Bound by Flame Review

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Platform: , , ,
Director: Walid Miled
Modes: Single-player

Storyline: 5

Gameplay: 7 / 10

Graphics: 6 / 10

Replay Value: 7 / 10

Sound and Music: 8 / 10

If a retro-style pixel based platformer that you buy on your phone might be considered a single-A game, and a hundred million dollar worldwide release like GTA V might be considered a triple-A game, than Bound By Flame is a double-A game. A small budget, small scale title that has some obvious faults, but seems to try its genuine hardest. And you know what? I like that.

BBF is in many ways generically fantasy based, while at the same time borrowing a lot from both Witcher and Dragon Age series, but still manages to come up with its own feeling by the end. The game features you as Vulcan, a member of a mercenary crew hired to escort a group of mages to a foreboding temple. The world is under siege by an undead army lead by the mysterious 7 Ice Lords, and it is hoped the temple contains a means to stop them. However, an accident occurs, and Vulcan is possessed by a fire demon, and gains new magical powers.

This interaction with the demon forms a core function of the game, as various party members urge you to either aid the demon or disobey it, and by doing so, your character changes physically and emotionally and different plot routes open up. The aforementioned party members are entertaining, but few are memorable, and only one may be brought with you at a time in combat, leading some conflicts to feel very small.

As for combat itself, the player switches between a warrior stance, which is strong and powerful and slow, and a rogue stance, which is quick and sneaky and relies on rapid fire attacks. Magic attacks may be launched from either stance, and all three paths are able to be levelled up. Added to this is the ability to make traps, to imbue weapons with traits on the fly, and a crossbow for ranged attacks, and suddenly your options for battle are much more varied. The aim, I believe, was to make the player use the skills of all three trees on the fly, however, in practice I found that mostly I would do an entire play through as a rogue or warrior on its own, but at the least the ability to switch out on the fly keeps you from feeling limited. Actual fighting can be difficult at times, as each enemy seems to have way too much health, however, there is a definite rhythm to be built up from dodging, parrying, and attacking, and that can actually be very fun once you get into it. If you don’t get into it, combat can feel very unfair, as certain enemies seem able to overpower you with no hope of retaliation.

Despite these niggles, BBF has a runtime of about ten hours, which is reasonable, and despite being of a much smaller scale in terms of plot and gameplay than both The Witcher and Dragon Age, it does fine for what it aims to be. It was sold at about half of a normal games price, which is fair, and so, if you’re looking to kill a few hours with an RPG you could do a lot worse than this. I feel like this game ended up being exactly what it claimed to be, which is always refreshing. It also has a surprisingly good soundtrack. If the dialogue annoyed me, I just ignored it and listened to the Eastern European chanting, which was a good option to have.

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