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29
Nov
2010

Infinity Blade coming to the iPhone soon

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Infinity Blade for the iPhone

In the last few years we've happily born witness to some truly stonking mobile games, such as Angry Birds, Paper Toss and Cut the Rope. And yet there exists a cruel and bitter divide between the world of frivolous arcadey mobile games and dedicated games for consoles such as the Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP. Infinity Blade might just change all that -- it looks like the most ambitious iOS game we've ever seen, and it brings a hitherto unwitnessed level of gaming sophistication to the iPhone's silky screen...

Infinity Blade is an action-RPG game developed by Epic Games for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. We first caught a glimpse of it back in September at the Apple Music event, where we saw, among other things, the unveiling of the new range of iPods. Back then it was known by the working title 'Project Sword', but now it's set to arrive in the App Store close to Christmas.

What's interesting about Infinity Blade is that it's the first iPhone game to use Unreal Engine 3 to power its gameplay. Unreal Engine is the same back-end gubbins that high-end titles such as Batman: Arkham Asylum, Bioshock 2 and the groundbreaking 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand are built to run in. In short, it's a sophisticated graphical engine, and if you're any kind of gaming fan you'll almost certainly have used it at some point, even if you didn't realise it at the time.

That's where you're wrong, son! Using Unreal is a landmark step, and proves the iPhone is capable of handling proper grown-up games, and not just pansy wee puzzlers. As a proof of concept, Epic Games released Epic Citadel, a free iPhone app that lets users wonder around a massive 3D castle, admiring the scenery, lighting and the way leaves gently rustle in the breeze.

We're really impressed with Epic Citadel -- in tandem with the Retina display you'd find on the iPhone 4 or the new iPod Touch, it looks truly gorgeous, and more impressive than that, it runs incredibly smoothly. The lighting and environmental effects add a sense of immersion and depth that we've not really experienced on iPhone games to date, even on sophisticated 3D affairs like NOVA. If you have access to an iOS device, we strongly recommend you download it and try Epic Citadel for yourself in advance of Infinity Blade's release.

Epic Citadel is, however, no more than a tech demo, and to make a really decent game, it's going to take much more than a cool game engine.

So what's the actual game like?


From what we've seen, Infinity Blade mixes action-based battles with RPG elements. Your sword actions will be controlled using swipes of the touchscreen, and Epic Games reckons it will be able to implement an intuitive combat system, although it would say that.

You'll play a knight progressing through a castle environment, battling baddies, upping your stats and earning increasingly powerful items. Eventually you'll go head to head with the brilliantly named God-King, who despite his incredible title is actually your nemesis. Ah well.

We have no doubt that Infinity Blade will look eye-explodingly gorgeous, but we are a little concerned that the iPhone's touch-only interface will prove too simplistic for a game with so much potential for complex combat and exploration. It's hard to boil decent controls down to just a few on-screen buttons -- too many and the iPhone's tiny screen quickly becomes cluttered. Anther issue is that you won't get the tactile feedback that physical buttons afford -- sometimes tapping away at the iPhone can feel a little ineffectual, and it's hard to know if your prods are registering.

Still, if Epic Games can pull off a fun fighting game, we won't gripe about simplistic controls. A multiplayer mode is planned, which will use the recently introduced Game Center, and Epic Games has also promised frequent free updates to the title once it's released.

Verdict: We're holding fire on a judgement until we have the final version nestling on our iPhones, but for now it's safe to say we're excited. This is a technical leap forward for mobile gaming, and with any luck it'll be an ace game to boot.

Original Article can be found here


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