I don’t know if I have ever struggled to write a review as much as I have with Bound by Flame. I like the game, I really do, but it doesn’t have much in terms of innovation or originality. It obviously heavily relies upon inspiration from a few other popular RPGs like The Witcher, Dragon Age: Origins, Diablo, Skyrim, and Kingdoms of Amalur. However, I can’t say this is a bad thing, because what it does emulate, it emulates it very well.
The best way I can describe it is it’s as if the developers picked features from RPGs they liked best, worked them in, and gave them their own spin on it. It’s everything I have liked from these games, so yeah, I had a great time with Bound by Flame.
Here’s a sample of my review over on Action Trip:
Like all of these games mentioned–except for Diablo–the choices the player makes in the game affects the story’s outcome. Some of these choices are obvious, and sometimes they are subtle, such as failing to or opting to not complete certain side quests. The choices of the protagonist also affects how much of the fire demon she lets control her soul, which alters outward appearance, how she is treated, and of course, how the story goes. It’s this aspect that intrigued me the most about the game, and it’s definitely one thing the developer implemented very well and contained the most original thought. It’s a shame that story isn’t the most prevalent element here, but that’s most often the case with, well, a video game, and the story isn’t strong enough to make anyone look past the same gameplay found in several other RPGs.
Like Skyrim, Fable 2, and The Witcher, all combat is done in real-time. Players can slow down the battle when opening up a tactical menu to select a potion, a spell, or to give orders to the companion if there are any. Also like Skyrim, The Witcher, Dragon Age: Origins, and Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, players can tailor Vulcan to how they want to play with both skill trees and Features. Unlike all of those games, however, the skill trees are very, very simple, typically focusing on the three stances of combat: warrior, ranger, and pyromancer. Players can switch between these stances at any time during combat, so at one moment, Vulcan can be agile and quick, the next she can swing around a massive, two-handed sword, and then opt to fling fire spells.
At the very least, it picked some great games from to get ideas (well, except for Fable 2, but it made what Fable 2 was trying to do so much better).
And to be honest, I like Bound by Flame a whole lot more than I like Skyrim, as Skyrim had way too much freedom and too little direction for me to enjoy. Bound by Flame also makes me want to return to Kingdoms of Amalur and give that a bit more of a chance, and it’s reminded me that Dragon Age: Origins still beckons.