When it comes to sheer awesomeness in terms of looks, Infinity Blade occupies a special place in mobile gaming history. Although one had seen games with decent graphics on handsets before it came into our tech lives it was perhaps the first title that allowed the words ‘console quality graphics’ to be mentioned alongside ‘mobile games.’ Yes, it was basically a hack and slash, beat-one-massive-opponent-after-another affair, but what a sight it was. And how easy to play, if you had an iOS device.
The locales were staggeringly detailed, light glinted off rapiers, water shimmered and even the demonically large enemies were rendered in fantastic detail. And all you needed to play was swipe your fingers at the opportune time to attack and parry, and use onscreen buttons to dodge attacks – incredibly basic, but simple for the same reason (although there were some potions and weapon choices thrown in). The second edition of the game had more of the same, with graphics being given a further boost (cherry blossoms floating in the air!!) and a slight element of a coherent story being brought in, although at the end of the day, it was still all about getting stuck into someone more than twice your size.
Which brings us to Infinite Blade 3. Yes, we do know it was used to highlight the graphic capabilities of the iPhone 5S. And there’s no doubting that it looks staggeringly good, even on our iPad (3rd generation), with amazing detail and great colors. Be it shimmering waterfalls or the rippling muscles of your adversary, there is eye candy aplenty here. And the gameplay remains as simple as ever – you even get the chance to play as one of two characters, and fight in different conditions, a far cry from the dingy dungeons and doorways of the past.
The problem is: graphics and gameplay were never really the problem with the game. If Infinity Blade had a flaw, it was in the lack of a clear storyline. And that problem, alas, remains totally unfixed. I have played both games in the series so far and was still flummoxed at the beginning of the third (I am not giving any spoilers – let’s just say that some roles have been reversed, and you end up battling someone you had actually striven to save earlier). I am told that reading a book by Brandon Sanderson – he who finished Robert Jordan’s epic Wheel of Time series – would make things easier, but that really should not be the case when one has shelled out USD 6.99 on a game and given it a massive 1.4 GB of precious space on one’s iPad.
Let me make one thing dead clear – Infinity Blade 3 is not a bad game. It looks brilliant, has great sound effects and frankly, you will be too engrossed fighting off monstrous enemies (there’s even a dragon involved) to worry about the absence of a plot, if you are a newcomer to the series. If, however, like us you are an old hand, it won’t be long before an overpowering sense of deja vu sets in – the locales are spectacular but well, they always were; the enemies are massive, but again that’s nothing new; and there is next to no learning curve, but then there never was any. Even the sequences in which you challenge your opponents is largely unchanged – you move forward as your opponent snarls and performs some complicated moves with his or her or its weapon! Yes, there are some gems and options to tweak weaponry, but by and large, Infinity Blade 3 is really old wine in a classy new bottle. Some might say that wine improves with age, but we think we can detect just a bit of staleness creeping in.
Download it by all means if all you are looking for is some spectacular, simple, rousing person-to-person combat. But if you are looking for some depth beyond frenetic finger swiping in what many are saying is the last part of an epic series, we warn you: be ready to be disappointed. Infinity Blade remains as spectacular as ever and is tailor-made for product demos, but one increasingly yearns for some substance beneath the glitter.
Available from: iTunes App Store
Price: USD 6.99