Here be monsters
Infinity Blade never really left my iPhone. After defeating the God King I kept finding myself back in the land of Lantimor and going back to defeat more of the monsters that lurked there. But now the team that brought us the visually impressive original are back with a follow up that aims to be even more impressive.
Epic and ChAIRs sequel takes place a while after the events of Infinity Blade. The hero, Siris, who we last saw defeating the God King, walks on to our screens in the knowledge that holding the Infinity Blade will draw the other Deathless closer. His new mission is to find the fabled Worker of Secrets, who created the Infinity Blade and will hopefully set humankind free from the rule of the Deathless. However, the God King makes a surprise return and forces Siris to let go of the sword, leaving him with basic weapons.
So begins the game and it appears all too familiar at first. Choose your path from a set of directions, indicated by glowing circles and then go head to head with the Titans that guard the way. The main action is, yet again, through fights with these Titans. Most fights involve parrying, blocking with a shield and dodging until you break the enemies defence. Once they are dazed then slashes and pokes at the screen will inflict damage.
Two other tools are at your disposal during a fight. The first is a special attack which provides major damage but requires recharging. It's usually only available once per fight. The second, if you find or buy a ring, is magic.
Magic, once equipped, can be used to heal Siris or attack the enemy. It charges over time like the special attack and is only available for a single use before requiring another charge, but it often aids in defeating the monsters.
While fights, at first, seem basic, there is a fair amount of strategy in using the moves and the tools to fell the Titans and the Deathless. The game rewards a good parry or block and encourages much more thoughtful fighting than the first, but it also allows you to use one of three different systems; light, heavy or dual. The light weapons are quicker to use and you get the advantage of a shield, but heavier weapons can also block and can cause some devastating combo attacks. Dual weapons leave you more defenceless but will allow you to cause major damage over a quick space of time. Finding the right attack involves sizing up your enemies and finding what weapon is most comfortable to use. You can easily play through the game with one style, though.
Levelling up is a necessity to progress in the game, both in having the strength and stamina to defeat your foes and in opening new paths to further the story. Choosing the right weapons for the job and careful use of money aids progress too. It's these small RPG-like additions that provide a sense of strategy to the game.
While nothing radical has changed, the areas Siris investigates are larger than before and there is a greater feeling of progression as new areas are unlocked. This also unlocks small story elements and gives the game a greater sense of purpose than the original. The ending is certainly something players will be discussing for some time, or at least until either DLC or Infinity Blade III appears. To compliment the story, voice acting in English now replaces the made up language of the first game and the impressive soundtrack gears up a notch to provide a suitably rousing score that mirrors the epic feel of the game.
So Infinity Blade II isn't exactly a major overhaul of the original game, but it doesn't need to be. The additional elements and added strategy improve an already impressive title and yet again, those amazing vistas and detailed enemies manage to impress.
- Sound: 9
- Graphics: 10
- Gameplay: 9
- Longevity: 10
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