The Lone Gamer’s Infinity Blade III Review


The original swipe n’ slash saga reaches its finale.

It’s kind of weird that there have been three Infinity Blade games, but I’ve only now posted a review, apparently. But suffice to say that I enjoyed the first two games greatly- being an iPadder, having Chair’s premiere title on the platform is almost a prerequisite. But heck, I got the game the day it was released, been playing it since and have the scars and the smiles to show for it. So here’s my review of the flagship swipe n’ slash title on portables.

Many have imitated, but none have equalled Chair’s Infinity Blade series. In terms of gameplay and polish, this series is the top of the finger-fighters. So it’s kinda sad that with Infinity Blade III, the saga ends (more so with the cancellation of IF Dungeons- sad, that). So how does this digit-drawing adventure go out?

SPOILER ALERT!

In the original Infinity Blade, we played a nameless warrior, or a line of warriors, all fated to spend their apparently short lives trying to defeat a seemingly invincible God King. It was only after several lifetimes and the accumulation of power, skill and better equipment that the tyrant was eventually defeated, and the titular Infinity Blade won.

The sequel, Infinity Blade II, grew the world and characters, not only in the game but through novels that fleshed out the story. To put it simply, we were actually playing a single person, not a succession of fathers and sons, as we were initially led to believe. Our hero, now named Ciris, was as immortal as the enemies he faced- a Deathless himself, seeking redemption for past sins. In IF2, he sought out the fabled Worker of Secrets, an immortal who may hold the key to the salvation of the world and the final defeat of the evil Deathless overlords. But the game ended with a mammoth cliffhanger, and all held their breaths for the final resolution and comeuppance.


Don’t count on killing the dragon right away- this isn’t Skyrim.

Infinity Blade III brings back Ciris and the now-playable female warrior Isa. Things have happened in between the end of the previous game and this one, which you’ll need to read up on the novel to find out exactly. Suffice to say, there’s one big bad enemy waiting at the end of the proverbial mash, and there’s a lot of slashing to be had before Ciris and Isa finish their quest.

GRAPHICS
What can we say about IF3′s looks? The game looks as slick as slick can get. The visuals are more polished than ever, and no other game on the appstore likely has better looks and animations. Though actual flesh-and-blood characters seem to be a bit stiff, what the game does best- Intricate armors,m weapons and hulking monsters- all look amazing no matter what your iOS device (so long as you can play it).


Macho warrior Ciris is joined by his lady love Isa this time around. She kicks ASS!

SOUNDS
The music in this game is as majestic as any fantasy epic, with some nice atmospheric tunes thrown in, like the unexpectedly tranquil keyboards in the enemy’s final stronghold. The voice acting is altogether excellent, headlined of course by the imperiously glorious and commanding tones of John Noble (The Lord of the Rings, Dark Matters) as the sinister Worker of Secrets (Noble takes over the role from Simon Templeman in IF2).

GAMEPLAY
I have to say that after two games, Chair has perfected the swipe-to-slash gameplay of their fighter to the utmost. The game is as responsive as you’d want, and there’s a nice variety of styles to use between your two playables. Those who have mastered the previous game will probably find this finale a lot easier and probably a cake walk once they get the more powerful weapons at their disposal.
In any case, it’s as exciting and satisfying as ever to topple massive enemies or intimidating armored warriors with your arsenal of ever-more-powerful weapons and equipment.

Newly-added to the game are crafters. Similar to games like Diablo III, you will meet and recruit various NPCs who will serve to upgrade your equipment, sell or buy items, mix potions or cut gems. They’re a nice addition and make your little hideaway a bit more populated than ever before.
On the other hand, even with lots of new stuff, the game reuses quite a lot of assets from the previous game (familiar enemies and animations abound), and it all seems very brief- even if there is an overworld map to choose destinations from, there are actually quite few places to go to- and no backtracking once you defeat a particular region or area. I can only hope that future DLCs and expansions fill out the map with more places and more foes to take on in the near future.

REPLAYABILITY
Unlike in previous games, there is no ‘New Game Plus’ in IF3, but once you beat the game and go through the credits (and you WILL want to see the credits all the way through), you just replay the game from the start but with your current level of experience/skills and arsenal/items. So you can keep grinding and playing till you have all the all-powerful weapons with a character who can kick ass without trying.

PAY TO PLAY?
More so than any of the previous titles, Infinity Blade III is very heavy on asking you to spend real money. Tantalizingly out of reach, monstrously powerful weapons, gems and items are ready to be used- if you spend some cash. Thankfully, this shouldn’t be a problem if you slog it through and just PLAY the game. Special Credits can be earned by meeting in-game challenges or achievements, which should accumulate at a very rapid rate- save these for buying sometimes all-important Health potions or the occasional key.
Gold, accumulated in-game both from enemies or from pouches lying all over the place- will eventually be plentiful, though probably not to the many hundreds of thousands needed to buy some of the more high level stuff. Still, you can very much enjoy the game and have great equipment without paying a single real cent. Pay only if you’re extremely impatient, are a completist and have a good credit line.

There are some funny quirks with this game… I STILL hate fighting those blasted behemoths (learning their damn patterns is just so darn hard) and I find it hilarious that you spend whole battles trying to cut an enemy to ribbons with your sword but often finish them off by snapping their NECK. Oh, and Isa, why do you even bother with that darn crossbow?

Even if Infinity Blade II may be the best chapter for many, I think the additional playable character and the fully-fleshed out world, along with a cool ending (that actually keeps the franchise open to another sequel) makes this a no-brainer buy for anyone with a capable iDevice. Heck, if you have a new iThing, you probably already have this anyway. If you haven’t, what are you waiting for? This is the game that should be seen on your screen, peeps. So get swiping!

Infinity Blade III is now available for iPhone and iPad on the Appstore for $6.99.

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