Published on May 24th, 2014 | by IceCube
REVIEW: Bound By Flame
Summary: We’ve seen many of these third-person, fantasy RPG’s by smaller publishers crash and burn in the past. Now the first entry to the current-gen platforms have made it to shore, and much of the drawn out nuances from yesteryear’s games are history, but it’s far from perfect.
Concept: Customizing your character is relatively thin, but we’re happy to have the option. You can choose to be male or female with a few different hairstyles, colours and face types, but your race and classes are restricted to the limitations of the story: a human warrior-slash-ranger-slash-pyromancer. And the story is based around your human mercenary becoming the vessel of a fiery demon. There’s a strong sense of desperation amongst the people who are badly losing a bitter war against the rising undead, and the pace of the story is good.
Even giant, combusted monsters get cuddly when drunk.
Graphics: Let’s be straight forward: The in-game graphics don’t look sharp as these promo pics might elude to. However, they do appear noticeably current-gen (barely), and quite a cut above the usual form we’ve come to expect from small-budget, fantasy game developer teams. Characters look sharp and clean, but lack some texture, and movement can sometimes be jaggy on occasion. We’re impressed that they included a noticeable day/night system.
Gameplay: The flow of the game switches between cutscenes and sandbox areas, pushing you forward in the story as you complete missions. There’s not a huge amount of exploring to do, but hidden treasures are around. Movement lacks some of the motion-capture intricacies we’ve enjoyed on other third-person titles, and combat is a fairly straight-forward hack and slash affair, with two attacks, weapon switches, dodge, parry and limited skill usage. It’s quite a fun battle system but takes a little getting used to.
“I said, my eyes are up HERE!”
Sound: This is a very tough call because we get the best and worst from both sides! The music is amazing and features some of the best scores we’ve ever heard in fantasy gaming. It does a great job setting the scene and keeps you from skipping moments just so you can hear it all. Meanwhile the voice acting is very inconsistent, with overly-American accents, a surprising amount of F-bombs, and bad lip synching.
Awesomeness: Make no mistake; this is one of your low-budget fantasy games made by a smaller publishing company, so it’s fair to expect some hiccups and lack of polish in places. But for one of “those” titles, it’s possibly the best we’ve come across. Not just due to the current-gen technology, but also from a story and presentation standpoint.
“I’ve heard that heat rises, but this is ridiculous.”
Final Word: By no means is this fantasy game about to compete with the likes of The Elder Scrolls, Dragon Age or Dark Souls, but it is one of the best “alternative” options we’ve played in a long while. Gameplay and combat requires further tuning, but it’s perfectly playable system that is just a little different. It’s a game worth defending because we simply enjoyed the playing experience a lot, even though it’s not technically perfect.
Score out of 5 bugs
Summary: 1 = Poor, 2 = Average, 3 = Good, 4 = Great, 5 = Amazing