Bound By Flame Review: Such Potential
Bound By Flame is an interesting RPG. It has a unique and easy to use crafting system, three fighting styles, a fun upgrade system, and well, there's combat. I'll get to that later.
What does Bound By Flame bring to the table you ask? What does it have that other RPGs don't? Well, that's hard to say. It depends on what you want. I will give my take on the game though and talk a bit about what the game currently has to offer. You can decide whether it's worth your time.
The Demon Within
The defining mechanic of the game is dealing with the demon inside. You can choose to let it take over, and grant you more power, or stay in control and keep your humanity.
Your appearance changes if the demon takes over and I honestly like this feature. They even go as far as disabling helmets when you grow horns.
This also changes how your companions interact with you. Some may hate the change and turn on you, others might agree. Supposedly there are romance options in the game but I didn't see any. My guess is that nobody wants to go out with someone possessed 100% by a demon. People these days.
Repetitive Combat is Repetitive
Don't get me wrong I like the combat, but it is very much of the same. The game is unforgiving and you'll die a lot if you aren't careful. The problem is, that's how you get through it, by being careful.
You can switch between two stances at anytime, even during combat. Warrior uses two-handed weapons and Ranger dual-wields daggers. There is also fire magic, but you can use it in any stance.
I used dual-wielding mostly and had to dodge everything. I do mean everything. You forget to dodge that skeleton sneaking up behind you? You are dead! I died so many times I thought I was Sean Bean.
Don't get the wrong idea, this isn't like Dark Souls. I fixed this by literally spamming dodge and using hit and run tactics. It was satisfying to take down enemies, but it was the same thing every time. The only thing that changed, was when I had to dodge.
Personally, it didn't bother me too much, maybe cause the game isn't that long, but I'm sure many people got tired of it. Overall, I do like the combat, I just wish there were more mechanics. We might be able to solve this by letting me dodge in ANY direction and not just backwards.
Craft your way to Victory
Seriously though, you can. I love that you craft in the field, mix ingredients to make others, and even buy them with gold (but don't ask me who you're giving that gold to in the middle of nowhere).
The problem, or solution depending on how you look at it, is you can craft in the middle of a battle. That's right, you can open the menu during a fight, craft a potion or mix some ingredients, then go about your business.
It's like I'm in an anime where the enemy lets me explain my life story between attacks. Admittedly, this helped me out in more than one occasion.
The upgrade system is nice though. It's great that the visual of your gear changes depending on what you upgrade it to. The stats also help a lot, and that's what you should look for. It would have been nice to choose my appearance of the gear and not have it rely on the type of upgrade it is, but this is better than nothing.
I beat it, now what?
That's what I asked after beating the game. I don't think that's the response you want. I won't spoil anything, but I didn't feel fulfilled. It does set up the game for a Bound By Flame 2 - well, one choice does anyway.
Still, it was a little short and I felt like I wasted my time at the end. There is no new game+ like many RPGs, but there are several choices, skills, and play styles to choose from. This gives the game a longer life and I'm interested to see how the game is playing as a female character.
In short, if you really want an RPG and you've played what's already out there, give this a try. If you're someone who has precious time and can't play a lot of games, I'd skip this. Of course, you may think differently. The only way to know is to try it yourself.