Bound by Flame Review

Let’s face it, some games are simply singled out to be held up and made an example out of – such is the case with developer Spiders’ “Bound by Flame”.  Recently released, this title is taking a whipping from critics, many of which are absolutely tearing it apart limb from limb.  However, if you look a bit more closely you’ll discover a game that’s actually not nearly as terrible as they make it out to be, in fact, one might even say that it accomplishes exactly what it set out to do in the first place.

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First off, BbF is a fairly standardized fantasy-themed RPG replete with all the expected tropes found in the genre.  Ergo, the enemies are imaginative, often grotesque and occasionally quite large.  In this way, you might say that it supplies gamers with the exact same build your character and explore strange lands mechanic as countless other RPG offerings.  Quite honestly, it feels like it borrows heavily from both the Witcher and Dark Souls, but not in a direct way, mind you.  However, whereas a lot of games of this particular sort tend to present lots of open areas, a lot of the gameplay found herein will thrust you into crowded hallways with baddies.  In other words, if you’re a combat claustrophobic, this might not be the game for you.

Those that can look past some of the missed opportunities and run-of-the-mill glitches will discover a fairly enjoyable romp.  Even though many probably won’t become too entranced by the game’s storyline, the crux of the experience hinges around a two-pronged series of choices you must make throughout.  Basically, you can either receive help from the demonic influence or reject this in favor of developing other talents.  This of course also affects your appearance, causing you to grow horns and become demonic looking overall.  Unlike a lot of titles (including those which are frequently lauded), Bound by Flame actually includes not one, but three endings.

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In terms of its visuals, this game is actually not too bad looking.  Purists and graphics aficionados will obviously want to point out how it’s not quite as sharp, neat or polished as {fill in the blank with mega-popular title} but to be honest, it looks solid and is by no means dreadful.  In a way it actually contains a bit of a retro influence, bearing a structural semblance to many of those old largely linear PS2 RPG’s, only with a great deal more refinement in various areas.  The main reason to play this game is to soak in the medieval fantasy atmosphere and engage in combat while developing a character.  Sure, it’s not anything that’s not been done before, but it remains conventionally pleasing nonetheless.

Truthfully, RPG fans on the PS4 are likely to be divided on Bound by Flame, some actually liking it, others having no real opinion of it and the rest, lambasting it.   Nevertheless, if this kind of game appeals to you (in terms of setting and sword / magic-based combat), chances are you’ll enjoy it quite a bit.

Rating - 7

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