“Lunges for ‘classic’, but stabs ‘merely very good’ instead. Nonetheless, it’s essential if you enjoyed the original.”£4.99
The original Infinity Blade was a graphical showpiece for iOS devices. Gamers gawped at their screens as a lone swordsman battled giant Titans, aiming to overthrow the God King. This was achieved largely by swiping at the screen like a loon and hacking at virtual foes with virtual swords – Infinity Blade wasn’t the deepest of games, it has to be said. Still, if you realised you were getting a beautifully polished new take on traditional block-and-counter fighting games rather than a free-roaming role-playing epic, chances are you didn’t care.rnrnWe were also amused by the game’s conceit of having the hero’s offspring attempting to avenge his father’s inevitable death at the hands (well, really big sword) of the God King, equipped with his dad’s armour, weapons and a little extra clout.rnrnIn a sense, Infinity Blade II is analogous to the series’ reincarnation concept, which is fitting, meta, or a little too obvious, depending on who you talk to. Once again, you’re wandering around a castle, duffing up outsized foes, grabbing gold, levelling up your character when you get the chance and getting abruptly stabbed to death upon meeting one of the game’s bosses. Post-death, you repeat the entire process, but with the experience and weapons so far gained.rnrnGiven that Tap! isn’t inclined to go easy on samey sequels, why aren’t we rolling out the puns (Infinity Failed! Infinity Blunt! Infinity Fade!)? Well, aside from the fact that our puns are clearly rubbish, the game is anything but. It’s not a massive leap forward, but it very much succeeds in the important area of depth. The new castle might not be a sprawling fortress, but it makes the original game’s look rather like a bungalow in Barnstable. And we enjoyed the graphical variety: gloomy stone corridors; a Japanese garden; an amphitheatre with a fighting arena that we should have known better than to enter; a surprisingly large creature with lots of teeth, keen on tearing us apart.rnrnWhat’s most improved, though, is the fighting. Battles initially feel broadly the same: Titan attacks are telegraphed and drawn from a limited range of canned animations, giving the impression that your foe’s visual appearance is little more than a skin on a generic skeleton. But over time this sequel provides more diverse creatures to fight, each with less uniform fighting tactics. There’s still repetition, but the added depth slows the game’s gradual slip into monotony and forces you to regularly reassess your tactics.rnrnUsefully, the game’s hero also has new moves. You start out with a stock sword-and-shield kit, but soon get to take dual or heavy weapons into battle. The former boost your attack speed, while heavy weapons (such as massive hammers) provide the kind of power that had us dispatch a boss in a single stint of slightly over-zealous hammer blows. After upgrading, we never felt the need to return to the original game’s weapons set.rnrnWe did miss a couple of things from the original Infinity Blade, though. The new title’s dialogue is horrible, replacing snippets of text in a mystical tongue with a hackneyed story in American, which demolishes the game’s atmosphere during critical boss battles. The new game is also a bit buggy. Since launch, devices older than the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S have been plagued with crashes and occasional lag (some even after the 1.0.2 update). Our iPhone 4S fared better, with only minor glitches, but we suggest checking the current state of play for your device before parting with your fiver.rnrnNiggles aside, Chair’s sword fighting romp wins its battle for a recommendation, albeit with scrapes and bruises. If you didn’t like the original, this won’t convert you – and we hope Chair doesn’t soon roll out the next in an infinite number of Infinity Blade games merely with new Titans and metal hats. But if you enjoyed battling the God King, Infinity Blade II’s a no-brainer purchase.