Review by sushi6969
"A More Than Satisfying Follow Up to the Original"
Infinity Blade II is the sequel to the critically acclaimed Infinity Blade for iOS. I had never heard of this series until I saw a critic review that gave the game a 10 rating, so I figured I'd play it to see what all the fuss was about. I played the original game in one sitting and since it left so many questions unanswered plot-wise, I read the Infinity Blade Awakening book the following day, which did clear up a lot of unanswered questions. Then the following day, I finished Infinity Blade II in one sitting, so my review is based on beating both games and reading the middle book within a 3-day span..
Infinity Blade II has a very unique and addicting style of gameplay. Many have called it a mix of Punch-Out and Myst, which I would agree with. You go from enemy to enemy and have one-on-one duels to the death, in which the enemy attacks and you have to decide whether to dodge, block, parry, stun or use magic. Once you defeat the enemy, you gain XP, gold and sometimes an item drop. Your character levels up as your weapons and armor level up. Once your weapons and armor reach their cap, they are "mastered" and you can no longer gain XP from that item. If you find a weapon or piece of armor you absolutely love, don't get to comfortable with it as the game essentially forces you upgrade your stuff in order to continue leveling up. In the original game, you used the gold you earned in battle to purchase a light weapon strong enough to take on the enemies that level up along with your character. The gameplay of the sequel follows the formula the original game, but adds to it in a great way. In this game, you can wield not only light weapons, but also heavy weapons and dual weapons and each boast their own unique style of gameplay and it behooves the player to learn more than one style. In my playthrough, I only played light and heavy weapons and I found myself having to switch between styles often. The heavy weapons do massive damage and are tempting to use throughout the playthrough, but you can't dodge when wielding them and your blocks have to be almost perfect to work, so while using heavy weapons do a lot more damage, it also requires more skill and you'll find yourself mastering the art of parrying more and more while using them. As for difficulty, I found this game to be quite easy, as I had just beaten the original a couple days earlier had the gameplay fresh in my head. I found the original to be slightly more challenging because you had to master the gameplay from scratch and it often required a lot of trial and error. The enemies in the sequel use pretty much the same moves as the original, so if you are playing this fresh after playing the original, you can easily beat this game in one sitting. My only complaint is that you can't sell your weapons or armor unless you have duplicates of them, so owning a singular mastered item serves no purpose other than to clutter your inventory. However, the game does make up for this as t felt like there were twice as many money bags scattered throughout the game as were in the original, so you can make a lot of money is a short period of time. A final complaint, that will probably be remedied in the next update, is that you can easily beat this game without ever having to purchase the Infinity Blade. In the original game, this was the case too, but then in a later update, it required you to own the Blade in order to advance and see the "True Ending." If history repeats itself, I fully expect to the next update to include an element that will require you to wield the Infinity Blade.
As background, in the original game, you were a warrior who had to fight your way through lots and lots of enemies to finally reach the "God King" who had slain one of your ancestors. If the GK kills you, your son (presumably) vows to avenge your death and must face the same trials in hopes of defeating the GK. You eventually defeat the GK, who tells you that "others" will come looking for you, presumably to steal the Infinity Blade that you took from him. Reading the short novel that bridges the two games is almost mandatory to understand what's going on in Infinity Blade II. In short, you basically learn that the GK will be constantly resurrected until you can defeat him with a "fully-powered" Infinity Blade, and that was also GK's motivation in the first game. GK wanted to power up the Blade by killing you and other members of your bloodline, so that he could use it to kill the other "Deathless" gods and reign supreme. You decide to seek out a character named the Worker of Secrets, who created the Infinity Blade, so you can return the Blade to him in the hopes that he will either destroy it or help you defeat the other Deathless that are now coming for you. However, at the end of the book (and also presented in the opening cutscene of the game), the resurrected GK returns and steals back the Infinity Blade and that's where the story of Infinity Blade II begins. Your main goal in this game, is to fight through enemies at the fortress where the Worker of Secrets is being held prisoner, so you can free him and hopefully gain his help in saving the world from the GK and the other Deathless. The developers did a great job of taking advantage of sometimes redundant gameplay and actually making it a part of the story, in the form of multiple bloodlines (in the first game) and multiple rebirths (in the second game). The story of the first game led to lots of unanswered questions and speculation, but the novel sequel and this game pretty much clear up all loose ends and you realize that this game has a great story that weaves medieval fantasy with hints of sci-fi elements.
The graphics are where this game truly shines. This is probably the best looking game for iOs. The textures are smooth, the world is lush and colorful and the character design is amazing. There really isn't any memorable music, but the sound in general is very atmospheric and really adds to the game in a great way.
You can easily beat this game in one sitting. The only problem is that the repetitive nature of the gameplay, while addictive, didn't really lead me to want to continue playing after beating the game. I already fought "Horned-Helmet Fat Guard" 50 times during the actual game....now that I've beaten it, why would I want to keep fighting him? When the multi-player aspect is released along with some additional levels and a possible "True Ending" like in the first game, this score will go up, but as purely a single player experience, I probably won't be playing this again until the update comes out.
OVERALL SCORE - 8.8
FINAL RECOMMENDATION: With the limited amount of truly great RPG's coming out these days, I'd say this game is a must, if you own an iPhone or iPad. You definitely should play the original and read the novel that bridges the gap between the two games first, so you understand what's going on. Overall, this game shines in the graphics and gameplay department, but also has a simple but interesting story. Even though the playtime and replayability is n the low side, this game costs only $6.99 so you more than get your money's worth on this one.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 01/03/12
Game Release: Infinity Blade II (US, 11/29/11)
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