The iPad 2 gets itself a lot of attention from gamers due to the all to common misconception that it might well kill off the handheld console. I have discussed this in a previous post on this blog so I won't go into that issue here but, as I recently bought one, I have played many of its games. It is this side of the iPad 2 that I will be reviewing here, I won't include the other aspects of the tablet in this review. Just to be safe though, as an overall package, it's fantastic.
The variety of games on the iPad 2 is truly immense. From free to play, casual games such as Angry Birds, to relatively expensive RPGs such as Chaos Rings, the app store covers just about everything. It even includes a healthy dose of nostalgia in the form of Doom, Wolfenstein 3D and Bungie's Marathon trilogy (download all of these if you are into gaming, they are fantastic).
Many people complain that the controls can be awkward, whilst on some games this is true (GTA3) on most it is not, although I personally find FPS games can be hard but many seem to manage them fine. For the most part the controls are handled very well and are surprisingly easy to get used to, the most common layout is the traditional dual thumb sticks but some games, such as Doom, combine it all into one stick which makes playing even easier than having to use two sticks.
In terms of its graphics the iPad 2 is quite a powerhouse, games such as Modern Combat 3 and Rainbow Six look fantastic, obviously they cannot compete with the graphics of current gen consoles but for a what is essentially a handheld they are very impressive.
The pricing of these games is also spot on, the most expensive one I have seen was the aforementioned Chaos Rings at £10.99, which is obviously much cheaper than a handheld console based game. Many games are free and the vast majority are under £10 which you really can not complain about, especially with money as tight as it is now.
My only real flaw, aside from the trickiness of some FPS games (strangely Doom was unaffected and handles great), is that the games aren't overly deep. Whilst the iPad 2 functions much like a handheld console does with it's games they simply can't match the standard of games that you would find on a 3DS or PS Vita. If you are looking for a portable gaming device it would be hard to choose an iPad over one of these consoles but of course you would buy an iPad for all of its features, not just the games. Ultimately it would be best to be patient and try and buy both an iPad 2 and a dedicated gaming handheld, the games on both are enjoyable and if you got one and not the other you may find you miss out. It would seem that the idea that people would choose gaming on an iPad over a handheld console is madness, a gamer would surely rather a dedicated handheld, in terms of quality the choice is all too clear.
All in all though, being able to play Doom, Wolfenstein 3D, Modern Combat 3 and a vast collection of other great games is a hard opportunity to pass up and I would certainly recommend investing some of your time with the iPad 2 in looking at the great games that it has to offer.