Bound by Flame

Spoilers!

So, I just finished playing the newly released game Bound by Flame. What is there to say about a game like this? The first thought that I got into my head was that it felt a lot like The Witcher and that thought stuck with me through the entire game, just not the same epic story. It also had a sort of touch that reminded me of Dragon Age too somehow, that I can not explain however.

The game starts with you making your character. You can choose between male and female who is fully voiced but she/he’ll be named Vulcan even though you name them anything else, it’ll only show on your character stat page. There is some customizability but not much. Some different hairs, some faces and such. I think the female voice however is a bit too manly.

 
Details in this game made me smirk on occasion, like the fact that if you play as a female, she is not a damsel in distress. She is badmouthed, rough and overall ordinary. The armors are exactly the same, no naked asses or almost naked chests. Well except Edwen, the…almost naked mage companion.

The demon will change the armor part a bit as the story goes on, she’ll burn your skin, make you grow horns (can’t use helmets then) and let your skin burn around your shoulder that’ll ruin your armor. Yes, the armor won’t be covering the burning parts of you. Awesome!

 
The game will let you choose how you’ll play your character, what stance she’ll use, though she can use them all, and if you’ll go down the dark path of the demon that is presented early in the story or not. The stances varies between the strong warrior stance that lets you use a sword, axe or a hammer, the quick and agile ranger stance that uses dual daggers and of course the ability to use fire magic when you’ve gotten to that. It is a really smooth transition between changing the stances. You can also use a crossbow, its really usefull when you need to be range but lacks mana at that moment.

My own character, Lexxi I call her, is a master in both the ranger stance and the magic skills and dwelled deeply into the possession of the demon. She got greedy and looked damn good at the end.
The magic is “limited” to fire as the demon is fire based, and consists of fireballs (there will be more balls, the more you level it), a sort of fire shield, imbuing your weapons with flames and a force push of some sort (never really tried it out.) Everyone else in the game, that can use magic at all, is only using ice magic so you are kind of special. Or at least that is what I have seen.

 
The game is action packed, and in the beginning it can be rather bothersome to try and survive the first damn forest that isn’t merciful and will respawn just to mess with you time and time again when you explore. Good thing is that the companions isn’t far away. As you gain levels however, the enemies get easier. Some companions are however better than others, and I didn’t like Sybil one bit.
The npcs around the game is unique as well as all your companions, and the language that they all have is fun to listen to and so full of cursing.

The character designs are really nice looking, some of the monsters are actually looking rather badass, and the areas are just beautiful and varied. Day and night cycles is something that the game has as well, they go past rather quickly imo but if you want to speed it along, you can sleep in camps. That’ll raise your health and push the time forward.
The game also has some “perks” or small features that enables you to do things better/easier, get more health/mana or just to be able to carry more, find more things and so on.
Don’t forget to “customize” your armor as well, you have the skill to add buffs to it and things like that and it is needed in my opinion.

Armor 
The “romance” however left me face planting the table. I got my elven man, yay! But the need to do just that one quest (that I missed… had to reload) to even get the companion to mention that he likes you, AND kiss is just sad. Shouldn’t even incorporate romance if all the player get is based on one quest and is that bad.

Music is something that the game sure isn’t lacking and it is really prominent, but not in the bothersome way. It just is there, perfectly playing as you go about your business, and what a soundtrack this game has. It’s wonderful. Overall it’s a good game, that truly deserves to be played. Not too much story, not too much character interaction but a lot of action, fire and cool enemies.

 
I saw on YouTube that some got nice endings, when Mathras explained things, guess I missed the quest to get that going as well. Yay, but the lack of a proper ending imo was just depressing. I felt that the story tricked me into thinking that there were more, but it wasn’t with no hope of a sequel. In the end I chose to stay and rule so that the land could rebuild itself, but when I made the choice, I just stood there, alone… and the game ended. What?

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9 responses to “Bound by Flame

  1. Pingback: What defines a roleplaying game for you? | I Hate Loading Screens

  2. Woooo! 🙂 Remember seeing this on your list. Couldn’t find hardly much info about the game myself until much closer to the release date! But it was worth the wait, judging by the pictures I saw, the story summary, and now this review!

    To start off with, I am glad to see there is a choice of female option. Gone are the times when solely male characters would dominate the blood and gore scene of various RPG’s! Women have strengths too (And some would say more likely to cause some gore!) within these times/worlds. Strange with that name though…Vulcan. I can’t say it -is- a unisex name…Maybe not a name, more a title? I mean, the character is the host of a Demon and Demon’s are weak against their ‘true names’. Maybe the Demonic side influenced the character a bit in the story to choose a title over their real name?

    What do you think? Maybe a character plot point, or just simply a title/name for both genders?

    Ahh, good! The female option is also a badass (And that armor, that is very nice armor)! Oh? Dynamic armor that changes with the body? This is very nice detail added! Too many games cover up your characters…Hmm, let’s say, ‘bits and bobs’ like spikey skin and such (Surely that stuff rubs?!). I would, for one, love to have a kind of…Half Demon-Half Human body, like, one side all burnt while the other is just holding onto the remnants of its humanity! And an almost naked Mage Companion…? Well, I guess they had to have something stereotypical of those poor, female mages 😉 Always shown to wear such skimpy clothing…

    Quick small question, are the companions well ‘coded’ in this game? Like, are they useful in a fight, following you, etc etc, or do they run into fights and get themselves slaughtered? (More Souls for your Demon side! Mua ha ha!)

    These ‘stances’ I imagine are another word for ‘Classes’? I myself would have gone for a Ranger/Mage combo also. How can you resist using those Demonic flame abilities to devastate your enemies? Being evil never gets old! And all the rest use Ice Magic? Hmm… I’d imagine that’s just to hold a strength over you, unless you can melt their ice! Burn them all!

    What was your favourite way to kill your enemies? And, in general, how skilled were the AI throughout the game? Saw you mention it got easier as you leveled, did you feel it scaled well with you or? Just got too powerful?

    Hmm…Sometimes, a game with annoying respawn times can really frustrate me. A forest map also… I can just imagine enemies repeatedly popping out of nowhere in a never-ending sprawl from the trees. :-/ I hope once you get past that point though, it calms down a bit with some social compromise? Companions are a very nice way to calm down the adrenaline rush of a recent bloodbath! (Once again, Demon powa!)

    A question about the Demon look: How did it start off? Like, did small bumps appear on the head for horns? Maybe skin darken a bit? And also, how did the evil/good choices play out? Choice to kill or save someone, or something deeper?

    Oh yes, character design is very important to me! Right down to the smallest NPC’s, making creatures and human type NPC’s believeable is what will make or break an entire RPG world in my opinion. Voice actors are just as important, but the looks more important to me! These perks sound cool too, nice little Addon bits to keep ya occupied while improving your character social wise and battle wise!

    Nice! Romance! Always nice to have your character getting closer and closer to a possible partner! Although, by the way you say that, hmm… One quest and that makes or breaks a relationships? Seems like they didn’t put too much effort into the whole ‘build a relationship’ through gameplay and more quests. Sad, but I guess better then no Romance, unless it didn’t feel romantic at all. More…Forced maybe? Also nice to hear they’ve concentrated on good music. Ambience and battle music always gets my blood pumping! My headphones on, the sound of the wild in the background, charging up a fire spell then -BOOM!- The death screams of some hapless AI as I destroy their very being! +5 to evil! 😀

    More then one ending is good, but if the game itself didn’t live up in certain aspects (Like Romance) then that kinda feels a bit of an empty win…And as you say, it kinda was, in your view. :-/ Just ended? On ya own? Where was this Romance of yours? He off camera, walking into a wall? Heh. Shame there was no hint for a sequel…But! Maybe they were waiting for a crowd response? Their could be a sequel, or at least a spin-off game that they improve upon the bad parts from this one.

    Would you have liked to have seen a sequel? If so, how would you think it would plan out if you went full Demon? Maybe a game of you taking over more of the world, or a Cult working against you to take you down, or even a chance to repent! ( Pft, who’d do that? Moar Fire Demon! 😉 )

    Overall, another great review! Nice and long, with beautiful pictures and a great insight on a very amazing looking game! I will definetly be trying this out soon, once I get some time to myself (Most likely soon also!). Hope to see your next review soon, whatever it might be! Maybe even another game on your list, if they soon will be released. Game On! 🙂

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    • She had the name even before she became a demon, as you start the game as a human. She even gets called “powder woman” as she is one in the company of mercenaries. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know.
      I dunno why they placed that name on her, but I hated it, heh.

      They can work rather well, but can however get stuck in things if you’re too fast.

      I suppose in some way they can be called classes, but its just stances that you can switch between all the time even if you have nothing placed in them. I see them as different weapon modes. And the flame vs. ice isn’t really any different. It’s just dmg in this game.

      I didn’t really think about how I killed them, I varied between spells and daggers continuously. But I didn’t feel that the game scaled, I got powerful due to skills, and the game just got harder I suppose. The companions did die on occasion, a bit to often with me but they got up after battle.

      Companions didn’t really talk in this game, sure you can ask them things and they give you quests, but that didn’t take your eyes from the constant action that is going on. But that forest area is just at the beginning, it’s easier to battle later in, imo.

      I have some pictures of the whole transformation, it starts with red eyes, then small horns and so on. But the game doesn’t have good and bad options, he demon takes charge on occasion but otherwise the character is kind of an ass.

      I would have preferred to have no romance if they just did it like that.

      I suppose that the game pointed out that you’re alone at the top, being an immortal full demon.
      And yeah maybe, I sure hope that it would be even better then. I dunno what I would want to see in a sequel, maybe how she built up the world again or destroy it herself.

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      • Hmm okay… Odd one, that is, guess maybe just a dual name for Male and Female so that they could have the voice actors not make new lines for a different name each time?

        Stuck in things…Darn, those AI love to run into walls or get stuck between objects!

        Ahh okay, I get ya. Suppose that is better then Classes in a way, maybe can be considered similar to Elder Scrolls games in that you can use any weapon and most magic maybe(?)

        Better then the game being easy all the way through I guess. Sometimes I find if a Companion dies, it kinda ruins the immersion a bit. I can understand myself (The main character) having the ability to revive but a Companion revival takes away the special-ness a bit of your own abilities! Speaking of Companions, it’s good they at least had more input then just “I will help you fight!”. Even if it was little, a social aspect gives them more of a ‘personality’ instead of just an AI helper.

        Yeah I took a look at the photos (The one with the grey skin and red eyes kinda made me think ‘vampire’). No options? That is kinda odd… And the Demon takes control automatically? Hmm… Okay, and ah, well if the character is generally an arse, guess that kinda makes reason for the Demon to easily take over!

        Yeah. That Romance seems really false/forced. Just “I love you.” and left at that, heh.

        Hmm, yeah that is a possible conclusion. Sounds like the game ended similar to Dark Messiah Of Might and Magic (I also suggest that game for a quick RPG).

        Yeah, same. Definitely add a lot more social aspect, and more Romance for sure! Could be cool to see some Summonable Pets too (You’re a Demon after all!), unless the game already had those.

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        • Most likely, but I feel that Vulcan, was not a good name for that.

          I would say not even close to the Elder scrolls games, that is just cheap imo. It is a much closer feel to The Witcher, as it is a change of style, not weapons.

          The game was not that deep nor immersive in that way. There is really just a few games that gives you such options either way. Yeah, the demon takes control as the game was more cutscene driven than actually letting the player do it.

          And he didn’t even say that he loved her, just a kiss and on with life.

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  3. This part can always be a touchy subject so hear me out at first. My opinion is that often the reason for the damsel in distress or for the half-naked companion/protagonist/antagonist is because the majority of the player base are younger men that enjoy either feeling like the hero and save the day or enjoy looking at said half naked lady while playing the game.

    That said I would like to add that this should not be a reason to design a game that alienates a growing part of the demographics (women playing games) and would you say that this game is one of these games where women would find a strong role-model (even if she is possessed by a demon)?

    You mention Edwen in your post, the almost naked mage companion, is he something only females get or males as well? Would you say it’s a stab at the previous mentioned part of my comment? That instead of a half naked female companion you get a male one?

    Might reading too much into the game, what is your opinion? Do you think the developers had any such thoughts behind their design?

    Let’s go over to talking armour shall we? I liked hearing what you mention about how it makes the character unable to use a helmet or burning away the armour, you wrote that it ruins the armour, does that mean you have to repair it more often or just can’t use that piece anymore? or equip in that “slot” again? (like for the helmet

    Most games I would say start out a bit easier to get harder towards the end, this game you say seems to be in a different way, was it that the enemies remained at the same difficult level after a certain level? Or was it your gear and stats that got much better the further up you got?

    The perks you mention are they something you had to gain in order to use or were they just there for you to use when ever you might have wanted?

    You mention that this game had a wonderful soundtrack, would you say it’s worth listening to outside of the game or was it mostly because it added to the game?

    You also mention that the romance felt a bit pointless if it’s based on just one quest and if it’s that bad as it seemed to have been for you.

    Would you say that RPGs has gotten to that stage where it’s expected of them to have it in them? And that’s why they added it? That perhaps during the beta people missed having one in?

    Oh the ending, yes how important isn’t an ending? Can make or break a game in many cases, you say you guess you might have missed something a quest or something like that, do you think an ending would depend on a single quest that could be missed? Can it have been a cut-scene that bugged out for you? Or do you think that the option you picked were to point out you were to remain alone to rebuild the land by yourself?

    Thank you for a good written review, looking forward to the next one.

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    • Yeah, the female is a good role model in a way I think. She is not taking any shit even without the demon.
      And Edwen, I suppose I forgot to mention that it’s a she. It’s a random thing I think, as all the others in the game are proper. But as it is a she, I can’t really answer your questions there.

      The armor will not show on those parts, mainly the shoulder but you can still place things there on the armor customize screen. But the helmet can not be used once you get big enough horns.

      I think it was mainly the skills and stats that made it easier and the fact that you get an companion. But I’ve seen many games that start out harder then gets easier, but can’t for the life of me remember the names now.
      And the “perks” are things you have to place points into to gain, and a few others comes from certain events with the demon and so on.

      Think the game made the music better, but sure it would be nice to listen to outside as well I think.

      Yeah, I’ve always seen romance in RPGs as a must, ain’t a proper one if it hasn’t. But this can’t be called romance, imo, one quest without character development is just sad.

      It was a comment against the fact that I can miss the romance if I don’t do the quest. I have no idea why my game lacked the “end slides”. And I tried both endings that I could being on the demon path, both were the “same”, nothing after.

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      • It’s a she? Oh well there went my argument out the window then, heh

        What do you enjoy the most? Games that are hard at the start to get easier, or the ones that are a bit easier at the start to get harder towards the end?

        Or do you want a linear experience where it’s hard all through the game?

        I see, sounds like the messed up the ending somehow then, feels to me like it would been a big anti-climax seeing such an ending.

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        • I would say that a game that is harder at first is most frustrating but even more rewarding though the endings can often become a bit too simple. Games where the difficulty curve is just ridiculous is just frustrating but a bit up and down is nice I suppose.

          Maybe it was sort of such an ending, maybe I am just too familiar with grand endings and much more things like that. Or maybe the game bugged out for me, as I mentioned in the post, because I forgot one last quest.

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