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.

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iGamer Reviews: Ace Attorney (Investigations)

By Capcom.

For Nintendo DS.

What can I say? I like Ace Attorney.

Investigations

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.

iGamer Reviews: Epoch

By Uppercut Games.

For iOS and Android OS.

Falcon

Epoch is the freshman title by the indie studio Uppercut Games. It markets itself as a “Combat Action Game for Mobile Devices”, which tells you as much about the game as being sold a car that, “Has four wheels and takes you places”.

The Story

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The story presented to us is rather vague, albeit intentionally so. It takes place at the end of a robot-apocalypse, where it seems most (if not all) of human life has been extinguished by their metallic creations.  As such, you play the game-titled robot, “Epoch” who has been reactivated for unclear reasons. His programming has him assigned to find and protect his target, “Princess Amelia”. As her determined location is on the other side of the city, Epoch must traverse through a war-torn city-scape, where the various machines appear to be waging war against themselves.

The GamePlay

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The graphics are above average, albeit not quite the same level as Infinity Blade or Blood Masque. However, it is worth noting that Epoch’s gameplay sets itself apart from the other series entirely, despite all of them being, “Combat Action games for mobile devices”.

Indeed, where the other two games are hack-and-slash fantasy games, Epoch is a sci-fi cover-based shooter. Each mission is a series of encounters. On the iPhone You move Epoch from cover to cover by swiping the touch screen. You tap the screen to break from cover and start firing, and tap the character you want to target, and Epoch will fire accordingly. It has many nice details to add to the layers of the gameplay, with weapons with different types of effects, such as lightning weapons that fire will hop from target to target, while grenade launchers will deal damage regardless of if the enemy is taking cover. Some of the effects can be muddled however; different weapon types also have associated “elements”, which different enemies are weak against. Don’t ask me how “armor piercing” or “explosion” can be elements, they just are. Either way, it makes for an entertaining game experience, and encourages you to alternate your equipment mission to mission.

The Catch

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Like I said previously, I’ve already made my complaints about there being micro-transactions along with the “entrance” fee, and this game is no exception. So, I’ll just say that the game is cheap compared to other big titles, costing a mere three dollars, and has micro-transactions, but are not essential to actually finish the game.

Conclusion

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In the end, Epoch is a fun, cheap, action game for your iOS. While the game may not have as much replay value as it says it does, three dollars is a low entry fee, and micro-transactions are far from necessary parts of the gameplay.

That’s all for now,

Riknas, signing off!

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iGamer Reviews: Blood Masque

By Square Enix

For iOS

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Hey everyone, and welcome to another issue of iGamer, where Riknas reviews all the hottest (and other temperatures) mobile game titles. This week, we’ll be going over Square Enix’s Triple A title, Blood Masque, showing that the gaming industry is still a good five years behind the movie studios trying to cash in on the vampire craze everyone was talking about.

 

The Story

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The story of Bloodmasque is far from groundbreaking, however, it is just different enough to be interesting. The setting takes place in an alternate world where Vampires exist and nearly conquered the globe, and only recently are being overthrown by a new generation of half-vampires seeking to free themselves and the human race. The main story takes place in victorian-era France, where you play one of the many half vampire hunters; investigating rumors of a new Vampire leader that threatens to reverse all the progress the vampire hunters have made.

The Features

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Bloodmasque markets itself as a graphically intensive, cutting edge game with the unique feature to have your face placed onto your character.

One and a half out of three isn’t terrible, but not exactly jaw-dropping.

While the graphics are certainly high quality, the “Masque” feature is remarkably gimmicky, the game will access the camera on your phone and create an outline for you to line up your face with. That’s it. It just takes an actual picture of your face, and just plasters it over your character. I don’t even want to mention how important it is you also have your face fit into the outline perfectly, lest the game give you such ridiculous proportions that I don’t even want to show you what my pictures ended up looking like. Along with that, the game’s ability to show three separate expressions is also remarkably unimpressive, as it just asks you to take two more pictures beside the first one you picked. Really, you don’t even need to put up pictures of your face for that matter. At one point I decided just to take pictures of my rug, the tile floor, and my door knob. Boom, those are the images for my casual, excited, and angry expressions. While there is a certain novelty to it, you can easily go through the game without touching this feature at any point, and use their standard character creator.

With that said, in regards to how it plays…

The Game Play

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The gameplay in Bloodmasque is somewhat similar to the gameplay of Infinity Blade, in the sense that you use the touch screen to attack and dodge, which is sort of like saying a machine gun is like a flintlock pistol. Which, while technically true, doesn’t really say a whole lot.

The game mostly revolves around a series of encounters against various vampires, and sometimes their human minions. You tap the screen to attack your target, and swipe the screen to dodge. Unlike Infinity Blade, which direction you dodge in isn’t relevant so long as you time it properly. While it makes for rather simple gameplay, it’s fast paced and just challenging enough to keep it engaging. To add a little complexity, quick time events are added in to power up your special attacks, as well as provide bonus experience at the end of your encounters.

While each mission is simple, each of them is replayable, giving you opportunities to grind for experience, coins, and unique treasures in each mission. The item drop rates are fickle however, which can make the process tedious to people that aren’t enthralled with the gameplay.

This of course, brings us to…

The Catch

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Ah yes, this game does indeed have a catch. Along with a standard 7$ purchase price, the title has a pay-for currency to facilitate micro-transactions. The currency is “rubies” and can be used to progress through the game faster, or make it easier. This includes health boosts, time-extensions, upgrades, and even some exclusive items. 

For what it’s worth, there are other ways to get more rubies in the game, but they are both slow and inefficient, especially compared to pulling out your wallet.

Conclusion

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While I’m hardly a fan of micro-transactions being mixed in along with the actual “box” price, apparently everyone along with the industry has gone ahead and accepted it as standard affair. That said, the micro transactions aren’t as heavily encouraged as they are in other titles, and the price is relatively average as well. If you’re interested in some hack-and-slash vampire action and have some extra change you’re willing to spend, this might be the title for you.