With little warning Ps4 recently got it's first RPG in the form of Bound by Flame.
Created by Spiders the studio with titles such as Of Orcs & Men & Mars: War Logs, they are of sorts an underdog studio with polarising work.
How does Bound by Flame hold up against previous WRPGs and is it a worthy holder of first RPG for Ps4?
You play as Vulcan a mighty mercenary and powder master of Merc band The Freeborn Blades. In a world condemned by the mighty Ice Lords with Its plains ravaged by the undead and all other nasties.
Your group is hired by the Red Sceptres a spiritual group who have a way to fight back, unfortunately as
things do it goes wrong, you end up with a flame demon inside of you. Will you fall to the lure of the Demon's power or hold strong to your humanity.
Storywise it's pretty much for the most part a walking talking fantasy cliche, demons, cults, warring factions and chosen warriors. It's all a bit Dragon Age/Game of Thrones, with the added extra of the demon inside you.Unlike previous title Of Orcs & Men they don't really have much of a unique spin and the little they do it seems they refrained from making the most of it.
The writing is hit and miss with a tonne of information thrown at you about the world with little time to digest the facts. Characters have a case of the old potty mouth, for the most part it's fine but for some characters it's excessive and out
of character. The supporting cast that help you along your way are also a fair mixed bunch. From the bland Sybil the troubled spell caster to undead Mathras, a knight who talks in third person and center of controversy the barely dressed and well endowed Edwen.
The characters are given a fair amount of development and depth but at points it feels like they could of just gone that little extra with them. Sybil in particular has all the groundwork for an interesting character unfortunately it's just spoilt by cliched and unattractive writing. Not all is lost mind, the playful banter between Vulcan & Edwen is brilliantly done and shows just how capable the team can be in regards to character dialogue.
Combat is next up and as with the rest of the games it has hits and misses!. First I need to point out that the combat in the game is quite tough and does have a certain rewarding feel when you conquer a group of foes. You have the ability to lay traps & use several different attacks like guard breaks, projectiles, strong and area attacks. You also have the ability to buff and debuff as you see fit, standard RPG stuff. Clever use of the traps and your abilities are the only way you will see victory in this game. The A.I isn't the strongest and though you can offer them guidance in what they are doing 9 out of 10 times it'll be ignored and they will die.
The attacking also seems to lack feedback so often it just feels like you are launching an assault on thin air, it's disappointing as it would of added a little more immersion into the combat. You are given 3 ways to fight, you have the standard sword load out, the speedy Ranger loadout and Pyromancer, you'll find your adventure will have you cycling through all 3 of these on regular basis. It doesn't effect how you play too much and is a shame there isn't much diversity between them. The ranger is the fastest but deals the least damage, as a plus you can combine it with a stealth attack to help you get the upper hand. Sword is the strongest but easiest to interrupt. Pyromancer is there to accompany your other builds as the MP required makes it fairly impossible to play a mage only build.
I didn't hate the combat, actually i quite enjoyed it for the most part, it was just a shame that it lacked flair and a competent A.I companion, still it's usable and you do feel great when you finally tackle a large battle and move on.
Lengthwise the game is advertised to be in the excess of 30+ hours, reports have most 1st time runs clocking in around the 15-20 ground and I can confirm this to be true. It's a game where you get what you put in back & even though it's linear there are an abundance of side quests to tackle which help you get the most out of your purchase. Bugs and glitches are a little rampant on this title unfortunately, the main ones are graphic issues with clipping, things not loading in & the like. The only major bug I hit was around the 10 hour mark when my game crashed during an autosave & caused my save to corrupt but I believe this to be an isolated issue.
I genuinely enjoyed my time with Bound By Flame but I can't say it's for everybody, it's lacking the polish and flair of a AAA title which isn't a bad thing but at the same time could of boosted it a little higher. Writing is up and down which really affects the story & the later half of the game doesn't seem quite as fleshed out. It's a brilliant idea just poorly executed, it's not a bad game but it's not a great one it's simply a good game to keep you over till your next big title.
Who Should Buy This?
- Fans of WRPGs
- People who don't mind playing something less than AAA with heart
- Fancy something a little different for your PS4?
Who Should Avoid?
- Someone looking for the next Elder Scrolls
- If graphics need to be high and you have low tolerance for bugs
- Hate fantasy? yeah need not apply
Reviewed the Ps4 version & review was written to the soothing sounds of The Doors - L.A Women