For the first time ever, Chair has dropped the price of the marvelous Infinity Blade II to $0.99. If you haven’t played this game yet, now’s your chance to grab it for cheap. If you’re still on the fence about it, though, read our review to see if it sounds like a good time, then click here to make the big purchase.
Infinity Blade II
In case you’re new to iOS or haven’t played the Infinity Blade series yet for some other reason, today’s your lucky day: both games are on sale for cheap. Infinity Blade went from $5.99 to $0.99, while Infinity Blade II went from $6.99 to $2.99. Get ’em while they’re hot, because you never know when they’ll go back up to their original prices.
The Infinity Blade series follows a knight named Siris as he faces off against all kinds of fantastical beasts called titans. The action is intense, with a deep combat system and loads of loot to purchase and equip. For more details read our reviews, but the long and short of it is that they’re both well worth buying, especially on sale.
Chair Entertainment has just announced that Infinity Blade II will see its “largest free content update” yet on Thursday. The update is called Vault of Tears, and it brings several new features to the game. Read on for screenshots and details.
To access the updated content, all you have to do is tap the newly-opened route to the right after defeating the first enemy on a new rebirth. This makes Siris descend a hidden stone staircase carved into the side of the mountain, to a new area below.
Here you’ll encounter enormous new titans, gather plenty of new loot, and uncover more of Siris’s backstory. They’ve also added a new ClashMob feature that encourages you to bug your friends on social networks. Whenever a friend or follower likes or retweets one of the posts you make through the game, your enemies receive damage. In addition, there’ve included a treasure map feature that lets you find hidden items and rewards.
If you own Infinity Blade II, be sure to check out the update on Thursday. If you don’t own it, check out our review and see if it’s your type of game.
The outstanding Infinity Blade II won the prestigious Interactive Achievement Award for Best Mobile Game. The awards, held by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences, are voted on by a committee of the top minds in gaming. While the competition was fierce, Infinity Blade II was the favorite to win for bringing iOS visuals to new heights. Congratulations for Chair Entertainment and Epic Games for the award.
You can watch the 15th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards and several fascinating DICE Summit panels at DICE.gamespot.com.
Some interesting news for anyone who likes to follow the financial success of App Store blockbusters. Today Chair and Epic, developers of the Infinity Blade series, announced that Infinity Blade 2 took in $5 million in revenue in one month, bringing sales from the complete franchise (including the first game, plus a spin-off book, soundtrack, and arcade coin-op) to $30 million. That’s a lot of sacks of gold.
We’re not too surprised by this game’s incredible success. As we explained in our Game of the Year article, Infinity Blade 2 is a showpiece for the latest graphics technology on iOS devices. It’s also an intense fighting game that is perfectly suited for shorter play sessions, while providing hours of detailed RPG customization.
In addition to our Game of the Year award, Infinity Blade 2 won Mobile Game of the Year awards from Touch Gen, IGN, Gamespot, and G4TV. They’ve got so many accolades, they even put together a special “Game of the Year” trailer.
More updates are expected this year for Infinity Blade 2, including the massively multiplayer “clash mobs”, which you can read more about in our Q and A with the developers.
For the past two years, we’ve split our Game of the Year award into two categories: Editor’s Choice, chosen by the staff at Slide To Play, and People’s Choice, which is chosen by our readers and followers on Twitter and Facebook. This year, everyone’s in agreement: The 2011 iOS Game of the Year is Infinity Blade 2.
Chair Entertainment’s Infinity Blade 2 succeeds by expanding on the world of the first, groundbreaking Infinity Blade game. IB2 offers you more tactics, like the ability to choose between dual-wielding weapons, a sword and shield combination, or a heavy two-handed weapon. The storyline in the sequel is deeper and more satisfying than the original game’s premise, with characters that change in ways beyond leveling up with experience points.
And while graphics aren’t the only thing we look for in a great game, Infinity Blade 2 wins in the visuals department hands-down. If Slide To Play gave Academy Awards-style recognition for visual effects, Chair would have earned one this year. Some of the landscapes in Infinity Blade 2 seem like photographs, and the detailed armor and weapons are so real you can practically feel the cold steel.
Our runner-up for Game of the Year (again, both Editor’s Choice and People’s Choice) is Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto 3. In this open-world crime game, which originally launched on home consoles in 2001, you can go just about anywhere and take any car from the street. You’ll receive criminal tasks from celebrity-voiced mob bosses, and these lead to an incredible amount of gameplay variety.
GTA 3 is a vast game, with tons of hidden objectives and opportunities for mayhem. Like Infinity Blade 2, it requires relatively recent iOS hardware to run at full capacity, and it won’t run at all on some older devices. Another lesson from the iPhone game market in 2011: If you want to run the best games, you’d better get a current device.
Congratulations to Chair and Rockstar for succeeding so admirably in this intensely competitive App Store marketplace. Let’s hope next year there are even more great games to choose from– we welcome the challenge of picking just one Game of the Year out of so many top-quality iOS games.
December was an incredible month on the App Store. We handed out several well-deserved Must Have ratings to games, including Trenches II, Sleepy Jack, Bug Princess, Grand Theft Auto III, Sonic CD, The Adventures of Tintin, Bejeweled, and Mini Motor Racing. But there can only be one Game of the Month, and this month it’s Infinity Blade II, the incredibly deep and nuanced action RPG from Chair Entertainment.
Infinity Blade II takes everything that was great about the original and turns it up a notch. The environment is bigger this time around, the swipe-based fighting is deeper, and the story has been significantly fleshed out. The attention to detail is even more apparent in everything from the inventory system to the dazzling graphics.
More than that, it’s obvious that this game was designed from the ground up to feel at home on a touchscreen. If you ported Infinity Blade II to any platform with traditional control input, the game would feel shoe-horned in. It’s great to see a developer so talented devote all of their creative energy into making an incredible game for iOS. If you enjoyed the original, you’ll love the sequel.
Our runner-up for Game of the Month is Grand Theft Auto III, by Rockstar Games. It blows our minds that a game whose size and scope shocked PlayStation 2 owners when it came out 10 years ago has been ported to our cell phones. Every inch of Liberty City is present in this port, as are the professionally-voiced characters and nostalgia-inducing radio stations. Grand Theft Auto III is nothing short of a masterpiece, and the iOS port does it justice in just about every way possible.
Congratulations to Chair Entertainment and Rockstar Games for bringing us two of the best titles to be released this month!
Chances are, you’ve poured many hours into your character in Infinity Blade. You’ve fought through the castle a handful of times, leveled up your character, honed your sword-fighting ability, taken down hundreds of beasts, and finally, in a pulse-pounding confrontation, you conquered the God King. So what’s next? In Infinity Blade 2, you start over. And if that sounds like a bad thing, it’s not. Not at all.
Infinity Blade 2 continues the story of Siris who, after killing the God King, decides to free the creator of the Infinity Blade, the Worker of Secrets. There’s a lot more story in the sequel than there was in the original game, and it’s told in brief cut scenes that are interesting enough that you’ll want to find out what happens next. Every line of text is competently voice acted, and the story contains some unexpected plot twists (even if it crosses into retcon territory). We should note that you don’t need to have played the original to understand what’s happening in Infinity Blade 2.
You’re so much taller in real life.
But the core of the original game remains fully intact in the sequel. You still make your way from point to point through a spacious medieval castle and take on increasingly dangerous opponents in one-on-one battles to the death. While fighting, your opponents still telegraph their attacks before unleashing them, giving you time to dodge, block, or parry accordingly. After avoiding a few attacks, you get an opening to strike back, and you swipe at the screen to chip away at their health bar.
Instead of totally revamping the gameplay for the sequel, the developers have taken just about every aspect of the original and found clever ways to make the experience deeper, more strategic and engrossing. Weapons are customizable, combat has been tweaked, and the environment changes over time, opening up new areas to explore. If playing through the same environment multiple times bothered you about the first game, you’ll find the sequel to be less repetitive. Restarting from the same place outside the castle is still at the center of the game’s design, but the pathways through the castle branch early and often. And instead of questing after one main villain, you’re charged with killing four bosses here.
This time around, fighting is deeper in several ways. Enemies come in more varieties, with different body shapes, weapon sets, and attacks you’ll have to adapt to as you play. Often the game will lay out a goal before a fight, like winning without blocking, or successfully parrying three enemy attacks before making the kill. Achieving these goals gives you extra experience points. You can even put away your shield and dual-wield light weapons for faster attacks, or use a heavy two-handed weapon that makes your attacks slower, but more damaging.
King of the staircase.
The basic fighting mechanics are more strategic now, too. In the first game, we found ourselves dodging just about every attack, because dodging was easier than parrying, and blocking was for chumps. This time around, the game encourages you to add variety to your defense, so you’re more likely to block, dodge, and parry in each fight. Parrying is much easier to do now, and you’re even rewarded for how precise your parries are. You can also get ‘perfect’ blocks by blocking immediately before a hit will land. To deter players from dodging every attack, you can only dodge a few times in a row before you become exhausted and start moving slower. These features give a lot more texture to the battles, and make them more intense. And believe us, the battles are intense.
And of course leveling up your character is still a huge part of the game. Once again, experience points are funneled through your gear, and when a piece of gear is maxed out, you’ll stop receiving some of the experience points you earn. This sounds annoying, but it encourages you to keep upgrading to new and better equipment. When you do level up, or when you max out one of your items’ XP, you can pump points into your basic stats, increasing your character’s health, attack, defense, or magic.
For the most part, the game has a dark fantasy tone, but you’ll find a few playful elements. Searching for gold and items scattered around the environment is always fun, and this time around the world is packed full of collectibles. This adds a fun ‘hidden pictures’ element to the game that nearly everyone will enjoy. You can also find ‘Prize Wheels,’ which let you spin a wheel of items–think The Price is Right–and you get to keep whatever piece of equipment the wheel lands on. Also, the iCloud saving feature lets you play the game on multiple devices and pick up exactly where you left off. And we mean exactly.
This may sting a little.
And last but not least, the visuals of Infinity Blade 2 are incredible. Once again, Chair Entertainment has pushed the graphical capabilities of iOS devices beyond what we’ve seen in just about any other game. The cinematic camera movements, silky smooth animation, and highly detailed textures show the gorgeous things your iOS device can do. We played the game on an iPad 1 and an iPhone 4S, and while it looks noticeably better on the 4S, it’s no slouch on the first generation iPad.
One of the real triumphs of Infinity Blade 2, in our mind, is how all of the gameplay elements are carefully designed to guide you to get the most out of the game. You’re rewarded for changing up your style during fights. You’re slapped on the wrist if you stop trying out new gear. If one path leads you to a boss that’s too powerful for you to handle, you can try out another path to see if the boss at the end is more manageable. It’s incredibly rare to find such a deep and ambitious game on iOS that’s so masterfully constructed.
In just about every way, Infinity Blade 2 builds on the rock-solid foundation of the original game, and delivers an experience that’s as tense, deep, gorgeous, and enjoyable as anything you’ll find on the platform. If you didn’t like the original Infinity Blade, the sequel isn’t different enough to change your mind. But for everyone else–and there are a lot of us–it delivers exactly what we’re looking for.