Up until this point, I’ve personally seen Infinity Blade as a showcase piece for the iPad that lacks substance. It’s beautiful and should be, given that it’s powered by the Unreal Engine, but I always found the game to be a bit shallow. The inherent restrictions of the platform made for only moderately entertaining, on-rails gameplay that became repetitive after a while, despite developer Chair’s efforts to add some depth with a few RPG-like elements.
But along comes this big-time update for what many describe as the most popular game on the iPad — between sales and critical reception — and suddenly my opinion is starting to change. The update is free (though the game itself costs $6 from the Apple App Store) and the new content brings a whole new layer of depth and replayability to Infinity Blade.
With the update comes Survival mode, in which you face off against a series of Titans in succession, a slew of new items, and above all, an all-new multiplayer arena mode. In arena mode, you can face off against another player either locally or online, with one of you adopting the familiar role of the night, and the other playing as one of the game’s massive Titan bosses. You switch roles after a best of seven series, but trust me: playing the Titan is a much more interesting experience.
SURVIVAL AND NEW ITEMS
The Survival Mode that is introduced in this update doesn’t really bring anything new to the table; it’s more of a rearrangement of existing content. As the name suggests, you duke it out with increasingly tough Titans for as long as you can on the same health bar before eventually biting the dust. Though you are not given any additional health from one Titan to the next, you are given the opportunity to buy upgrades that will ostensibly help you extend your run.
The gameplay here is identical to the single player campaign, as are the different enemies. If anything, this mode is best treated as a marathon practice mode where you can take some time to train against the different Titans so when you face off against them in single player, you’ll run right through them.
To me, the new items were equally forgettable. Sure, it’s nice to have a few new powerful items to work towards (some of them cost insane amounts of cash), but it’s not like they really do anything different; they’re just stat boosters. And after playing through enough of one Bloodline (and, in theory, finally earning enough cash to buy some of these new items), you’re already powerful enough to run roughshod over most of your enemies anyway.