Bound By Flame wasn’t a game that I was really aware of until about two weeks before it was scheduled to be released. The fantasy setting, and choices being implemented into the story caught my attention as I like having dialogue choices in video games. What is Bound By Flame about though? A demon possesses the main character, and throughout the game you can choose to ignore or comply with the demon. What ever you choose will have an effect on the characters alignment as well as the final ending.
Bound By Flame has a nice selection of RPG elements added to the gameplay. One of these features is the item crafting system. Although you can find items like health potions already made without the need to craft them, there will be times when an emergency item needs to be crafted. Each item on the crafting menu has materials that are required to create the item, and these materials can be found all over the world of Vertiel by dead enemies dropping the stuff or they can found in nearby chests.
If you lack the amount of materials you need to create a certain item then you will also have the choice to buy them from the crafting menu. Items that can be crafted for example are health potions, mana potions, arrows, and bombs. I found the crafting system to work pretty well, it was simple to navigate and understand, and it will give players chances to get the materials with it offering the player an alternative of buying the materials from the menu. That means if you are in the heat of a battle, and are low on health potions, you can just buy the materials needed from the menu rather than going to some store.
Bound By Flame features a levelling up system that rewards the player with skill points, which in return can be spent on skill upgrades. Warrior, Ranger, and Pyromancer are the three skill trees that you can spend the points on. You can choose to spend points on either of the skill trees at any time, so you can either stick to spending points on one full skill tree or you can mix things up, and spend the points on all three skill trees. In my playthrough I stuck to the warrior skill tree which ended up improving my health regeneration, damage resistance, and increasing the damage of my attacks along with other upgrades. Although like the crafting the system it was basic, but I felt it worked well, and I felt it gave me a reason to play again to try out the other skill trees.
One of Bound By Flame’s main features is giving the player the feeling of choice. One of the main choices in the game is being able to choose to agree with what the Demon tells you or you can continue to ignore him. Whether you choose the path of the demon or not will end up having an effect on what ending you get. There are also dialogue choices that most of the time don’t have an effect on the overall story, but rather gives the player a choice. I also noticed that if you side with the demon your main player will start looking very demonic which reflects on his demon choices similar to what the Fable games did if your character was evil.
The actual gameplay of Bound By Flame wasn’t too bad, but the problems around it caused it to drop in overall quality. One of the biggest problems I had during combat sequences was trying to target enemies as the target lock would end up not working properly causing me to either lose health or die. In a game like Bound By Flame were a big hit can take off upto 80% of your health, you’d hope that targeting would be perfected, but sadly it is not.
Combat sequences also end up being ruined by extremely poor companion A.I. During missions you can choose to take another character to help you fight off the enemies, but are mostly used as a diversion when you are in a battle with multiple enemies as your companion dies almost instantly while doing little to no damage to the enemies. Then there is the issue with difficulty. There seems to be little to no change in difficulty as I started on normal difficulty with no equipment or skills,and died quite a lot due to the enemies being as powerful as they would be much later into the game. After changing to the lowest difficulty the enemies still was still not what you would call “easy” and may put people off who are looking to just play without the challenge.
The main story is split up into four acts with a certain amount of chapters within the acts (mostly three chapters). The main story didn’t take that long to complete, and wasn’t something I could really get into due to laughable performances by some of the voice actors due to terrible dialogue. It was truly hard to take this game serious with some of the terrible voice acting in the game. It also didn’t help that the lip syncing was something you’d see in PS2 games not something you’d hope to see in a PS4 game. Other than the bad voice acting, the missions in general had no range, and felt too similar which made the game become repetitive. There are side missions in the game that helped break away from the main story, and also add that little extra final game time.
The Final Verdict
Bound By Flame defiantly has potential to work, but due to having so many problems the game ends up not reaching that full potential… well it doesn’t really come close at all. The crafting system and level up system showed the game had promise as well as something going for it, but once you get deep into the game you start to learn what went wrong. There is still some fun to be had in this game, so if you are a fan of RPG’s maybe wait until the price comes down to try this game as I can’t recommend a full retail purchase unfortunately.
+Simple and effective upgrade/crafting system.
-Main quest isn’t very long.
-Gameplay suffers from faults