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 MULTIFORMAT FEATURE

Hands-on with Infinity Blade II's super social ClashMob

A little help from my friends
Product: Infinity Blade II | Developer: Chair Entertainment | Publisher: Epic Games | Genre: Action
 
Infinity Blade II Multiformat, thumbnail 1
In the run-up to Infinity Blade II's launch, one of the most intriguing features promised by Chair was the ClashMob - a social sub-game where thousands of players worked in unison to beat enormous challenges.

"Imagine we'll have an event where there's a monster that's got an amazingly huge number of hit points - say 10 million - and that monster will be available to fight for 12 or 24 hours," Chair head-honcho Donald Mustard said to Pocket Gamer with unwavering American pep.

"You'll get one, 30 second chance to do as much damage to that enemy. Then collectively, if a couple hundred thousand or a million people band together and defeat this guy, they'll all get a unique reward - an item or lots of gold or some cool gem."

The beating of a million drums

It sounded cosmically ambitious, but the developer has completely pulled it off. In the game's latest update - released today - you really will work alongside every other Infinity Blade II player to defeat enormous enemies, fend off armies of ogres, and collect rare junk.

Here's how it all works: Hit the 'ClashMob' button in the menu and you'll open up a list of active and upcoming mobs. Select an ongoing challenge and you'll be sent into a dusty desert arena to do your bit for the cause.

This might involve tapping on sacks of gold, beating weakling baddies, or going head-to-head against an unbeatable titan. There might be 75,000 sacks or 60,000 baddies, and the titan might have a whopping one billion hit-points, but you'll only get a few seconds to do as much as you can.

infinity-blade-2-clashmob

Each clash comes with a reward, that all qualified participants will unlock if the overall challenge is beaten. Swords, keys, prize wheels, gems and sacks of gold - that sort of thing.

Friends with benefits

While you'll work with Infinity Blade II's entire population, you can also build your own mini-mobs. These are automatically made from your friends on Game Center, and simply linking up with other armour-clad pals will give you rewards.

Having one friend gives you an easy 1,000 gold pay-out, for example, while three friends ensures an extra five seconds in each skirmish.

One bone of contention with this whole ClashMob thing is the forced use of Facebook. If you're not signed up to The Social Network (or, if you don't really want to get your real-world acquaintances involved in a virtual ogre hunt), you can't play ClashMob.

Luckily, it doesn't force-post anything on your wall. But it does use your Facebook profile photograph, even if you've got a perfectly good snap on your Game Center profile.

Forge ahead

This update mostly focuses on mobs, but there are a few changes to the main game, too. Enter: the gem forge. In Infinity Blade II, Chair introduced magic jewels and rubies that you could permanently lodge in an item to give it a special power.

Put a gem in a shield, say, and it forces enemies to drop more gold in their death throes. Stick a diamond on a sword's hilt and the blade crackles with electricity.

infinity-blade-2-gemforge

In the gem forge you can sellotape three shiny crystals together to form a super-powerful modifier. I threw a few useless gems together and got a handy bit of zirconium that deals an instant 55 damage whenever I dodge.

It takes time - my first stab at crystalline compounds took 30 real world minutes, or a month in the game's fiction - but, in true freemium style, you can splash a little cash to expedite the process. If you wait a push notification will let you know when your new gem has cooled.

The update also has more weapons, shields, gems, armour, helmets, and rings. Which means a good reason to give the campaign another go. Better still, the patch notes promise an "expanded single-player campaign with new challenges, enemies, and items to master". That's coming soon, says Chair.
 

Reviewer photo
Mark Brown 12 April 2012
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