“The choice is yours human.” After grueling your way through the swamps you’ve finally arrived at the beasts lair, only to be held up by the voice in your head. It warns the beast you’re about to face will try to possess your body and mind until there’s nothing left. Sadly, there’s already one demon inside you that’s vying for control of your body and the prospect of another is none too pleasing. The choice? Fall prey to the creature terrorizing the villagers or allow the demon trapped in your mind a little more control so it can defend your psyche from this new threat.
Developer Spiders and publisher Focus Home Interactive bring you the story of Vulcan, a mercenary hired by the Red Scribes to help them in an invocation that can help turn the tide of war. The evil Ice Lords Deadwalker army has been ravaging across the lands. For every soldier that falls it rises from the dead to add to growing ranks of their army. They’ve never been stopped or lost a battle and the scribes hope that their invocation will augment their powers enough to help turn the tide.
Unfortunately, something goes amiss and the spell summons the life force of a flame demon that promptly possesses a portion of Vulcan’s mind. I love the irony of a guy name Vulcan being possessed by a flame demon (Roman mythology FTW).
Bound by Flame is an RPG set in an open world setting that follows Vulcan through his trials and tribulations, while wrestling with an ever growing presence in his mind and body. Any one who is familiar with Skyrim or Dragon’s Age will be right at home with the skill trees, crafting, missions, etc. The difference comes in the dialogue and choices you make. As you play the demon will offer you various upgrades in your power, but only if you let it take you over a little bit at a time. As you allow more of yourself to become tainted your body starts a physical transformation. As you check your characters stats you’ll see your current possession level as well as any new abilities your new friend has unlocked.
The skill tree is split into heavy weapons, light melee (Daggers), and your fire abilities. Heavy weapons can break shields and parry, light weapons can dodge attacks and riposte, and the fire tree pretty much will make sure your foes resemble charcoal when your done. Weapons can be imbued with elemental abilities; attacks buffs, or enhance your HP or MP. The customization is tops and lets you tailor your combatant to your particular play style. I, personally, started with heavy weapons and now have more of an assassin type character. Fire blades combined with stealth and ranged attacks. The parry and counter system is very reminiscent of Devil May Cry and Batman: Arkham Asylum where timing is crucial to avoid damage or spells that are constantly being thrown at you.
Now I’ve logged quite a few hours and Bound has something for everyone. There’s a rich crafting system, upgradeable weapons, varied monsters, interesting characters. This is a fully fleshed out RPG that has the dialogue and options of a Mass Effect game. Not only do you have to contend with the demon, but also your NPC’s you go on missions with. The varied outcomes differ depending on which one you take with. Do you take the knight who only speaks in the 3rd person, the magician who is a little shadier then she lets on to, or the outcast elf that is trying to do right by his kin?
I’m having a blast, but while the game does so many things right there are a few caveats. Unfortunately, the graphics remind me of a newer PS3 title and although the game looks great, when compared next to Killzone and a few other PS4 launch titles it seems to fall a little short.
The dialogue is another area that needs some focus. It’s not bad by any means, but certain choices in conversation are often punctuated by emotion but with no physical movement on the characters part, or vice versa. Now this seems to improve as the game progresses and could have quite a bit to do with the sheer amount of dialogue options too, so please judge for yourself.
I do need to say something about the music and atmosphere of this game. Composer Olivier Derivière has crafted some fantastic tones to set this world to and it is fantastic. The theme music and just over all ambiance the music sets is perfect for whatever mission you are on. Even when just walking through a swamp, forest, or town it seems to just fit perfectly and doesn’t get annoying or repetitive like some titles.
My first impressions with Bound by Flame are definitely good and would highly recommend this to anyone who likes a great RPG with a full cast, thorough item and crafting systems, open world, and an amazing score. This is also a full length RPG that will keeps you busy for more than just a few hours with lots of potential for replay. That being said we’ll have a side-by-side review of the game in it’s completion to compare the different play styles. Until then the Demon in my head wants me to stop writing so I can assist in Vulcan’s possession… I mean adventure.