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3.4 out of 5 stars
Bound by Flame - PlayStation 3
Format: Video GameChange
Price:$13.99 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 2014
I have been avidly watching this game as a great summer stop-gap for Dragon Age: Inquisition, Dying Light, and Destiny (all set to come out this fall for PS3/PS4, respectively). Since the pickings are getting slimmer and slimmer for PS3, this kind of game definitely gets my attention as a fan of games like The Witcher, Dragon Knight Saga, Dragon's Dogma, Dark Souls, and other action-based RPGs. I feel like this is worth your time and money, ultimately, with some caveats that must be discussed so you know what you are getting into on the front end. It's a good game and a great offering from smaller developer.

Pros:

Customization

-Character creation: This has taken some negativity because there aren't a lot of options, but you can choose your main character to be male or female and choose their face and hair. It's not Skyrim's algorithm of choices, but I still appreciate that they gave you some choices. I am very pleased that the developers added both genders, too. That's forward thinking that needs to be in more games.

-Crafting system: EVERY piece of equipment can be customized, from pommels and guards on your swords, daggers, axes, and hammers, to greaves, gauntlets, chest plates, pauldrons, the whole nine. All these have remarkable detail and they show up in the cut scenes with your character as well as in the game itself; for awhile I ran around with a cleaver-style weapon with no guard just because I could. It's a small thing, but a NICE touch.

-Item creation: You can create traps, crossbow bolts, potions, and other goodies throughout the game. The main character is an explosives expert, so it makes sense that you could do this in between fights and in your down time, no crafting table or merchant needed.

Combat

Combat Layout: If you played Mars: War Logs, then you already know the system (and if you haven't, give that game a try at $10 from PSN); you have a main attack, a group attack, a guard break, block, and pressing one of the shoulder buttons gives you a radial to access items and slow down the action. What is slightly different here is that holding down the other shoulder button lets you access hotkeys, like your magic, crossbow, and traps. You can also switch weapon styles in real time, going from the Warrior stance (two handed weapons) to Ranger stance (twin short swords) with ease, though there is a realistic delay in switching weapons. Watch out for that.
-Combat depth: Running and and attacking like crazy will most likely get you killed. You do have to watch your enemies' patterns and choose the right stance going in. You can sneak up on enemies and backstab and there is a charged power attack for each weapon type that is pretty satisfying. My favorite attack is the flying knee. It just looks neat.

Companions & The Demon

Ally, Deserter, or Something More: So far I have three at my disposal, with varying back stories, combat styles which you can adjust like in the old Fallout games through conversations, and different motivations. Depending on your choices your companions will follow, challenge, or flat out abandon you in the game as you decide responses and your overall alignment. I understand that you can romance them, too, but I haven't got that far yet.

-The Demon: Early on you are possessed by a Demon who gives you access to some pretty awesome magic powers (like lighting your sword with flame). The story that the demon brings is interesting and hints and a very rich game world and history. As you play, the influence of the demon and how much you allow them to give you power will determine your ending and companions, which is just cool. Clearly they paid some attention to games like Mass Effect and I feel it pays off by giving you a sense of choice and direction.

Cons:

Graphics

-Character models: The characters look pretty good overall with good lighting and detail; main characters have a ton of detail, facial expressions, unique items and models. A number of the mercenaries look very similar, which makes some sense thematically, but still can be confusing.

-Environments: The environments, while FULL of stuff to see and check out, have some odd textures and don't quite look right. Also, during the daytime in the day/night cycle the lighting is too bright. The games' scenes really look the best at night, with nice fire reflections and your own character's light source (a white light with some nice particle effects when you turn it on or off). Shadow effects, particularly light through trees on the characters, function well enough but are jagged (PS3 limitations).

Vulcan

Protagonist: The main character is all over the place, sometimes pretty callous, other times trying to be funny and failing entirely, and other times flat out threatening in cut scenes. You can tailor your responses somewhat, but the base character is kind of a cocky jerk. I am hoping that in the story this will be a part of the adventure, ultimately deciding who he is.

Overall

Summary: I feel good about this purchase for a number of reasons. The developer has made two other games whose ideas have made their way into this one and you can really see that they are only getting better at what they do; you don't get to see that -often outside of AAA titles and larger developers. Check out some of Focus Interactive's other offerings, Of Orcs and Men and Mars: War Logs if you are curious or on the fence, as a number of ideas and the general controls, menus, and powers will be very similar in how you interact with them. This helped me immensely and is telling of how they are improving with each release as developers.

I would love to see what they have next in this rather rich game world. I enjoy a new take on fantasy, particularly dark fantasy by European developers (The Witcher); I think they have a different set of sensibilities that makes their offerings very interesting and worth your time.

The story is interesting and I want to see how it plays out. The concept of an old world being dominated by these Ice Lords and their undead army and how it affects the people of the game is fascinating and I am curious to see who will survive, stay with our party, leave us entirely, and ultimately make my choice as to how I fit into all of it. The story becomes one of how fighting a losing war affects individuals and what they are willing to do to defend their way of life.

I further enjoy whacking everything I can with different weapons just to see what happens. It is satisfying in a way that finding the perfect sword in Dark Souls can be, and the customization is an added plus.

Try it out.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2014
Professional reviewers are not enjoying this game. But that's only b/c they're as bad at games as they are at their jobs. Real consumers are enjoying this game. Why? Because it is a fun game; a well made game, especially when you consider that it was made by a small studio on a small budget w/o the backing of a giant publisher.

The game itself is a lot like The Witcher 2 in look, feel & tone. However, it does a few things leaps & bounds better than W2. Things like UI, intuitiveness, functionality & implementation of potions & traps, crafting and variety of play styles. Is the game perfect? Hell no. But, no game is. For $40, it's worth the money and any fan of the genre will enjoy this game.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2014
Bound By Flame is NOT a AAA title. It is a decent Action RPG which is along the lines of Kingdoms of Amalur, etc. For what it is, it's decent. Don't expect Skyrim depth. But, that doesn't make it bad either. Decent graphics, decent character development and depth, and a decent story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2015
As a die-hard RPG fan, I read the reviews by other gamers and nearly skipped this game. But I watched some gameplay vids on You Tube, and got a great price on a brand new copy. I'm about 1/3 of the way through and wondering if I'm playing the same game as everyone else.

I understand that BBF was made by an Indie studio, which means the game won't include the razzle dazzle special effects and graphics which some studios rely on in lieu of a decent script. I respectfully disagree with my fellow gamers who claim the graphics were old or "terrible".

I'm a woman gamer (as opposed to a "girl gamer" (grrrrr!!!!) Whenever possible, I'll play as a woman warrior. I agree with my peers that compared to games from more wealthy studios, the options for customization were limited. However, my heart literally BURST WITH JOY when I realized I'd be outfitted as a WARRIOR and NOT A STRIPPER.

I just finished a game from a major studio, the name being irrelevant. ALL The female characters (NPC and otherwise) looked as if they had breast implants. Their breasts were so ridiculously oversized that they'd have needed back surgery by the age of 30. The central NPC was female. Her derriere was so comically disproportionate that appeared to be disfigured. These were supposed to be warriors. Each was outfitted with a one inch strap circling her chest to obscure the areola. On the bottom there was a one inch "thong" strap obscuring the entrance to her vaginal opening. This was supposed to be her armor.

No offense to sex workers, , but I am not alone when I say I'm sick to death of having no choice but to play looking like a hooker. What year is this? Why should something have to be harmful to young children to be legitimately offensive? I'm no prude. but I'm wondering why my character looks more appropriate in the red light district than in battle...Also, the perpetual angst between female characters willing to claw each other's eyes out in competition for the male character.

The ABSENCE of these things alone should earn this game a 5! I suspect that the complaints about terribe looking graphics was more about the women looking like serious warriors rather than playmates of the month. THANK YOU DEVELOPERS!!!

The combat system did take a little getting used to. But once I got the hang of it, it was fine. I prefer to use magic more than melee weapons, but once I balanced the two I thought the combat was a lot of fun. Once I started to explore each area, I uncovered some nice hidden loot. While not as complex as in other games, the crafting system was nevertheless a lot of fun and very useful.

BBF is a hidden gem. I understand that it's not for everyone, but those who give it a chance will not be disappointed.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2014
this game is fun! For a small studio they made a pretty decent game. The reviews are mixed but I loved it.my taste are gothic 1&2 dark souls 1&2
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on October 2, 2014
I first have to comment about the length of this game. I have read reviews on other sites where people have claimed to have beaten it in as little as 6-10 hours. I find that very hard to believe. I usually go at a medium pace with RPGs. I try to do as many side quests as possible but I don't hesitate to bypass one if it doesn't seem to be any fun and/or have any good benefits. I search as much as I can without going over every inch and bogging my time down with too much pointless wandering. That all being said, a full playthrough of this game took me right at 27 hours. That's not a bad amount of time for a game in general, but not for an RPG. Either way, I had a gift card so it only cost me $14 cash and it was well worth that. I'd say anything $30 or under would be a decent price for this game.

The story is ok but I didn't feel like my decisions really made much of a difference. The graphics were ok also but at times the shading was pretty bad. Especially in earlier levels in a jungle where the sun shines through the trees. I agree with the reviews that it's a good game for a smaller company. Actually, it's excellent for a small company. That doesn't make it a great game though. However, its flaws didn't kill it for me. Most of the combat is pretty challenging and it makes you want to work hard to get upgrades. Most of the perks and skill points actually seemed to help, which is always nice and can't be said of all RPGs out there.

A 'new game plus' mode would've probably tipped the scales for me because I hate it when there's more you want to do and upgrade but there's not enough game to do it all. It's more linear than open-world, even though you can go back and forth through different sections of the level you are currently on to do extra quests, search, and gain experience points through kills.

Overall, I do look forward to see what this company can make with a bigger budget and I applaud what they were able to do with what they had. If you are like me and want to play any halfway decent action RPG out there, this game is probably a safe bet. It won't be your favorite but it's a nice addition to the collection. Also, you probably won't want to play it again right away but will look forward to trying things differently on a future playthrough.
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on February 11, 2015
To start, I want to say that I really do like the concept of the game. It may not be the most unique, but it certainly had promise. Avoiding a super technical review, you can sum up this game as either "A lot of wasted potential" or "A game crippled by budget". On occasion, you'll notice that if you try to attack quickly you'll end up charging for some odd reason or just not attacking, which makes little sense. The leveling seems easy, but there are menus in menus and you will probably have to play through a practice run just to see what you can do. Enemies are better than you. I wish I could elaborate, but they just are. They do more damage, they have higher health (in fact, Vulcan/Volcan can only get about 150 health total in the game), and they move faster. The voice acting is... I'm not going to even touch that. I will say that it is addictive despite being short and long at the same time, and for around $20 you can't go wrong. Just don't expect an award winning experience or something worth a lot more. It's kinda fun and glitchy, that's about it.
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on July 23, 2014
Bound By Flame is a good game. It's not a AAA game, It's more a B tier game. That's just the size of their team and the budget they have. It's a mixture of other RPG's you will have played before. I actually like the writing it's funny and different from the rest of the RPG's. The combat tries to be somewhat Witcher meets Dark Souls and the game tries to have some Dragon Age influence but it's not any of those games. It's a good solid RPG in it's own right that's not trying to compete with those games as they have said themselves. The upgrading your weapons, armor and abilities is good, crafting is good and combat once you get the hang of it is good. Voice acting is meh, lip syncing not great and graphics are OK. Characters are hit and miss some good some forgettable. World is OK and boss battles can be really good. If you're looking to pick up an RPG before Dragonage or The Witcher there is no reason why it shouldn't be Bound By Flame.
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on August 20, 2014
I suppose I'm a avid RPG gamer and I try to look for any and just about every RPG I could find. Now this game is not the greatest at all but not the worst either, for example the dialogue is weird they curse like modern day Americans and don't talk like the time period entails. The fighting style not the easiest it's slow and bulky with a two-handed sword and the daggers are easy to use but do little do no damage. If your interested in a game that has some fun elements and a different story and unique tale then buy this game but DO NOT buy this at 30 bucks wait till it's 20-25.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 13, 2014
This game gets 3 stars, mainly because of it's replay value. Let me break down what I mean:

Does not feature a game+ system, so you literally start over fresh every time you complete the game and want to start another play through after completion. This game is good for 6 play throughs, and that's if someone is adamant about playing all 3 of the available classes as masters of each individual class with good alignment and evil alignment. Unless a person doesn't mind grinding out the levels to master all 3 classes which gets boring after a while, then it'd be good for 2 times through. Fights are wash rinse and repeat, especially towards the end in Blackfrost's Domain. Trash mobs are ridiculously long fights there, as they are excessively resilient and borderline boring to fight, think the scale of some of the trash mobs in Dark Souls 2.

This game is progressive, not open world exploration. You complete a "Chapter" you are ushered to a new zone, so make sure you complete all the side quests BEFORE you progress the main story line because there is no going back and finishing anything for the xp bump. The zones are fairly large, and can give you a sense that you are going some where as you trek around, but it's more along the lines of how Last of Us is with chapters and zones.

The companions you can have tag along with you are extremely squishy, and the casters are particularly ignorant even after you change their combat tendencies and set their combat roles. The healer isn't as useful as one would originally believe, the mages are useful with their cc ability neither has any sense to move away from their attackers, so they usually go down pretty quickly. They also do not do a very good job of keeping up with you when you sprint area to area. I fought several mobs all by my lonesome, having absolutely no idea where my companion was. Also, there are irritating parts of certain chapters that you have absolutely no input on who your companion is, and the companion you are stuck with may only be good to keep some of the mobs off of you until the companion is killed while you set your traps and work on the archers.

Ok, those were the cons, now for the positives:

Combat works smoothly. Few hiccups here and there, but nothing major. Works a lot like Dark Souls 2, without the 2h wielding of a weapon for boosted damage, and you don't have to worry about stamina.

Weapon/Armor customizing is nice, but once you will develop your favorites based on effects more than aesthetics. To be effective you MAY not look exactly like you want to look.

The atmosphere is pretty cool, and the music, though mostly one song on repeat the whole game minus the boss fights, is pretty good. It just meshes with the atmosphere in my opinion, probably why they picked it...

Though the fights are repetitive and sometimes extremely frustrating, each fight gives a sense of accomplishment, because anything has the potential to kill you at any given time if you are not paying attention. This is especially true with boss fights.

Crafting consumables is convenient, and very necessary to make life easier. Very easy to get the hang of.

Well, that sums it up I think. 3 stars, but primarily because of the lack of a game+ system. Myself, I do not want to start over, level 1 with crap gear every time I complete the game. The story line is WAY too short not to have a game+ system. All that work that goes into a play through is wiped away when you kill the final boss, and for me, it killed any desire to do it all over again knowing that everything I had achieved, gained and found was null and void and I'd have to play the same content over as if I just opened the box.
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