Infinity Blade 3
The big, beautiful sequel we've been waiting for.
Infinity Blade 3 is the definition of a quality sequel. Chair Entertainment built upon the foundation that made the first two successful while incorporating plenty of new features to make the action-heavy experience deeper. This amounts to more role-playing elements, character customization and in franchise tradition, the best visuals you'll see on iPhone and iPad, complete with beautiful landscapes, towering brutes and one rather large dragon. Grab your favorite weapon, strap on some armor and select the perfect helm. It's monster-slaying time.
Chair kept the basics of combat largely intact, with user-friendly and well timed screen taps to dodge incoming attacks, with rapid screen swipes to fight back. Of key interest are two playable characters, series' hero Siris and his counterpart, the stealthy Isa. Not only does each warrior possess unique weapons, but also fighting styles; we love the way Isa jumps to avoid enemies while Siris relies upon his shield. To that end, Chair does a fine job splitting missions between both, while giving players a choice in others.
This ties into The Hideout, a hub world that lets you regain your bearings while at the same time choosing which missions to access. Going this route allowed Chair to introduce a variety of locations set in different areas, from the traditional castle surrounded by water to a bone-dry desert oppressed by sunlight. This also means stages don't last nearly as long as the ones found in the first two Infinity Blade titles. While this limits exploration, gamers will still be able to spot bags of gold, open chests containing a plethora of items and special ingredients used to brew stat-boosting potions.
Speaking of which, you'll find a handful of characters occupying The Hideout, each of which serve a key purpose. The Potionmaster, for example, is ready to concoct whatever potion you desire, so long as you have things like Green Reeds, Red Flowers and Rare Bulbs to spare. The number of ingredients added increases brewing time, whereupon which you can wait or speed up the process with in-game currency. Since potions don't necessarily impact your ability to progress, we happily suggest doing the former. In most cases, they'll be available by the time you finish a couple of missions; you'll also run into the Merchant, who sells precious items at discounts.
While on the subject of virtual currency, Chair earns high marks for making it mostly optional. A new Goals feature lets you pick up a modest amount by completing various achievements (perform 2500 dodges, execute 450 blocks), which gives you the option to buy health potions and keys to open chests. Clearly, though, you'll run into high-priced equipment, and it's up to you whether you wish to spend a couple of bucks. At least on the positive side, the Blacksmith will upgrade previously mastered weapons, in case you prefer to hold onto a specific blade; you may also use gems to strengthen it.
In regard to combat, expect plenty of intense battles against numerous foes of all sizes, some of which take up a huge portion of the screen; the aforementioned dragon, for instance. Some wield sword and shield, while others swing bones or prefer to stomp around. Figuring out the different attack patterns is part of the fun.
Keep in mind, however, that Infinity Blade 3 is a grind. You don't have infinite continues with every opponent, and you may have to restart missions from the beginning (wading through similar enemies) until you reach the one particular monster giving you trouble; to Chair's credit, the studio occasionally asks if the game is too hard, and offers a compromise.
In addition, the story may seem a bit confusing if you haven't played the first two Infinity Blade games and/or read the books, though the basic framework of Siris and Isa needing to kill the Worker of Secrets is enough motivation to continue. If anything, perhaps it will inspire you to dig into the fiction, which is surprisingly deep considering the original Infinity Blade doesn't have much of a plot.
It did have incredible visuals at the time, and part 3 continues this tradition. We get the sense that Chair has done everything it can to push the existing Apple hardware to its limits, and you'll find an abundance of pretty things and creatures to look at, enhanced by warm sunlight, rippling muscles, razor-sharp fangs and detailed armor. If you intend to play this on an iPad in public, expect people to stare.
We've followed the Infinity Blade series since the beginning, and this outstanding conclusion makes us proud to have taken the ride. If you own a compatible device, there's no reason why Infinity Blade 3 shouldn't be on it. The spectacular visuals, addictive combat and wealth of collectibles make it another quality addition to Chair's growing portfolio.
Review code provided by Chair Entertainment.
Download Infinity Blade 3: iOS
What's Hot:Outstanding visuals for both character and environment designs, two playable heroes with different weapons and fighting styles, non-player characters for all your potion-brewing/weapon-strengthening/discount needs, hub world lets you visit a variety of locations instead of one big castle, quality voice acting, intense combat spearheaded by user-friendly swipe controls.
What's Not:Losing to a boss and restarting the mission, somewhat confusing plot for newcomers.