iGamer Reviews: Mass Effect (Infiltrator)

Published by EA.

Developed by Iron Monkey Studios.

For iOS and Android.

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And now in this issue of iGamer, I tackle one of the many mobile-games that were really just made to help promote big budget console and PC titles. But can Mass Effect: Infiltrator, stand up on its own? Let’s see and find out.

 

The Story

Like any good tie-in game, Iron Monkey Studios tries to carve a strong connection with its parent title. As such, Mass Effect: Infiltrator runs parallel to the story of Mass Effect 3, as you play the Cerberus operative “Randall Ezno”. To those that are not in-tune with the Mass Effect story, it should be noted that Cerberus is a pro-human terrorist organization, attempting to propagate the superiority of the human race. In what could be one of the most heavy-handed methods of storytelling, Randall becomes disillusioned with his organization and dedicates himself to bring down his former employers in his quest for contrived revenge.

While the storyline itself is entertaining enough, I feel that it bears mentioning that the key event that sets the story in motion is just painfully contrived, and the acting ranges from generic B-movie performance to outright awkward sounding. While it’s something I’ve come to expect from the studios, I’m definitely not giving them any bonus points for this.


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The Gameplay

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That said, I feel the gameplay is able to pick up the loose ends that the story leaves hanging. The controls are tight, responsive, and intuitive, which is no easy feat for a mobile title that gives you direct control of a character. You fire your weapon by clicking on your opponent, and then moving the reticle that appears onto your target. Depending on the weapon you use, the reticle will change. With the exception of the sniper rifle, your weapon will fire automatically and you focus mostly on the aiming. Headshots kill the enemy faster, and when you run the risk of your weapons overheating, the incentive to aim there is high enough without actually punishing you if it seems too difficult.

Along with that, the biotic (space magic) abilities are diverse and add more utility to your character. Just like the main Mass Effect titles, this is intended to provide options on how you build your character, as either Combat, Biotic, or Tech. Of course, in Infiltrator, this only actually translates as two and a half styles of play. Replacing “Tech” skills is a “Stealth” style of play. However, the Stealth function of the game is facilitated by a cloaking device that makes your character completely invisible. That said, investing in stealth mostly just makes your cloaking device recharge faster. As such, investing entirely in the stealth tree is hardly plausible by itself. Nevertheless, it can be used well in tandem with combat skills and biotics.

As an added tie-in, you can find “intel” throughout the game, which can either be sold for credits or uploaded to the Systems Alliance, which can translate into Assets for your character in Mass Effect 3. While not especially interesting, it is a nice feature.

Conclusion

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The Mass Effect Infiltrator is an entertaining title that costs about as much as its worth, being 7$ on Google Play and $7.50 in the U.S. iOS app store. I’m even willing to go so far as to say that it’s worth those two extra quarters if you want to play it on your iOS device, however as a product from EA, I feel like there is really something lacking for a big-name title like Mass Effect.

That’s all for now, Riknas, signing off! (Sorry I keep forgetting about this and the buffalo)

 

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iGamer Reviews: Infinity Blade II

By Chair Entertainment.

An Epic Games studio.

For iOS.

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Once again, I continue my highly belated reviews of not-so-recent but still high profile titles. This time, it’s Infinity Blade…II.

 

The Story

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Rather than a direct sequel to the original Infinity Blade, this title takes place after the E-Novel, Awakening. Awakening is what takes place right after the original title. While far from being necessary to understanding the story, reading Awakening is relatively quick and inexpensive.

Suffice to say, the scope of the story is now significantly larger than it once was, as your character, now named Siris, is determined to overthrow the God King and all of his kind, known as the Deathless, so that normal people may live freely once again. As such, Siris goes on his journey to rescue the one person that can stop them, known only as “The Worker of Secrets”.

The extremely vague storytelling of the first title has been almost entirely thrown out and replaced with exposition and direct clarifications for the main storyline, which could be good or bad, depending on your point of view. That said, I find the lack of subtlety to be somewhat distasteful, and takes away a good bit of the mystery the previous game had. Nevertheless, those who are determined to find all the hidden secrets the game has to offer, you can still see glimpses of the classic Infinity Blade experience.

The Gameplay

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Infinity Blade 2 takes the same general rules of the game, and then expands on it in every possible direction. The level layout has expanded greatly; no longer do you traverse through a small tower, but instead an entire castle complex. Secret passageways, treasure maps, and hidden bosses are just some of the new things that you will discover. The combat has been overhauled to include new fighting styles to go along with your shield and sword: now you have access to Heavy weapons and Dual weapons. That said, the changes are more than aesthetic, as both weapon styles handle different from each other. There is no blocking with dual weapons, instead you have access to a “low” dodge, allowing you to duck under the horizontal swipes you aren’t able to parry. On the other hand, you simply can’t dodge at all with the Heavy weapons, instead you are able to block in the directions you would normally be able to dodge. Along with the alternate play styles, they each have their pros and cons. Heavy weapons dealing more damage, dual weapons being able to string together more combos, and the sword-and-shield acting as the in-between style.

The amount of voice acting in the game has expanded greatly, and the fake, Italian-Esque language has been reformatted to standard english. That said, I find the actual quality of the voice acting to be extraordinarily ordinary. Remarkably unremarkable, even. Extremely okay, perhaps. At no one point is it especially bad, there is no particular point where I was not aware that I was listening to voice actors, as opposed to just enjoying the story.

The Catch

Infinity Blade 2 has the same Catch as the previous title.

The Conclusion

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Is it possible to suffer from too much greatness? Maybe, because if Infinity Blade 2 suffers from everything, it’s just from adding too much. The original Infinity Blade title, while seemingly complex, is remarkably simple compared to the sophomore title. Infinity Blade adds so many new layers, you can tell it’s not quite the level of console quality. But if having too much is your biggest problem, then you’re probably doing real well. Despite my few qualms, Infinity Blade 2 is a fantastic title for anyone looking for quality gaming on the iOS.

iGamer Reviews: Ace Attorney (Investigations)

By Capcom.

For Nintendo DS.

What can I say? I like Ace Attorney.

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Ace Attorney: Investigations is the fifth title in Ace Attorney series, which must suffer the burden of being a wildly popular franchise in Japan, while being only a cult-favorite in Europe and North America.

The Story

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Ace: Attorney Investigations is not only the second title to use a main protagonist beside Phoenix Wright, but also the first title to have you play as a Prosecutor. The Prosecutor is none other than the fan-favorite, Miles Edgeworth. Along with being an interesting change of pace, it also makes a lot more sense for the prosecutor to actually go after the murderer, since it’s, y’know, his job and all, instead of constantly having a defense attorney do it out of necessity.

In Ace Attorney: Investigations, Miles Edgeworth travels across the globe, constantly finding himself in various crime scenes which all happen to be loosely connected to each other, something which seems so fantastically unlikely, it’s a wonder Ace Attorney characters don’t also see unicorns and dragons in their day-to-day lives.

The GamePlay

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Ace Attorney: Investigations (I keep saying the full name so I don’t confuse it with the American Assocation of Immunologists) brings a lot of new things to the table, with the most obvious being the introduction of an interactive game world. Unlike the previous games, you can physically see and control Miles Edgeworth, directly interacting with the Crime Scene, instead of treating it solely like a point-and-click adventure game. This can give the player a more direct connection to the game, as well as be more visually stimulating in the first place.

Also unlike the previous games, the Edgeworth’s arguments aren’t just in the courtroom (actually, somehow they’re almost NEVER in a courtroom). Instead of Cross-Examining a witness, Miles Edgeworth gives a “Rebuttal”, pointing out the logical fallacies that his accusers, captors, and rivals (yeah, he’s not good at making friends) all manage to have. The rebuttals are frequent and spread well throughout the game, which I find to be a fantastic design choice, since that is where the game shines the most. The number of people that you meet is huge, and the nature of the crimes are plenty varied. There were a few times where I genuinely did not know who the culprit was, or expect the crimes to be as complex as they were.

The Conclusion

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Ace Attorney: Investigations is a fresh and new spin for the franchise. With actual sprites and a real world to interact with, this title has a more “tangible” feel than the other Ace Attorney titles had. This is a great entry point that helps highlight the best of what Ace Attorney has to offer, while offering new ideas without straying from its original purpose.