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Old 03-28-2011, 05:55 PM   #1
banditkings
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Please rate this review: Infinity Blade (v. 1.1)

4TH DRAFT 4/17/2011

Slash Your Way to the Top

HIGH Very rich 3D graphics.

LOW Paying real-life money for in-game gold at the App Store.

WTF Very unsexy near-naked Titan. You'll know when you see him.

It’s amazing how advanced the games are getting for iOS devices these days. In their development of Infinity Blade, ChAIR Entertainment makes a compellingly playable game that comes with 3D graphics that push the envelope.

In Infinity Blade, the player is a hero on a quest to liberate the land from the rule of an immortal tyrant—the God King. He sits on a throne in a castle populated by his Titans, each of which the hero has to defeat, one by one, as he encounters them during his very short journey to the throne room.

The journey begins just outside the castle. From there, the player isn’t allowed to move in all directions. Instead, from his current location, the touchscreen presents the next paths to take, indicated by radiating circles, that will lead to the next stop or the next Titan.

Tapping on the Titan’s circle will engage him in battle. The game will switch to one-on-one-battle mode, where the hero will be shown standing before the Titan face-to-face. The player attacks by swiping a path across the Titan’s body for his sword to follow. He defends by either tapping on one of the left-dodge, right-dodge, and block-with-shield buttons that have appeared at the bottom.

By the time the hero meets the God King, he’s nowhere near the level he needs to be for this to be a fair fight. The God King finishes him off, and the game is over. Well, not really. Twenty years pass, and the son of the hero comes of age to inherit his father’s equipment, experience points, and level. His level will still not be high enough by the time he gets to the God King, so he will be taken out as well. Twenty more years will pass before the son’s son steps up. Same castle, same God King, same fate. With every generation, however, the hero’s stats and equipment improve, and the Titans also become tougher and trickier to keep pace with his improvement.

And that’s the game in a nutshell: a series of one-on-one swordfights that get tougher and tougher as the hero and his sons go through the same small castle again and again. The idea of the game is not world exploration but training for the God King. Any boxer will tell you that his sport doesn’t need a different kind of boxing ring every time, just a succession of progressively tougher opponents so he can prepare himself for the title bout.

The one-on-one fights in Infinity Blade have been amped up with enough flash and drama to make it enough to be the heart of the game. The Titans make each of their attacks a momentous occasion with their huge windups, 360-degree roundhouse slashes, and the occasional striking of the ground with their weapon. So intimidating. Some even have attacks that require a running start. The player is constantly kept on edge to respond in time to these attacks. Soon the moment comes when the Titan takes a big-enough swing that leaves an opening for a counterattack, and the motion is slowed down with an accompanying “whoosh” sound effect to show us what a prodigious haymaker this is. The hero responds with a furious succession of blows, each one leaving a bright, luminous wake and sending the Titan reeling in the direction of the blow.

The 3D graphics are amazing. There is no obvious indication of a polygonal edge to be found on the hero or the Titans, nor are there any crudely pixelated textures. Everything is smooth and seamless. There is an authenticity to the Titans’ movements that suggests that human models were used in making the animations.

The game doesn’t need additional praise just because it was able to accomplish all this on an iOS device. Infinity Blade is fun and addictive in its own right, enough to carry you through many trips to the castle ad infinitum.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Disclosures: This game was obtained via iTunes App Store and reviewed on the iPad. Approximately 9 hours of play was devoted to single-player modes (completed once) and zero hours of play to multiplayer modes.

Parents: Rated 9+ for frequent/intense cartoon or fantasy violence and infrequent/mild realistic violence. A lot of slashing and stabbing but no blood or dismemberment.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing: Gameplay is virtually unaffected. Every event of significance during one-on-one combat is visually represented. No intelligible speech from the Titans; just a bunch of grunts and roars. The hero and God King are the only characters with speaking roles, and their dialogue is in some foreign language that has to be subtitled.

Last edited by banditkings; 04-17-2011 at 09:45 AM. Reason: Improvements suggested by Pedro.
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Old 03-28-2011, 07:29 PM   #2
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Re: Please rate this review: Infinity Blade (v. 1.1)

I like this review, your description of the combat is quite funny
However to me it does seem a bit at odds when you explain how good their defenses are..? Maybe you fold these 2 points into eachother a little tighter?

That, and in your summation it sounds (to me) more like the game deserves a 9 because it does a lot with a little, more than because you had a lot of fun with it.

That's just from a quick read through, but I'll say again: I like your writing! It's fun.
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Old 04-07-2011, 02:00 PM   #3
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Re: Please rate this review: Infinity Blade (v. 1.1)

I like the opening premise (althought a tad long and confusing) and overall tone of the review, but the problem I have are the nuts and bolts of the writing. After the intro, there's no initial setup that this is an iphone, who developed it, etc. While you described how some of the gameplay flows, I don't get a sense of actual game mechanics (finger swipes) and how the game structure/design flows until far too late in the review. The paragraphs feel somewhat disjointed. Try to setup an overall criticism (positive or negative) and have all your criticisms flow from there. So this is a good first draft, but I think you need to tighten it up quite a bit and ensure it communicates better to the reader. Thanks.
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Last edited by Chi Kong Lui; 04-07-2011 at 02:05 PM.
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Old 04-08-2011, 04:42 PM   #4
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Re: Please rate this review: Infinity Blade (v. 1.1)

Thank you for pointing out the weak spots. I will remember these for future reviews. Second draft is complete.
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Old 04-11-2011, 02:13 PM   #5
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Re: Please rate this review: Infinity Blade (v. 1.1)

I didn't read the first draft, but the review now reads to me as a bit unbalanced - you seem more interested in explaining how the great graphics were realised rather than what the gameplay is like. The gameplay, as you've mentioned, sounds grim!

Reading between the lines, I realise that this is probably the opposite of what the others already told you about the first review, which sounds like it had more about gameplay. So I dunno, but the review now reads like a review of an impressive tech demo, at least to me.

Also, I would say to look at Richard's advice here

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Naik View Post
Hey Fidgety, forgot to mention, try not to use "you" unless you're directly speaking to the reader. I.E.,

"And if you look back at the history of boxing video games, you'll see that the adage still holds true."

Would be better as:

"Looking back at the history of boxing video games, this adage still holds true."

Using "you" in this case assigns value to the reader which you don't want. I only noticed a few instances of this, so clean those up and I think it's good. Sorry I didn't mention this before
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Old 04-13-2011, 10:11 AM   #6
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Re: Please rate this review: Infinity Blade (v. 1.1)

I realize now that nobody is impressed by discussions about things that might be going on under the hood. I've replaced that part with something that should follow better from the discussion of gameplay preceding it. Thanks, Pedro!

Third draft is complete.
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Old 04-14-2011, 04:20 PM   #7
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Re: Please rate this review: Infinity Blade (v. 1.1)

I think it's better. It does still feel a little heavy, but I can't pinpoint what it is.

Personally, I wouldn't put words in the reader's mouth like this:

Quote:
If you want to cite the repetitiveness as a weak point, bear in mind that all games are repetitive in one way or another, and this one does a good job of putting enough variation where it matters.

Players will no doubt perceive the thing where the sons come back to avenge their fathers as a gimmicky way to do continues. That may be true, but
even though the castle stays the same, the Titans donít. They will get harder to beat and yield more experience points to enable you to level up and go through most of the equipment in the shop.
I actually think that's a pretty interesting conceit. However, I wouldn't include the bolded part, you could leave those out and roll the latter two sentences into the preceding paragraph.

It sounds a bit defensive to me, as if you're trying too hard to justify it, and the review would likely be better without it.

I still don't really see where the appeal of the game is. Do the graphics and the impressive tech alone make it a 9, or is the gameplay really compelling too?

Maybe some of the others could back me up/disagree with me here. I feel a bit awkward pronouncing on reviews when I know I couldn't write one myself!
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Old 04-17-2011, 09:39 AM   #8
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Re: Please rate this review: Infinity Blade (v. 1.1)

I have to agree that giving an answer to a rebuttal nobody made is a little defensive. And I probably shouldn't be doing that as one of the main arguing points of the review. That part is gone. In its place, a more direct statement on why I liked the game. Thanks again, Pedro. I like your pronouncements better than indifference.

Fourth draft is complete.
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Old 05-12-2011, 03:51 PM   #9
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Re: Please rate this review: Infinity Blade (v. 1.1)

Would be good if some of the staff revisited this to see if it has gotten any better. 4 drafts deserves a little feedback!
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Old 05-14-2011, 09:12 AM   #10
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Re: Please rate this review: Infinity Blade (v. 1.1)

Good review. I personally would have rated the game a tad lower but I see your point. For me the game just became too repetitive too soon to justify a 9/10 rating.
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