Bound By Flame is actually a better game than many give it credit. Currently, it divides the community like Marmite - you either love it or hate it. The STORY is interestingly fresh in it's details - it's the fantasy war for survival we're used to but, in this case, it's a war that's almost lost. You are literally the last of civilisation trying desperately to find some way to win in the face of total destruction.
COMBAT is difficult at first but once you get the hang of it, it becomes clear that the combat system is very skill-based. Proper timing is required to not end up a bloody smear on the ground and that makes it far more interesting than many RPGs on the market today. Playing it on easy is difficult! But not unfairly so. The developers were really trying for an experience wherein you feel like you (and the last of humanity) are hanging on by a thread against a force much more powerful that yourself and, if you allow yourself to get the hang of it, it's something that really keeps you coming back to the game again and again. You feel like you have far more connection to this character than you do in other games - even the FMVs are nice enough to sport an up-to-date version of the character you make, wearing your armour and weapons, etc.
COMPANIONS, at first, seem like a lesser version of a Dragon Age system but that too is deliberate - in this world, and this war, everyone is on edge and trust is a difficult thing to come by, making close friendships unlikely with everything that is going on. While your friends in Dragon Age follow you as the blazing star of hope against evil, the companions in Bound by Flame are thrown together by necessity and all are stressed to the breaking point. This, however, doesn't mean that they don't have their good side. In fact, you can have a lot of fun with them and everyone behaves like you'd expect in such a dire situation; making odd jokes, wondering if they'll make it, asking you what you think just for a glimmer of hope. And everyone has detailed histories, adding to the realism.
GRAPHICALLY, the game looks very good indeed. It's not the Witcher 2 - or the upcoming Witcher 3 and Dragon Age 3, but it's head and shoulders above the majority of the genre, and every environment looks like it has been given a lot of love and attention. Along with the soundtrack, the atmosphere created by the game is something interesting, new and involving.
CUSTOMIZATION is detailed and crafting is excellent. Every weapon or piece of armour that comes along is customisable, and still the game does a great job of making this system user-friendly.You could leave the game for months and come back, and understand everything again at a glance. Find ways to build up new weapons and armour to high-powered levels, or increase their utilities (like poison resist, poison application, and various other types of damage resistance, etc.) It adds a lot of fun to gaining that new piece of loot.
SKILLS & FEATS are also really useful. Where I've seen plenty of other games introduce skills for you to spend points on that haven't really impacted the game, in Bound by Flame you find yourself counting your skill points, waiting to buy specific skills that suit your playstyle.
While the VOICE ACTING has been called everything from "bad" to "nothing to write home about", it hasn't bothered me at all. Honestly, I haven't even noticed any really *bad* moments. In fact, for the most part, the voice acting is very good, and manages to be interesting a varied, making it seem like a real and diverse world. Occasionally, the lipsync has been a little off but that hasn't dulled the enjoyment of the game for me.
And the MUSIC is incredible. Very different and otherworldly, it manages to invoke a feeling of epic-ness, desperation, intrigue and more. Action moments marry perfectly with the intense fighting on screen. There was even a moment at the start of the 3rd Act, where my character encountered a horrible/sad image in a sewer. Nothing is said where they stumble on the image but the music said everything that was necessary. I'm now on the lookout for the soundtrack - it's that good.
The PROBLEMS that the game really has - in fact, the only thing that has annoyed me are the occasional bugs. So far, I've only seen three. Although, the first two were not that bad at all! An enemy turned and wandered off during combat, and flickered in and out of existence until he vanished altogether. The second issue involved me doing something out of sync from how the game expected me to do it, and this only happened because of I was replaying the game and knew what was ahead. The result was that I did a minor thing later and it caused the journal to start tracking the finished quest again, but this did not affect the game overall.
The final bug, however, was VERY annoying. BbF sports a "Demon System", where you make choices at certain parts of the game and can become more evil and powerful, or remain good and not gain an extra "demonic" increase in spell damage (though you can wear one more piece of armour than an evil character). Both choices influence the end of your game, missions you recieve and how characters will view and interact with you - especially since the evil choice affects your physical appearance. The problem with this system is that, when I played it, it bugged-up: I chose the good path and my appearance still became demonic. The second time I made the decision, the problem returned and I became even more physically demonic, leading to different character reactions and missions than I wanted.
BUT so far as I can tell, I'm the only one unlucky enough to experience this problem, so likely it won't happen to you. At first, this soured my game experience and since I only have so much time on my hands, I did not believe I would be replaying it any time soon. However, after a week or so, I started it again. The action caught hold of me and have flown through. The issue did not repeat thankfully and I am now continuing on to the ending I wanted.
Bound By Flame is a very good game. Better than many are giving it credit for. If you are a Dark Souls fan you likely will enjoy combat for the skill-based nature of it. For those who didn't enjoy DS, and I'm not the biggest fan to be honest, you will appreciate the variation of attacks and approaches open to you, which are very wide and so very enjoyable - everything from stealth kills, to quick double-dagger combat with acrobatic dodges, to two-handed swords better fit for groups and literally booting your enemies back to throw them off guard - and all of these are upgradable so you can focus on your favoured fighting style.
Overall, I would heartily recommend this game, AND I would recommend that you really take the time to immerse yourself in the various systems and playstyles, there is plenty to keep you involved and busy, and -aside from the bug I encountered- plenty of reason to enjoy the game. It is well worth the money and, if I had to score it, I would rate it either a 7 or 8 out of 10.