Hands-On with the iPad 2: N.O.V.A. 2 and Infinity Blade
I just got out of Apple’s iPad 2 announcement event, where I got to sample the new device a bit playing a couple of the bigger games on the iOS: Gameloft’s Halo-like FPS, N.O.V.A. 2, and ChAIR’s Unreal Engine 3 game, Infinity Blade.
The big upgrades to the iPad 2 are its new A5 dual-core processor chip and the addition of the a gyroscope and accelerometer to the hardware. The latter two bring the iPad in line with the capabilities of the latest generation of iPhones, and it works great for N.O.V.A. 2, which uses the accelerometer and gyroscope to great success as part of its aiming scheme.
Playing N.O.V.A. 2 on the iPad 2 was more or less just like playing it on the iPhone, only now it’s bigger and thus, relatively prettier. It handles in all the same ways as the iPhone version, which is great because Gameloft has got some quality controls built into its game, but the larger screen make seeing the action and responding to it a lot easier. I only got to sample it for a few seconds, but my preliminary experience with N.O.V.A. 2 is that it plays better on the iPad 2 than on the iPhone 4, just as a function of size and presentation.
As for Infinity Blade, the game is definitely pretty and the A5 means the graphical fidelity and framerate run pretty high. Going nuts and slashing away at the first enemy I came across had no effect on how well the game handled, which was really nice. It’s tough to draw a direct comparison against previous play of Infinity Blade on the iPad — of which I have very little experience — but the game did seem to work better now than it has in the past, thanks to Apple’s amped-up technology.
As far as gaming is concerned, if you’re not into the iPad already, you probably aren’t jumping in your car to line up on March 11. But the addition of that accelerometer and gyroscope, as well as the increased graphical speed, could mean some great new games are in the iPad’s future. The device now has all the best features of the iPhone: the accelerometer, rear-facing camera and gyroscope mean that augmented reality games that are interesting on the iPhone are now possible on the iPad, but more than that, the technology is going to encourage a lot of innovation that we haven’t seen yet.