I wasn’t quite sure what to make of Bound by Flame once I started it up. I am playing the PC version and after some issues getting everything working it’s running quite well. However I have to disconnect my mouse in order to use my gamepad. It’s a known issue with the game. Research showed it was an issue with Logitech wireless mice and the game. So I bought a Microsoft wireless mouse, same issue. That’s an annoying issue that many have experienced, how it has not been fixed is beyond me. But aside from that, it’s been a smooth experience.
Once in the game the first thing I noticed was the visuals. I was expecting more I think for a game that was also released on the PS4 and XBone. Granted it was also released on PS3 and 360 so the visuals probably came under some kind of compromise. They do the job but look like they’d be at home on last gen consoles…near the beginning of release. I only mention this because of how jarring it was considering when the game came out. However the art style is fine. People have compared it to Borderlands, I guess I can see that but it’s a bit of a stretch.
The presentation is decent and did a good job of getting my attention. It’s nothing special but did the job. However the script and delivery of it is not where this game shines. The writing feels like it came from a first year college student. The main plot is solid but everything that happens during the story just feels either rushed or not well planned out. I’m sure the voice actors did the best job they could with the script and were happy to get the work but a lot of the delivery really breaks the immersion. Either the lines are delivered flat or way over acted. The “funny” one-liners feel awkward. There are moments where it all comes together and some of the characters are very well voiced, but overall it takes some getting used to. As the game progresses and get’s it legs, and you get used to it, it’s less noticeable.
Where the game does shine is where it should, the gameplay. The studio seems to have spent most of their time on the gameplay itself and it shows. The combat is great, very fluid and feels good. You can either use a two-handed sword or two daggers as your main weapon. They both have strengths and weaknesses and I found that I never relied on only one option for too long. I switched between the two regularly depending on the situation. The sword is slower but stronger. The daggers are much faster and, to be honest, a bit cheaper. If I found I was struggling with a boss or group of enemies I would break out the daggers and it was like hitting the “I win” button. My only gripe is that there isn’t an evasive roll which is common in 3rd person action RPGs. It’s really, really missed. When wielding the daggers you have an evasive maneuver you can do but it’s not the same.
For as short as the game is, it’s a pleasure to play and easily a game I won’t be deleting from my hard drive. I can see my self playing again one weekend. This is a great game to play if you are looking for something between triple A titles or if you have a soft spot for hack-n-slash games. I really enjoyed my time with it and would look forward to a sequel or even another release from Spiders. Definitely pleasantly surprised.