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iPad Review: Infinity Blade

Hope you like the view, you'll be seeing it a LOT.

I’m going to say something that’s likely to annoy hardcore iPad gamers (shut up, they exist). Infinity blade is a fantastic tech demo, but a horrid game. I suspect that makes me some kind of heretic, reviewers everywhere can’t seem to stop gushing about how beautiful Infinity Blade is, or how dynamic the combat can be. I feel like the sole peasant in the crowd, shouting “It’s quicktime events!”

Someone has to say it. Infinity Blade is an unfinished tech demo which replaces legitimate gameplay with an infinitely (haha, accurate advertising!) repeated single level.

Credit where it’s due. Infinity Blade IS pretty, it stretched the idea of what you could do with an iOS device. Before Infinity Blade, traditional game developers saw iOS as a glorified cellphone platform. After? EA regularly releases tie-ins to it’s triple A titles, and many developers have released 3d games for the platform. Which is why I think it works quite well as a tech demo. It showed game developers what was possible with iOS.

Unfortunately, Developers took the bad with the good. Most high-end iOS games feature irrational amounts of repetition and an insane difficulty curve corrected only by bribing the app with additional cash.

Can I blame developers alone? Not really. They’re trying to make a living. Infinity Blade sold. It sold throughly and well. We voted with our wallets, and we voted for short, vapid gameplay with no sense of balance or accomplishment. Shame on us.

But the blame doesn’t rest with we, the buying populace either. After all, Infinity Blade got some pretty fantastic reviews. Reviews from reviewers who, frankly, should have known better. The only reviewers with any sense of perspective are the comment reviews on the App Store. And when was the last time that any right thinking person listened to the howling monkey cage we call commenters? Apparently, this is the game where the monkey cage got it right. As a tech-demo, Infinity Blade is amazing, but that doesn’t make it a game.

When I start to pick apart the structure, I find myself thinking of all manner of excuses and minor tweaks that the developers could have included. What if the the final boss had been balanced? What if they’d repeated some fighters or environments? What if they’d given us an a-la-cart fighting game where we pick opponents? What if…

but that’s not the point. I bought the game as-designed, and the current package is a disappointing and frustrating experiment in forced failure. It’s silly, and you shouldn’t buy it.

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