The lights are on
By Flame has been keeping suck a low profile that even as I write this I find
it a bit surreal that I’m playing it after it being on my radar for so long. But
after such a long time, I can confidently say that it was worth the wait. Bound
By Flame doesn’t aspire to take the RPG world by storm, but it does deliver a
solid experience That RPG fans like myself will greatly appreciate.
in a fantasy world overtaken by seven Ice Lords, a mercenary named Vulcan is
employed to assist a resistance force, and in the process becomes the unwilling
host to a power fire demon, granting otherworldly flame powers. The material
found in the writing is well-worn and borderline clichéd by this point, but the
writing has enough flourish to give the game some identity (expect to hear a
lot of swearing). And that’s important because the story is right at the
forefront of the game’s appeal. If it all feels a bit too generic for you, then
there might not be enough present for you to sink your teeth into, otherwise
there should be plenty to keep you invested.
the game reflects its humble production. On PS4, the graphics are sharp, even
if the textures are all that impressive, and performance is excellent. Where the
game truly finds its stride however, is in its atmosphere; despite not being a
true open world, the environment you explore are astonishingly ambient and
immersive. Early in my playthrough for example, the swamp are you visit stuck
out to me as being particularly moody, especially when nighttime rolled around.
Even though the game has a hub structure, there’s a real sense of exploration
as you travel across a wide variety of environments. And those environments are
crawling with monsters ready to kill you.
being an action RPG, your standard weapons will be swords, axes and hammers
while you playing as a fighter, and knives when playing as a ranger. Each style
feels unique with fighter putting an emphasis on blocking and parrying and
rangers favoring stealth and dodging. And in a welcome addition, both fighting
styles are freely switched, the overall combat feels very similar to Dark Souls,
with careful planning and battle management taking precedent over mindless hack
n’ slashing. The enemies aren’t terribly varied, but they all look distinct and
threatening. Joining you in combat are a variety of partners you meet
throughout the game, and they can focus on spell casting, melee damage, or ranged
attacks, adding new dimensions to battle. And then there’s the flame demon, who
bestows powerful fire based attacks. Being able to shoot fireballs or enhance
you weapon with flame can turn the tide of battle faster than just about
anything else in you arsenal, provided you want to go down that road.
of your abilities are upgradable via three separate skill trees, and while it
may take some time to see substantial differences, you’ll quickly see benefits
as you start gain levels. Also aiding your prowess is a fairly deep crafting
system that lets you customize your weapons for added damage, defense and
interruption. But even with the added help, the best thing you can do is get
familiar with the mechanics. Don’t be afraid to start on easy mode because this
game is going to work you pretty hard, and mastering the blocking, interrupting
and dodging will be your greatest asset against the monsters waiting for you.
what Bound By Flame does best, and why it’s hard to stop playing, is that it
makes you care. All of the characters feel alive and integral to the main
struggle. And despite some weird animations and laughable lip-synching, you’ll
end up getting invested in them and their plight. As well they will react to
Vulcan (who is also a fully realized character) and the way he treats those
around him. And it’s saying a lot that you’re able to feel the weight of your
decisions. If you decide to unleash the demons power, Vulcan will begin to turn
demonic himself, and depending on the relationships you’ve made, you’ll see the
rest of the cast react accordingly. The simple fact that you can stay invested
with such simple material is perhaps the most remarkable thing about this game.
to the other RPGs slated for this year, Bound By Flame won’t set new standards.
But just because it’s not the best RPG doesn’t mean it’s not worth your time,
and that’s thanks in large part to how well the game can endear itself to the
player in its style, writing, and especially its characters. While you could
certainly be forgiven for overlooking it, if you at all interested, than Bound
By Flame may just surprise you.
Good Job on the review, I was sad by reading the low scores every where but it's nice to read rpg fans reviews and see they like it.