Bound By Flame is the Action RPG for the next-gen gamer, and PlayStation 4 owners won’t want to miss out on this one. Already being compared to heavyweight titles in the genre, this Spiders developed title delivers its own flavor of swordplay to the industry and carves out more room within the niche market of hardcore dungeon difficulty video games.
We’d also like to take a moment to commend the development studio Spiders for their efforts to introduce unique tactics that can be utilized such as having bosses help you take out opponents before taking the battle down between the two of you, as well as the Bound By Flame’s great soundtrack, tense and entertaining adult language, conflict, and crews in the fantasy world setting. Dialogue and path choices made by the player branch out giving the game a bit of added depth to the experience. Beyond that, entire events in the game will be altered based on decisions to do with the storyline and the fate of the people you’ll meet throughout your journey.
in terms of the gameplay, Bound By Flame doesn’t disappoint. After a few introductory ‘kills’ and some getting used to the feel of the controls this game’s combat system truly shines. Falling somewhere comfortably in the middle between the typically polar brutal or easy games in its genre. Instead, Bound By Flame (perhaps unexpectedly) provides a polished and refined live action battle system that is rich with replay value and customizability but more importantly just feels right.
The heads-up displays featured in this game provide what feels like a much more tactical and advanced experience in contrast to other hud-less titles. Similarly, the intricate and quality precision of the battle system allows a more traditional Action RPG feel based on skills and fun factor reversing a recent trend focusing on exact button press timing and extreme artificial difficulty.
Some points were dropped due to a small amount of screen tearing during some of the story cutscenes in the beginning of the title but when you’re actually playing gameplay the frame rate and engine performance is totally solid. this can probably be fixed in a patch, and doesn’t effect gameplay at this time. The main playable character speaks, and the story is pretty decent. You’ll notice that no matter what you type in your name as, your character is referred to by the same name out loud. This is a bit weird at first, but not really a problem since the story is fleshed out. Perhaps the character naming exists just to identify multiple save files for various play-throughs at any given time? Who knows.
Improvements have been made on the core mechanics expected in the game, such as grabbing items just by one button tap which results in the character quickly kicking in a chest and instantly adding the items to inventory, crafting equipment such as traps and potions on the fly, and switching between skill-sets that cater to attacking enemies with different ways – just a few examples of how optimized features replace incumbent ‘hang-ups’ of recent titles (such as waiting for animations that repeat many times throughout the game).
Players are encouraged to select a difficulty that best suits the play-style they intend to use. For example, foraging for lots of items and facing brutal odds is reserved for a higher mode while the game can also be played with a lower degree of complexity and resistance. Collecting materials and crafting will be essential either way, but coming up with almost nothing in terms of item accumulation really forces the skill factor on battles and produces the intensity that this title’s genre has now become known for in the modern age of video games.
Graphically the game is great to look at. On the PlayStation 4 Spiders has shown that they are capable of producing good visuals. The textures and art inspired for each zone feels different and the presentation of enemies during battle gives something the eyes enjoy scanning rapidly during fast-paced gameplay. Combat in the fantasy genre doesn’t always get the best pixel counts either, so it was appreciated that Bound By Flame kept a visually appealing front-end to what results in a thoroughly enjoyable leveling system.
Introductions, tutorials, and thinks of that nature are always a chore. Bound By Flame provides something of a ‘go-there, get-this, talk to that guy’ introductory section that may drive some players away. As a rule of thumb, developers should make a point to start off Action games – with Action. However, I heed you not to hesitate in pushing passed this formality because it fails to represent the clamoring fights that await in the actual game. Moves may also appear primitive or basic at first, but new animation, battle timing, and moves are added to the game regularly as players progress and select which areas of gameplay need improving. This can potentially change an entire play-through and customize Bound By Flame for any play-style.
In Bound By Flame players take the role of a character who is literally Bound By Flame. The demonic presence of fire within the very spirit of the player threatens to escape and while trying to contain it must be utilized in battle through various magical moves such as throwing fireballs, setting weapons on fire, and using shields made of flame. As the game progresses forth, our travelling character begins to evolve and gain new abilities with more gameplay elements being fed into the experience at a steady pace keeping the feel of the game fresh and fun.
Official Combat Gameplay Trailer:
Bound By Flame is a must-have next-generation game, point blank. Perhaps with a few more tweaks and the addition of co-operative play Bound By Flame could have been a perfect Diamond Game. This Action RPG surprised us and blew away our expectations with a focus on integrating traditionally expected quality into the emerging sub-genre of brutally difficult fantasy combat titles. Spiders and Focus Home Interactive have out-done themselves and we hope to see developers re-think projects currently brewing to make games that are more like this! RealGamerNewz rates Bound By Flame a 9.4 out of 10 making it an RGN Gold Game.
Overall Score: 9.4 / 10
RGN Rating: Gold Game
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Played On: Sony PlayStation 4
Available On: PS4 | PS3 | 360 | PC
Review Copy Info: A physical copy of this game was provided to RealGamerNewz in advance of release by the publisher for the purpose of this review.