Bound by Flame Review
Bound by Flame Is a straight forward RPG or Role Playing Game, with an interesting premise, about a demon possessing you, the character, to save the world. This usually relates any person wanting to be the hero of the game. Let’s find out if this game really makes you feel like the hero, and value.
Story, Writing, Characters:
The story takes place in a world assaulted by dead walkers. These are basically zombies, with a Walking Dead name to it. The humans and elves are losing the war for Vertical. The Ice Lords are winning, and it looks like there is no hope left. You play as Vulcan, a warrior of the PureBlades. Their mission is to protect the Red Scholars, as they find a weapon to turn the tide of the war. Everything goes awry and you are possessed by a demon. This then sends you on a quest to defeat the Ice Lords. The main plot is straight forward, but there really is nothing to really care about.
However, the worst offense is the writing. The lame one-liners and just bad dialogue make you want to hate the characters. It’s also weird that the demon speaks in old English. When a person has to go through bad acting, and most, of the voice actors were not believable. It started to turn more into a B movie, with B actors. I was hoping to skip the scenes, but Spider Interactive thought their game was so great, that everything is not able to be skipped. There was one character that was the only bright spot in the game, Mathras. He is an undead spirit, that finds dead hosts to occupy and roam the land. He has been doing that for thousands of years. I wished the developer would have just made a game about him. The rest of the characters are a big throw away. They have shallow to no real development.
The biggest problem was the end of the game. They tried to end it mostly nice and neat, but it all fell flat. It was too rushed for an ending, and should have had an extra 10 hours, at least, more of the story to feel like a complete game. The problem is when game developers try to end games quickly, they usually make the gamer feel like it was a cheap way to end the game. This was one of the many wrongs Spider Interactive violated in this game. This alone would make an RPG game not great to even consider playing. If you can get past the bland story, it may be a worthwhile game to you.
The gameplay has two styles of fighting. One with a two-handed sword. This style is intended to be very powerful, with a kick function. The player can also block, and if timed right, you can also parry. The other fighting style is two daggers. This one has the ability to “dodge,” and block. If timed right, you can counterattack with the dodge function. There are also mines, a crossbow, health, and mana potions. Vulcan also has the ability to control fire. Due to the demon inside him, he can throw fireballs, ignite his weapons with flames, ignite himself to protect him from attackers, or a ground attack to knock attackers back. The fighting can be quite chaotic; and, most of the time the fighting is button mashing, with a lot of dodging, because you are always outnumbered. Unfortunately, the NPC is no help. What Every fight comes down to is your companion becomes the bait while the player kills the enemies. It is a shame that the AI is not more of an asset than a hindrance. The fights quickly become one-sided, five on one, or worse. Completing quests can be a guessing game at times. One example is, Vulcan (your character) has to defeat three watchers before continuing. However, it never mentions there is a specific order to defeat them. If you don’t kill the watchers in the order the developers intended to be played out, the other boss fights become very difficult. Only, but trial and error did I find the right sequence to defeat them. I mostly just used the double blades because you can sneak behind and do some major damage, and it gives you an ability to dodge.
The leveling up style is divided up into demon powers, longsword style tree, and double blades tree. This helps to upgrade each style and to make them better against enemies. For example, the fireball can be upgraded to shoot out three at a time. There are other perks that are based on a points system. This could give a player more health and mana or carry more bolts for the crossbow. The system works well, but they should have just added another tree and scraped the points system.
The overall gameplay was borrowed from other games. All of these game mechanics are implemented in a decent manner but does not make the game fresh or fun to play at all. The play time was about 25 to 30 hours. It is a moderate time for an RPG game, but other games from the same genre will run about 50 to 60 hours.Graphics and Sound
The graphics are pretty good for a low budget game. I was running the game on high and had no slow down issues. There was one problem I came across. I ran the game, and alt tab to check on something, came back and the game froze. It was the only time it happened, but a very odd one. The character facial animations were mostly stiff with no facial expressions. The graphics engine really showed off its prowess when looking at the landscape. More like the perception of the landscape. The character’s model look passable, but this game was stuck in the past. This feels like a game that should have come out in the early 2000s, then in 2014. In my playtest I did not notice any screen tearing or sharp edges around. The magic effects looked passable, but there was nothing spectacular about it. The fire effects were good, and they looked believable. As a whole the game was passable. The graphics were nothing to brag about, but they were not so horrible that it was a pain to look at. The sound design was good. The sound of metal clashing was realistic. The sound of fire igniting in the rumble of the earthquake makes it feel. This was the highlight of the game. However, it does not give it enough of a pass to make it a great game.
Is It Worth It?
The terrible writing and dialogue, mixed with a so-so plot, superficial characters with little character development, and the very rushed ending make this game feel like it should not be a forty dollar game. The fighting is chaotic, and lacks any finesse, the AI is not very bright and basically kills in almost every battle. Most role playing games would give you 50 to 60 hours of gameplay, but the redeeming factor is the graphics and sound leave much to be desired. This is a game I cannot recommend for you. It is not worth your time or money.