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Infinity Blade III Review
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Infinity Blade III, the third and (supposedly) final installment in Chair Entertainment’s visually-arresting, sword-swinging action franchise, is now available from the app store. With the addition of a playable female protagonist, a greatly expanded game world, collectible ingredients for enhancement potions, and a richer storyline, Infinity Blade III retains all of the fantastic elements of the first two offerings while managing to improve in fun new ways. We’ll be quite disappointed if this truly is Infinity Blade’s swan song, as each iteration has been decidedly better than its predecessor.

Infinity Blade III Pros:

  • Top-notch graphics, smooth battle animations, and now two playable characters
  • Trials, ClashMobs, and Tournaments add to the lengthy campaign
  • Tons of weapons, items, supplies, gems, potions, and skill points to customize the experience
  • Simple, intuitive controls remain a joy to use, intimately tying you into the action
  • Deeper storyline for players who enjoy understanding why they are doing what they are doing
  • GameCenter integration for plenty of achievements

Infinity Blade III Cons:

  • Starting new awakenings can feel like an unnecessary grind, leading to frustration
  • Still don’t care for wait timers, even if there is plenty to do while waiting

As usual, the first few foes are big pushovers, appetizers meant to provide a bit of a tutorial for newbies and a way to reintroduce you to this world. There are a fair number of cut scenes that lay a whole lotta narrative at your feet for gamers who get jazzed up by that. While we are appreciative of the robust story and the cinematic breaks, our interest remains firmly entrenched in combat. For gamers like us, there is a fast-forward button that allows you to speed through, or skip altogether, these movies and get back to the action. Combat remains the core of the gameplay, as you take on hulking beasts with a light or heavy weapon in tow. You can also dual-wield weapons, just as you could in IB II. Dodging, blocking, and parrying are your defensive options, as well as unleashing magic once you’ve charged up your meter. Slashing enemies is still as effortless as swiping around your screen, empowering you to inflict damage, create devastating combos, and even utilize weapon-specific combos for bonus damage. Battle success rewards you with loot to buy better gear and helpful items, while earned XP applies both to your character and to your gear, accumulating in your weapon, helm, shield, magic ring, and armor until each is mastered.

Each time you level up an item or your character, you earn points to apply to Health, Damage, Shield, or Magic, which increases your abilities in each of these categories. Additionally, there are a number of point milestones in each of these categories that grants you an additional perk, like activating combo attacks, collecting extra ingredients for each found, charging your magic meter faster, etc. Gems can also be found or purchased and forged into your gear for enhancements. Some items and supplies require the use of a secondary currency, a ton of which is obtained by completing Goals. Some Goals are simple (Perform a Combo Attack), while others are endurance-based (Perform 450 Blocks).

While some aspects of the game don’t change (like tapping around the screen to collect small pouches of gold or opening random chests and finding a nice surprise), others undergo exciting alterations. There is a new potion-creating system that involves collecting a variety of ingredients in the same way that you collect loot pouches. You can visit an Alchemist and create your own personalized mix of goodies into a cauldron before being subjected to a wait timer while the potion is finalized. The more ingredients you throw in, the longer the timer takes. Rare items can create quite powerful potions. In addition to the Alchemist, a Merchant makes her presence known every so often, sailing in to your new hideout hub and offering a handful of discounted items. You can also sell mastered items to her for some extra scratch. The aforementioned hideout also provides a world map where you can select which of the game’s eight locales you’d like to venture to, provided they are unlocked and accessible. Certain map sections seem to be playable only by Siris, while others are only playable by Isa, the new female character. We are hopeful that at some point later in the game, we’ll be able to make the choice for ourselves. Isa has her own set of items and skills that remain separate from Siris, while Goals are shared by the two. Her style is a bit different, and her neck-breaking finishing animations are awesome.

Graphically, Infinity Blade III is even more visually-arresting than the previous version, as impossible as that may seem. Of course, the latest hardware contains the greatest number of graphical enhancements. The cinematic camera angles, lighting/shading effects, and buttery smooth animations combine for a top-notch experience. It’s no surprise that the Infinity Blade series is often the go-to game to show of the capabilities of mobile gaming on Apple hardware. The audio was clear and the voice work was quite good. Sound effects go a long way toward adding weight and ferocity to the actions of the on-screen characters. The metal-on-metal clanging sounds and ground-stomping footfalls are especially effective. Controls remain largely unchanged, allowing you to dodge by tapping buttons in either of the lower corners and blocking with a button in the center of the screen bottom. Activating your magic attack requires tapping on the glowing magic meter, then tracing a specific symbol on the screen. Attacking/parrying is as simple as swiping on screen, with combos performed by following a set series of directional swipes. Stabs are performed by tapping on blue circles as they appear.

Replay value is very good, as the in-game world is greatly expanded, and the customization options provided by making potions, utilizing gems, and leveling up both characters keeps things interesting. The hideout screen also offers access to Trials, ClashMob events, and Aegis Tournament events that should keep you engaged for a while. ClashMobs are a great way to acquire cash and some items that would generally be well beyond your means. GameCenter integration offers dozens of achievements to earn, too. A universal app for $6.99, Infinity Blade III is a 4.5-Dimple champ that will be a bear to dethrone.

Infinity Blade III Review, reviewed by Kevin on 2013-09-22T16:16:18+00:00 rating 4.5 out of 5

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