So in day one of my off-the-grid-but-still-gaming camping trip. I played Batman: Arkham City Lockdown on my iPad, which I got for free. I enjoyed it, if only because it was Batman and it took place in the Arkham realm. It was a good looking game, and really showed off the iPad's retina display nicely. Unfortunately, the combat got repetitive and bland, and all it did was make me miss playing games with buttons opposed to the touch controls.
Well, in day two, I played a game that many herald as being superior to any mobile game, especially those on iPads. It is the creme dela creme of mobile gaming, and received perfect scores by reviewers, a first for mobile games. Basically, it is the gold standard as far as mobile games is concerned, and all else should strive to be as good as it.
Of course I am talking about Infinity Blade II, which is a sequel to the original game that acted more of a showcase for how good a mobile game can look, rather than an amazing game itself. While I see some validity in all the claims about this game, I still find myself struggling to appreciate mobile games like this as much as I maybe should, or as much as everyone says I should.
Sure, it is far and above breathtaking to see it run on an iPad, as it is console-quality graphics. Not handheld consoles, but home consoles. It is beautiful in every aspect, from the characters to the scenery to the lighting, every pixel is carefully crafted and constructed to make a world so vivid and lively, its impossible to appreciate without seeing it for yourself. That's where my lovefest for this game stops.
It's an on-rails type of game, with your character moving about the world in predetermined routes, although you can pick different paths to take, which makes you feel like you have some control over the game. I guess that is cool, but it's a world I want to explore, look around. I don't want to just be shuffled through it. Might as well give me a map to select missions from. The game also has strong RPG elements behind it, which is great for a game like this, but somehow it just feels muddled and confusing. I'm sure it makes perfect sense and works well for what it is trying to accomplish, it just didn't click for me.
The combat is based around swiping and taping of course, but the consistency of the touch controls were problematic. Sometimes the touch controls seemed slow and unresponsive, and the next battle they felt loose and overly touchy. I tried shutting the game down and restarting it, and found the same problems. I really just think this is the crux of touch controls, and without buttons, they can't ever be perfect. This again will be the reason mobile games will always have their own market and niche, but won't take over the industry.
I'm just glad to be back in civilization with my consoles and buttons.
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