Infinity Blade 3 – Hands-on Preview

We spend some time with an Infinity Blade that is larger in both size and scope…

So here we are, a new iPhone has been announced and with it a new, and final, entry into the poster boy series that is Infinity Blade. The last two games have been used to demo the graphical horsepower of the new iPhones, and this third entry is no exception.

While we do have a final build of the game in our hands, we don’t, unfortunately, have a new iPhone 5S to test it on – not yet. We’ll just have to settle with a trusty iPhone 5.

Having said that, despite not having double the horsepower or being able to make the most of Open GL ES 3, Infinity Blade 3 still shines on last years’ tech. The lighting, environments, and the enemy character models (especially the dragon) look fantastic. A standout moment so far being that of Isa standing in the desert with the sun behind her casting shadow rays. The only slight negative in the presentation stakes is that human facial features don’t stand up nearly as well as when they all have their masks/helmets on.

Not only does it dwarf the previous games graphically, but Infinity Blade 3 is also much larger in scope. Previous games focussed on the one character, within one or two environments (albeit with branching paths), but IB3 has you playing as multiple characters across a much larger world.

I won’t spoil the story – which is far deeper – but the game prologues with you playing as the God King himself, Raidriar, as you confront the Worker of Secrets from IB2. On completion of that section, the main game starts at a hideout, where you are reunited with Siris and Isa, both in playable form. It’s from this hideout that you can journey to different parts of the game world, with each area initially locked to either Siris or Isa, and then playable with both.

The addition of Isa is a refreshing change to the traditional Infinity Blade gameplay which is essentially unchanged. She features her own unique combat styles as well as over 135 unique weapons and items – not to mention some great new kill scenes, of which one of these has her performing a spinning hand-stand atop the enemy to break their neck.

Speaking of enemies, you’ll come across some favourites of old, as well as many new ones in all shapes and sizes. You’ll encounter the usual gladiator-like warriors, before encountering even more unique bosses than IB2. One of these, and shown in the Apple iPhone 5S keynote, is the Dragon. It’s not a standard boss in that it does not appear regularly in each playthrough (this time called awakenings, as opposed to bloodlines or rebirths). No, instead the Dragon attacks you randomly. Each attack is a mash up of quicktime events and the standard slash and dodge combat. I have yet to defeat it, with it either killing me outright, or fleeing the scene. But, according to ChAIR, once defeated, it drops rare treasure.

Some characters in the game serve to help you. At your hide-out is the Potion Master. A servant of Radriar, he’ll reluctantly create potions for you from items that you pick up on your travels. Another is the merchant, you meet her early within the game, and after that she’ll randomly dock her ship at your hideout from where you can pick up rare items at a reduced cost.

I’ve only scratched the surface of IB3, but once again I’ve found myself engrossed in its world and the nasty foes that dwell there. IB3 is released on September 18 (priced at $6.99), stay tune for our final thoughts.

In the meantime check out the incredible opening cinematic from the game right here: