the lookout for them, as they can appear on the ground or ledges, and even drop from enemies.
Of course, what would Infinity Blade be without that signature recurring “rebirth” when you either die or beat the “final” boss. You still get that here, though it feels like it’s actual progression once you learn the story behind this sequel.
Game Center support is there for leaderboards (just your level for now) and achievements.
Like the first game, players should expect great updates from Chair in the future, including more items, enemies, and Clashmob mode, which seems to be a new social mode. Infinity Blade II definitely shows off what iOS is capable of in terms of gaming, and it does not disappoint.
This is what iOS games are made of.