NSFW Gamer Review: Bound by Flame

NSFW Gamer Review: Bound by Flame

Every new generation of consoles has its own RPG that defines the size and scale of a game that can be accomplished with the technology.

Oblivion on the Xbox 360, any number of past Final Fantasy titles for the PSOne, you name it, role playing games of grand, epic scale have pushed the newest limits to their brink and provided countless hours of playing time to many.

So how does Bound by Flame measure up? Read our review to find out.

Bound by Flame
Systems: PlayStation 3 [Reviewed], PlayStation 4, XBox 360, XBox One, PC
Developer: Spiders
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Release: May 9, 2014
MSRP: $49.99 USD

Bound by Flame, the first game from Spiders software, is a classic-style RPG where the hero, Vulcan, is a mercenary involved in what may be the last war he (or she) will ever see. The seven Ice Lords have corrupted the major source of magic, the Worldheart, and are slowly wiping humans off the map. However, the sages employing Vulcan’s company, known as the Red Scribes, perform a ritual to turn the tide. It ends up not going as planned, however, and Vulcan finds him/herself sharing their body with a demon that grants a slew of new fire powers, thus enabling them to combat the Ice Lords. Along the way, Vulcan must choose to either embrace the demon further and become more isolated from former allies, or reject it entirely and pursue a more altruistic path.

NSFW Gamer Review: Bound by Flame

The game sports the three standard Mage, Rogue, and Warrior archetypes, but it doesn’t marry you to any one role, which gives it its own unique identity. The gameplay styles themselves can overlap depending on how one chooses to apply their skills, and a jack-of-all-trades can be just as effective as choosing a single dedicated path. The Warrior’s tree allows the player to have their attacks gain a better chance of interrupting the enemy and resisting interruption themselves, while the Ranger tree increases critical hit chance, opens the opportunity for poison damage, and of course allows for stealth attacks. What really stands out, though, is the unique fire spells under the Pyromancer tree. Multiple fireballs, setting equipped weapon on fire for better damage, and summoning a fire spirit to assist in battle provide unique identity and flavor to what would otherwise be a bland, samey RPG.

NSFW Gamer Review: Bound by Flame

The environments are scarce for variety and detail, and it hurts the overall experience. Going from a tomb, to a swamp, to a frozen city and eventually the “Worldheart” where the demon originated, every locale is interesting enough, but there aren’t any Skyrim-like vistas that are worth lingering on. On the other hand, the character and weapon art got a lot of attention. One of the best things about choosing to embrace the demon is that the player character will change in appearance over time, getting orange eyes, then a small flame appears on the left shoulder, and eventually growing a very large set of horns. It definitely made me feel rewarded for my choices as I played. However, when it comes to customizing Vulcan to your own liking, the options are very limited to a handful of preset hairstyles, skin colors, and faces. It’s a good thing this isn’t an online title, or I would’ve doubtlessly run into my clone several times. Weapons and armor, on the other hand, can be customized fairly extensively. Applying a new crossguard or pommel will allow for better damage, increased speed, or resistance to poison, magic, etc. It’s one of the many little touches that makes Bound by Flame its own experience.

NSFW Gamer Review: Bound by Flame

The music is, without question, Bound by Flame‘s strongest element. Thankfully leaving behind the wailing guitars that are often used in a budget project like this, era-appropriate drum beats accompany the combat, and when I was exploring the ruined Elven city of Carldthas, I was treated to a haunting and somber melody that I know will stick with me for years to come. The voice acting is competent, though a little uneven from one character to the next. The overall story and interactions have their charm, even though it sometimes walks into “so bad it’s good” territory with lines like “Oh shit! You don’t look like much of a good luck charm!” when encountering the second boss.

NSFW Gamer Review: Bound by Flame

Speaking of bosses, they’re all very tough, but don’t require much strategy. There are no patterns to learn, no special techniques needed, or anything out of the oridnary. Essentially they’re just tougher enemies. Also, for touting how your choices will shape the experience, it seems some places where I could’ve made a choice were chosen for me because I was going the demon route. It’s like I was locked in from the start. It’s not exactly amping me up for a second playthrough.

Nonetheless, Bound by Flame is definitely worth a second playthrough, and seems to be one of those games in which the smaller parts make the experience, rather than the game itself. Aside from the sometimes brutal difficulty, it’s also an easy game to Platinum. If you’re looking for an RPG to play before the Summer games drought, I would say you can’t go wrong here.

Game 3.5/5

NSFW Gamer Review: Bound by Flame

As for the girls in the game, you can make your own Vulcan fairly attractive. If you’re after the bookish type, Sybil, one of the red scribes and your healer companion in the game, has all the quiet charm you’ll enjoy. But for those of us who love their ladies out-there and on the dark side, there’s Edwen. With nearly Dragon’s Crown Sorceress-level proportions and a sexy outfit to show it off, her too-cool-to-care attitude will hit just right. There’s also the option to “seduce” your companions, however it leads to little more than embracing them for a lengthy kiss. If we get a sequel, I’m hoping that Spiders will show a little more edge.

Hotness 3/5

– Brad Cowan aka “Devilsugar” ~ Bio

NSFW Gamer Review: Bound by Flame

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2 Responses to “NSFW Gamer Review: Bound by Flame”

  1. Korgan says:

    this isn’t the first game from Spiders… they made Mars: War Logs, and i believe they had another game before that one.

  2. DevilSugar says:

    Oh, my mistake, thank you. I’ve heard about War Logs, but this was the first major product I found with their name stapled to it. C’est la vie. #faceisred