Thursday, February 2, 2012
Ryan, play Infinity Blade... seriously!
One of my best friends and I bonded over a rare book. Ryan (see figure 1) came over to my ferret-scented, wood panel, shoebox of an apartment and browsed my books. In a cautiously sarcastic tone he said, “Ha, you ever read this?” I turned around to see him pointing at Myst: The Book of Atrus.
“Are you kidding me? I fucking love those books!”
Not the response he expected. From then a nerd pact like no other was solidified. I have yet to this day to meet anyone else that shared my love of the Myst series, which I find a little strange. The games are the high point in point and click adventure games and the books are surprisingly well written.
I never played any games beyond Riven (the second game in the series) because the project was handed off to another team of developers and the original creators, Rand and Robyn Miller didn’t have much of hand in the following games. The original two games and the Myst trilogy of books is to this day one of my favorite multimedia stories ever told, falling into a shortlist of series including: Discworld, Halo, and to a lesser extent: any Tom Clancy game/book.
But I write this as an appeal to that same friend to buckle down, buy and iPad and play Infinity Blade.
I recently was given an iPad and I was on a search to find the best iOS games that I hadn’t already played on the iPod Touch. Many sites had stated that Infinity Blade and its sequel were among the pantheon of greatness on the iTunes Store. However, I was skeptical. The screenshots were so very unassuming. Yeah, it was created on the Unreal engine and looked amazing for an iOS game but that hardly seemed like a strong argument for why the game was great (for references see all Final Fantasy games after 10…(actually, include 10).
Now, I’m on the other side of the two games and the novella Infinity Blade: Awakening written by Mistborn author, Brandon Sanderson and all I can say is CONSUME! The game is exceedingly creative in its simplicity. Every game mechanic has a purpose and fits into the paradigm of the game (well, except for the item shop but I guess we can’t have it all (for references see Metal Gear Solid 4’s item shop).
You begin the game as a nameless fighter out to avenge his father. However, as you start these journeys over and over again in attempts to fell the God King a feeling of something larger starts to reveal itself, like a beautiful videogame version of the pool hallucination scene from National Lampoon Christmas Vacation. Finally when you are strong enough to defeat the God King there is a simple but dramatic twist. But, like Lost, it only will tell you what you need to know to make the most basic inference.
I do recommend reading the book, which takes place between the two games before playing the Infinity Blade 2. The second game is more story driven that the first and is good in its own right. However, like most sequels, it goes for the WOW factor and starts to stray a little from what made the first game so good. You know, because higher fidelity equates to more douchebags playing.
Ryan, play this game. Find someone with an iPhone. I’ll mail you my iPod touch that doesn’t work properly (stupid sleep button). If you loved the way the story of Dn’i was told through the Myst games and books, you’ll really enjoy this. I loved it and I hope they make more.