Bound by Flame
is a Third-Person, Story-Driven, Action-Oriented RPG developed by Spiders & published by Focus Home Interactive, the very same duo that conceived Mars: War Logs.
You are thrust into the harshness of Vertiel as Vulcan, powder master of the Freeborn Blades. The Blades along with the Elves & the Red Scribes fiercely stand as the last bastion of civilization against the might of the seven Ice Lords & their Deadwalker minions who seek to plunge Vertiel into an everlasting Ice Age. You – Vulcan – stand on the precipice of Vertiel. Will you be able to stem the frozen tide?
Before embarking upon your journey, you will be met with the character creation screen. The options present are few but include the ability to change hair/face type in addition to customizing your character’s name. The option to choose gender is also present.
Vertiel is a harsh & unforgiving land with varying environments, from tree-filled swamps to death-ridden sewers. The environments are linear, disjointed & feel claustrophobic at times despite much of the game taking place in outdoor locales.
There are three unique skill trees – Warrior, Ranger & Pyromancer, which allow you to customize your playthrough. There are several different weapon types as well. Ultimately, you’ll have to allot skill points according to which weapon you desire to use throughout. While there is some wiggle room in the ability to customize your character, it is somewhat limited as to variability. Also present is a feat system that grants a wide array of bonuses to crafting, health/mana, exploration etc., depending on how feat points are spent.
The combat feels fluid & rewarding upon dispatching your enemies into the afterlife. The boss fights are of particular note, as they are quite difficult & well-thought out in their construction. The final boss encounter was a personally euphoric experience. Even the most battle hardened will experience difficulty here.
As you adventure throughout Vertiel you will encounter foes & allies alike. Foes will become friends & friends will become foes, instigated by war’s untimely wrath. Certain allies will be able to join you on your adventure & assist you in battle, providing everything from damage absorption to the critical heal that will permit the eventuality of victory. Unfortunately, their use is highly variable & they become almost useless in certain drawn-out encounters. Bound by Flame
has an in-depth crafting system, enabling the crafting of potions, traps & even weapon/armor upgrades to slay the most formidable of foes. Much time can be wasted perfecting each piece of equipment to desired playstyle.
The dialogue in Bound by Flame
is its Achilles’ heel. It does not suit the fantasy environment in any capacity whatsoever. The facial animations are equally as poor. Coupled together they provide a major drawback for any player seeking an immersive fantasy experience.
The art style & graphics provide a suitable backdrop. Other than being simply existing as a medium for the story to unravel, they don’t provide much in the way of eye candy. There is also a literal plethora of cut scenes rendered with the in-game engine. The majority of them can be skipped however, if heart longs for battle.
Olivier Deriviére, creator of the soundtrack, also creator of the soundtrack to Remember Me,
pulls no punches in creating a phenomenal score that exudes both wonder & excitement. Getting lost in the different bits & pieces of it are a certainty & a joy.
In conclusion, Bound by Flame
is a mixed bag in the RPG genre. It flourishes in its strengths but continually stumbles upon its mistakes. Despite its drawbacks, Bound by Flame
is note-worthy & very much worth a try for fans of the genre.