Thursday, 21 August 2014

Infinity Blade 3 (iOS)

Yes, I've been playing it quite a bit

It's an odd game given what it is and what it could have been but for what it IS as a game, Infinity Blade 3 could be a lot worse than it is. The highly touted and greatly promised 3rd game in the Infinity Blade series started off as THE killer app for the iPhone and iPad series, promising stunning graphics, fast gameplay and an in-depth and involving storyline. I'll be taking a look at the 3rd game, as I've not got the other 2 installed to review those ones, just yet.

Drops, rivulets, stunning looking game.

Some liken the game to Punch Out on the NES in terms of gameplay but I suppose you could say that if you say that slapping two slices of bread together and calling it a sandwich while placing those slices of bread next to a burger with lettuce, onions, beef patties, ketchup and ... I really should have had breakfast before writing this one. I lost that metaphor, but either way it's NOT the same game and NOT the same mechanics.

The story so far: Bear with me on this.

Guy goes to avenge father, fights into castle, meets Godking and gets killed. Every 19 years, son of guy goes to castle to meet the same fate. Eventually someone kills the GodKing and takes from him the Infinity Blade, dying words are that "now they'll come for you", while ignoring side quests and bonuses. Which is game 1 in a nutshell.

I live... again...

Game 2 has guy now resurrecting and realising he's a deathless, meaning that if he dies he returns a little while later, turns out it's always been him just slowly resurrecting in the first game. Incidentally, SPOILERS BACK THERE and shut up. Guy then goes to find the Worker of Secrets who is believed to be the one to make a weapon that can kill the deathless. Guy kills lots of deathless, finds the Worker but needs to go back and kill the GodKing again and bring him to the Worker to switch places in the prison. Guy does so, Worker pulls a fast one and reveals that Guy put him there in the first place, now he'll take over the world.

Power Move!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

THIS game, guy (who realises he was another guy beforehand but had a case of explosive amnesia) seeks to find the Worker of Secrets and kill him before he burns the world from space. Yes we really upped the ante in this one, while teaming up with another deathless and seeking for a weapon that will kill the Worker of Secrets, who happens to be immune to his own weapons. Makes sense really, why make a weapon that could be used against you?

He's big, he's ugly, he's going to hurt you a lot if you let him.

With this in mind, cue fights against ninjas, knights, walking tanks, mutants, dragons (yes, BIG ONES at that), various plot based bosses, arenas and online modes with ClashMobs to level up your characters and weapons. Yep, there's a grind fest in this game.

Steals items, sells them back to you, but can sell you unique things too.

The game is nothing but stylish. Set in a possible future with slight steampunk/medieval settings and a touch of magic thrown into the mix, you guide Siris (The Guy) and Isis through multiple gorgeous levels and have them duelling with various enemies to gain levels, which can be used to boost your Health, Attack, Shield/Blocking and Magic powers. Once you progress far enough you'll unlock a gem cutter who can create extra boosts with gems you've collected that can really ramp your weapons and stats up but only if your equipment has the right shaped slot for them, otherwise that +10 mace will have to be swapped out for the +8 cabbage on a rope to use your +2 magic and many, many, higher numbers involved later. Further progression gives you an armourer who will upgrade armour that has been maxed out in exp which can be worn again for more exp.

"...On the third day, ride out to the sun..."

The levelling system is a little odd. You don't gain exp PERSONALLY (though you do) you gain it by the experience gained by the equipment. Weapons, shields, armours and magic rings all have an exp limit, they gain it through the fights you win and for each exp point THEY gain, you gain as a level progression. But once they're maxed out, you have to change weapons (or sooner) to continue levelling up. Once they're maxed out, you can have them upgraded with the armourer and then start over to boost your level even further. For every level up you attain, you get 2 stat points to increase and for every item that maxes out, you get another stat point.


Sounds complicated but you steadily learn that having maxed out items will not progress you. Each time you beat a level (or have to replay it if you lose to the boss) your "Awakening" increases which means the enemies will get harder. Eventually you'll hit a brick wall if you're not increasing stats and boosting equipment, but you can roll back the difficulties by 1 or 10 levels if you wish, but that means less exp after each fight. It's an odd mechanic but thankfully stops the issue in earlier games where people would not be able to progress because of under-levelled characters.

HA! Easy! Full magic and power move = WIN!

There's side quests too, the mission involving dragons that randomly turn up and cause an epically scripted series of Quick time events, bonus items and missions against key recurring characters that seek "GLORY IN TH FIELD OF COMBAT" or just want to fight you for your weapon, but you can win theirs too, or going toe to toe with your former persona.

Vore fans have problems here, they tend to get eaten whole, a lot.

Combat within the game stems from swiping to strike, tapping to stab (where necessary) and using the buttons at the left, middle and right to either dodge or block depending upon the weapon you hold. Sword and shield has 2 dodges and block but can't block every attack, heavy weapons have 3 blocks (no dodges) but you CAN block every attack if you time it right and dual wielding gives you full dodges no blocks so you can avoid every attack. Survive enough of a flurry of attacks and you'll tire the enemy out which gives you the chance to attack back and score combos, repeat until someone's dead. Super moves and Magic steadily charge through the fight until you use them, magic's ranging from elemental damage, shielding, health restoration and such, while the super move gives you an instant free combo followed by a free flowing combo until the enemy recovers.

Great Parry! Much Skill! Doge!!1!one!

There is a HUGE amount to do in this game, if you like the tactician method of fighting and countering moves and like the grinding, you'll find there's a wealth of things to do in this game. Side quests and missions are a little disappointing in that once you've done them, that's it. Dragons don't return even in the "newgame+" modes and for the truly hardcore there's the Deathless Mode which has other weapons you can't normally find but if you die there, whatever killed you KEEPS your stuff until you go back and beat them!

Siris looking suitably badass here.

Graphically, this is one of the most impressive games I've seen on the iOS systems and really should be a benchmark for future games if it isn't used as an industry standard already. Though you will need to have the latest iOS appliances to get the benefits, i.e. iPhone 4 will not see the extra effects that iPhone 5S can see, likewise between iPad 1 - 3 and beyond. But it's playable, still looks good but not great with older gear. But that's the limitation of hardware and not a fault with the game per se.
The music is stunning, from slow ambient background noises and deep base notes to the faster, more frantic fight music's (of which there are many) culminating in multiple tracks per fight depending upon how damaged the enemy is. For fans of the series, it shows that the makers ChAIR have really pulled out the stops on this title and with regular (read: Daily) bonus online challenges for more cash, chips and loot, there's almost ALWAYS something to come back for and play.

The state of play, missions and bonus quests to be done. Avoid the one at the top...

The downside is that soon it does become repetitive and eventually you WILL run out of things to do, but it's more than likely you'll have had more than enough of the game before you reach that point. I can't really recommend this higher.