At last week’s iPhone 5S unveiling, Epic also announced Infinity Blade III, the latest in their groundbreaking swipe-combat series. iOS gamers won’t have to wait long to download IB3, since it’ll be available on the App Store next week, but we had a chance to play through it a few days early. The good news is that Infinity Blade III is still a stunning-looking game, and it adds a few minor features that complement the combat.
Epic has asked us specifically not to reveal too many details about the prologue, which like in Infinity Blade 2, gives you a chance to learn the game’s basic controls while also being introduced to the complex storyline. You’ll have to face an overwhelming enemy early on, which will teach you a bit of humility before switching perspectives and allowing you to build up a new character from scratch.
Infinity Blade III plays a little more with the series’ unique blend of medieval combat and sci-fi technology. One of the main characters, Siris, has a robotic companion during the initial cutscenes, but he also dresses in head-to-toe plate armor and fights his enemies hand-to-hand. If you die during a boss encounter, Siris will be resurrected almost immediately– you don’t have to come back as his son to avenge his death, like in the first game. The technology that allows warriors to potentially live forever is a major plot device for the series.
When you’re not fighting, you’ll be exploring the detailed world and searching for new ways to improve your champion. Just like in the last two games, you can tap on bags of currency during cutscenes to collect extra cash, which can be used to arm yourself with a variety of different weapons and armor. In a first for the series, though, you’ll be able to collect more than just cash and keys. Potion ingredients, like berries, mushrooms, and roots, can also be collected and stored in your inventory.
Whenever you start a new cycle, you’ll have the opportunity to mix your own potions at a place called The Hideout. However, it’ll take time to brew bigger potions, and you can speed along the process with premium in-app currency. While we found our progress to be pretty steady without any in-app purchases, there’s still the option to spend up to $100 at a time of real money in order to buy in-game gold.
The rest of the Infinity Blade formula feels the same as it always has. The first game introduced parries, dodges, blocks, and swipes, and that gameplay has hardly changed. Depending on your weapon, you’ll have to approach enemies slightly differently, since heavy weapons don’t allow you to dodge in quite the same way. In the main quest, you’ll cycle through the same environments until you’re able to defeat a tough end-level boss in one attempt. You’ll also have the option to take on ClashMobs and individual fights, which were not unlocked in our early version.
As a way to show off the processing power of Apple’s newer iOS devices, Infinity Blade III is extremely impressive. The panoramic backgrounds and detailed armor sets are breathtaking at times, and there’s a lot of varied content to unlock. The storyline is a bit obtuse, so it might help if you’ve completed the other games or read the tie-in novel. Even if you fast-forward through the cutscenes, the huge, intimidating foes you’ll fight make Infinity Blade III highly entertaining. Look for it on the App Store next Wednesday, September 18.