This review comes to you via a special request from Matt Peters.
I was told about Bound By Flame via a Facebook post on my wall saying that I should review this game because it was actually made by a gamer. Considering how many games are not made by gamers and actually made by people with dollar signs for eyes, like Eddy from Ed, Edd, and Eddy, I decided to give it a shot.
My first look at the game was the box art, of course, which was eye-catching at least. The huge muscular man on the front cover made me groan a little on the inside since I thought I would be playing another Gears of War(crap) thing.
I tore the plastic off and dived right in. Or I thought I did until the game had to load. And load. Then, after I took a shower and wrote a bestseller, it was finally done.
Since I knew that this was going to be an RPG, I couldn’t wait to get to the character creation segment of the game.
I must apologise for that last statement for it was false. All types of false. I can’t really call deciding the name, skin color, and face type of a character “Character creation.” It’s more like “choose your character from these cookie cutters we made” At least I got to choose a name. The NPCs never call you by that name anyway; always sticking to the default choice.. That’s like going into Dunkin Donuts with a create your own donut coupon and they just point you to three of four different pre-made donuts. You didn’t make or create a thing. At least in Fallout 3, there were sliders and color scales that you can mess with. That was something but lets get back to the matter at hoof.
You are (insert your character name here). You are a scout turned assassin with your mercenary brothers when, after a freak magical accident (isn’t there always one) you have a demon planted inside you. With or without the demons help, (Go team demon) you have to battle the forces of the evil Ice Lord with your companions you meet along the way to either save Vertiel or burn it all to a crisp.
After the initial crap of the “creation phase” was done, I actually dived into the this game. The difficulty was set to normal, because I’m not a noob and also not stupid enough to try this game on Hard. Bound by Flame just sounded like it would be full of butthurt. Let me tell you something. It was.
I consider myself a professional gamer. I can pretty much get into any game with ease. And then there was this game. Seven is the number of times I died just in the tutorial.
“Lol, you suck.”
Billy, Im’ma hurt you. Shut it. Anyhoof, the game does its best to be a game, not a pretty skybox you fight in but an actual game. It even tries to be realistic with cumberance and moral choices. I’ll get to the moral choices in a bit.
I want to point the graphics just for a little bit; the PS2-looking graphics of this PS3 game. I have mentioned before that graphics do not make a game. They can make a game look pretty, but they do not make the game and should not be the biggest selling point of the game. With that being said, you can tell that the game put most of its points into gameplay and story while leaving graphics with about five points to play with. Its better than Tomb Raider polygons at least. I don’t mind a game that looks a bit like crap if they even it out with a good story or gameplay. I can’t say that Bound by Flame will win story of the year. Ok, I can and it won’t but it does have good solid gameplay.
Playing the game felt like a Dungeons and Dragons console game. All of the different weapons, attachments and even the layout of the menu felt like DnD or Dragon Age. This made inventory management important because you couldn’t just pick up and carry everything on your back due to the weight system. Not to mention, with the exception of gold, every item had weight to it. And don’t even think about selling your items, just recycle them to get some raw materials. Not once throughout my playthrough did I have to go to a smith or town vendor. The world had enough materials for me and the chests I found had better loot than what the shops were selling.
The moral choices you have to make aren’t real weighty on the story, like it wants you to believe. I haven’t found a game that does this well, sadly. About the only thing that the choices influence are whether or not certain companions stay with you or whether or not you have horns at the end of the game. Good luck trying to wear the awesome helmet when you are all demony.
All in all, I had fun playing this game. It kicked my ass and I kicked right back. I got hot feet because of that but I’ll manage. Don’t get this game for graphics. Get it for the gameplay and story, like you should with every game.
Bound by Flame: A warming sensation that becomes spontaneous combustion, leaving you with the ashes after the flames die.