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Infinity Blade II



A few months ago a few iOS games were released for free on the AppStore, Infinity Blade II being one of them. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough space on my iPhone 4S at the time to complete the download. But I recently unchecked the 2012 C3 panel recordings (to add the 2013 Pinball Expo panel recordings) and freed up enough space to complete the install.


Ghods it's a pretty game.


It looks like a AAA PS3 game. The environment is lush and detailed and the characters are graphically and mechanically impressive (although everyone wears full helmets so you don't get any facial work). And the variety of enemies is astounding. I don't think I've seen a non-boss opponent twice (except when I restart the game).


The game itself is fairly simple - you engage in one-on-one sword battles with opponents. In battle you swipe & tap at the screen to attack or defend. There's upgrades and options and different paths to take. But the basic gameplay is battle & defeat your opponent, then select the path to your next opponent. Rinse & repeat. If you are defeated you can either retry the battle or restart the level. You are one of the "Deathless", so you can never truly die. (And when you die, you still keep all of your gold and possessions.)


Before I start giving negatives, let me say that I am enjoying playing the game - even with the negatives. There's something ultimately satisfying in making that perfect parry / block / combo; especially on an attack which previously hit (or killed) you.


As I mentioned, the gameplay is very repetitive. And while each enemy is graphically unique, their attacks are not. There are also a small number of "finishing moves" your character will automatically execute when you defeat an opponent. Your opponents can also execute attack moves (like a shield swipe / bash) which you cannot.


I haven't gotten really comfortable with the controls. I find myself parrying my opponent rather than blocking or dodging as I find it easier to swipe than to tap the correct onscreen button. But there are some attacks which can't be parried, so I'm trying to learn how to do both.


Due to the nature of the storyline, you start at the same location when you are "reborn" and travel over much of the same path. (Although each time you defeat a boss more paths open up.) And as you travel along the path you encounter opponents at the same spot (although each time the opponent is different and more powerful). So the world isn't as "big" as in would be in a console game. (But it's pretty. Oh so pretty.)


The story is some kind of mis-mash of quest to find & free "the Worker" while defeating "Deathless". It would probably make more sense if I played the first Infinity Blade. But, as with most games, your character moves through the story rather than creating the story. So I'll just have fun fighting each opponent and not worry too much about the story.


Of course, all of this wonderful graphics and gameplay comes at a price - the game is hard on batteries. It's the smartphone curse - the more you use the non-phone features the less value it has as an actual phone ('cause the battery is dead).


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Playing through more of the game I am now seeing repetition, both specific enemies (hate that Wood Jester) and general body types (which dictates both attacks and the finishing move).


But the bigger crime is the exponential grinding. While I can defeat most of the non-boss enemies, the bosses do enough damage that a couple of hits will kill me - and they have an impossibly high number of hit points themselves (i.e. 10 times what I have). In order to defeat them I have to increase my skill (so I get hit less often) and level up (so I get more health and attack points and can afford / find better equipment).

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